Why Weight Loss Seems Elusive

For many people who struggle with maintaining a healthy body weight, every single day includes ongoing internal conversation, “What clothes can I wear that fit? I shouldn’t have had that Snickers bar. Look how skinny Mary is, she did that cabbage soup diet, maybe I’ll do that. I’m never wearing these pants again, they make me feel so fat. Should I eat this? Should I eat that? I know I gained weight this week. Forget it, I’m tired of being hungry. I have lost my will power.”

Over 30 years ago, I lost 50 pounds so I remember those conversations. I spent more time talking myself in to believing what a loser I was simply based on food choices, scale results and weight loss ads. I would think to myself, “If all those people in the ‘skinny fast’ ads look so happy and so skinny, why can’t I do it?”

And then I’d beat myself up for being so undisciplined. So what have I learned that has kept the weight off and my life focused on good health? My 4 areas of focus – Color, Movement, Mindful and Sustainability. If you want to get healthy,  attain a healthy body and life, these 4 simple rules are all you need to realize a healthy body.

Color- When you make food choices, the more color you have in your diet (diet in a healthy way), the better you will naturally eat. Remember, diets aren’t natural for most people. When you think about fruits and vegetables, there are a rainbow of color options available. Try new things, educate yourself about different fruits and vegetables and work to include more of them in your daily nutrition choices. I often encourage my clients gradually replace  processed, high sugar, high carb snacks with fruits and veggies, gradually being the operative word. Remember, lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight, it’s a process.

Movement – How many of you hate to exercise, raise your hand? Yeah, most people do. The reason is   fun and joy rarely were part of peoples exercise experience, especially if weight has always been an issue.   They always felt uncoordinated, never got picked for team sports (that was me) and always exercised simply to lose weight. In other words, exercise became punishment for an imperfect body. Now tell me, where’s the impetus to exercise? Therefore, rather than thinking about conventional exercise for weight loss as we know it, think of simply movement. Ask yourself, “How can I move more every day? How can I find ways to move more and sit less? What small steps can I take today that will add up and benefit how I feel tomorrow?”

Mindful– I remind my clients, the minute you become aware of your current lifestyle habits, the easier it will be to make gradual changes. Too  many people try to overhaul their entire lifestyle in 6 weeks, and it typically happens January 1st. I think we all know that strategy rarely works. Therefore, you need to stand back, take a look at what needs changing, then select one thing and work on it. However long it takes to find an alternative that is healthy, so be it. Once you’ve mastered that change,  you can move on to the next one. The more time you give yourself to make healthy lifestyle changes, the more time you will have to live the life you deserve and therefore create your new “normal.”

Support – I have found that one of the biggest obstacles for many peoples healthy living success is making changes that are sustainable. Sustainability is one of the biggest pieces missing from many of hte commercial diets out there. I remind my clients that if they’re going to make changes, make changes that are sustainable. Diets fail because there is no staying power, period. By creating your own healthy living program, you will be creating a program that is sustainable and that results in success.

Weight-loss and healthy living are not one in the same as many believe. In truth, weight loss is simply a by-product of healthy living. Here’s to your health!


Nicki Anderson has owned and operated the award winning Reality Fitness, Inc. Personal Training studio since 1991. As a successful business owner and sought after speaker, Nicki’s enthusiasm and business prowess on subjects including customer service, marketing and deconditioned populations, makes Nicki a sought after international speaker. Nicki is the 2008/2009 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Finalist in 2006 and 2007 and 2006 IHRSA Top 25 Fresh Faces. She is the author of numerous books, her most recent, Nicki Anderson's Single Step Weight Loss and 101 Ways to Motivate Your Clients and Increase Retention (Healthy Learning, 2009). Nicki is the health and fitness columnist for Chicago Suburban Newspapers, IDEA Editoral Board and contributor to numerous magazines and websites including, MSNBC.com, Forbes.com and FitnessMagazine.com, Real Simple, Prevention, Women’s Health and Womens’ Running, Men’s Health and Fitness. Nicki was recently named one of CHicagolands Top Personal Trainers. For more information about Nicki visit www.nickianderson.com and www.realityfitness.com

7 thoughts on “Why Weight Loss Seems Elusive

  • March 27, 2011 at 7:46 am

    You’re right George regarding the exercise piece. What people fail to recognize is that our lifestyle has changed dramatically in that our “non-intentional” activity is all but gone, i.e. washing our own cars, doing our own yard work, cleaning our own home, getting up and changing a television channel, walking to our destination more often, etc. Given that part of our life is gone, now more than ever we need to find ways to move more, and that means exercise. The beauty of our industry (putting a positive spin on it) is that there are varying opinions and each I suppose has it’s place. But when it comes to exercise and it’s perceived lack of value, I struggle with that. Our body was designed to move and move it must, otherwise, like a fine tuned engine, neglect it and it will never run optimally.


  • March 27, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Hi Nicki,

    I love this last sentence ‘J, yes, people have to be careful about “rules” because what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. I often tell my clients, we need to stop putting the emphasis on weight loss and rather focus on getting healthy, then and only then can people maintain positive changes that work for them, but maintain an appropriate weight as well.’

    If there is one principle that may well be worth sticking to it’s that one.
    Find a way that works for you, and know how it does so by getting healthier and happier!

    I would also question healthblog’s claim that exercise isn’t a big part of a weight loss plan. What type of exercise are they referring to?
    If we are talking about HIIT, strength training, circuit training or anything that is properly designed and promotes muscle gain then I would fervently disagree, and be willing to collect references that back me up…

    I have also found that it is very possible to help people love doing exercise (again, we all loved it as children!). I do this through NLP, hypnosis and helping people experiment with finding the style of exercise that makes their body feel good. I am in the process of writing this up as a book so that others can do it without me!

    Keep up the good work,
    George Super Boot Camps

  • March 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    ‘Don’t eat after 6pm’ is RUBBISH! Thats so rubbish I can tell you here and now I used to be anorexic. I only ever ate fruit in the day (up to 300kcals) after 10-12pm at night every night and would easily consume over 800kcals which I did not go out or exercise after eating, I simply stayed up another hour or so and then went to sleep. I lost alot of weight doing that and I didn’t have an active day job, I was a full time uni student and spent alot of the time sitting very still or riding on the bus. I was at that low and lower then low weight (BMI 18 and sank to BMI 15) for a good 4 years before I made concious steps to recover and eat more.

    Its not what time you eat, its how much you eat thats important: eat fewer calories, don’t have stupid rules as they don’t work.

    • March 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Your comments are all valid. Healthblog, what you eat is very important, you are right. But for the mental piece of health, exercise is an important component. Singgih, yes, avoid eating unhealthy snacks is important to keep in mind. J, yes, people have to be careful about “rules” because what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. I often tell my clients, we need to stop putting the emphasis on weight loss and rather focus on getting healthy, then and only then can people maintain positive changes that work for them, but maintain an appropriate weight as well.

  • March 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I think the way to lose weight effectively it regular exercise, avoid eating snacks, and avoid eating over at 6 pm because it can gain weight

  • March 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

    It is easier to gain weight than loosing it. It is even more difficult to maintain body weight after losing it.
    Recent studies are showing that for losing weight diet control is the only answer, exercise plays very little if any role in losing weight, although it makes you fit.

    • March 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      Yes and no. Exercise won’t necessarily do much for weight loss, but weight is not what matters. Body fat percentage is. No need to confuse people. What matters is calories in vs calories out. Burn more than you take in. Simple as that. Exercise, if done right, with proper periodization and a healthy, lower calorie diet, will do an immense amount to lower body fat %.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.