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Managing Expectations

Let’s talk about expectations for a moment; we all have them whenever we begin a fitness routine or go on a diet. How do you manage these expectations and ensure they don’t hinder you as you strive to achieve your goals. A weight loss goal can be articulated as an expectation, but it doesn’t have to be. For instance, saying I want to lose 10 pounds in a month is a goal and an expectation, if you believe that this is indeed possible. However, saying that you simply wish to drop 10 pounds without determining a timeframe for it, or stating how easy or difficult it should be does not constitute an expectation.

Beautiful young woman working out in fitness club

Why is there a problem with expectations? There doesn’t have to be. If you don’t have exaggerated expectations, you should have no problem whatsoever. The problem arises from the way we’ve all been programmed to think about weight loss: it has to be big, super fast with as little effort as possible. After all, the weight loss stories that we often encounter in the media often discuss massive weight loss, and the way many products are marketed these days is to portray them as a low-effort way to shed weight quickly. Is it any wonder that people come to believe that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t drop weight extremely quickly?

I know this firsthand as I have contact—through this website—with a lot of people who wish to lose weight, and many of them want to do it quickly and with as little effort as possible. Take, for instance, my review of the General Motors diet. This is a program whose main appeal is that it is supposedly fast and easy. In just 7 days you can lose a lot of weight, mostly due to a very low calorie consumption. This is a highly popular diet program despite the fact that I’ve stated in my review that it may prove problematic to maintain any weight loss achieved with it in the long term.

Why is it popular? Because you can lose weight fast.

What has this to do with expectations? Once people believe that it’s possible and even easy to lose a lot of weight in just 7 days (the number doesn’t have to be 7 specifically) they get disappointed if it happens more slowly than that and they disregard perfectly effective and viable weight loss strategies because they don’t offer the prospect of a swift weight loss.

You need to remember that one person’s weight loss experience may not be similar to yours. You may lose weight more slowly than that person depicted in a magazine article or on a TV show. You may need to work very hard, harder than taking a magic pill or using some infomercial product. You need to understand that failure is an option, but it is not final. It says nothing of what may happen the next time around. You can try again and succeed.

I prefer to set ambitious goals and modest expectations. I want to achieve big change and far-reaching things, but I expect this to be hard and to take time. You need to have the same mindset. When you set out to lose weight, get fitter, grow muscles, or any other goal, aspire to achieve a great deal, but be ready to put in the work, accept the fact that there will be setbacks, and be ready to put in the time. Anything worth having takes time and effort. You can’t expect big results without big effort.

Yes, some people can lose weight fast, but this cannot be your expectation. When it happens, it is usually the result of either very hard work or extreme measures or luck. Yes, luck in terms of genetics, present life conditions which facilitate a fast weight loss, and indefinable conditions which are unknown. You can’t control much of this.

So, inspect your expectations, see if you have exaggerated ones, those that may lead to disappointment. Change them if need be and stay focused on the long term goal and be ready for the effort it will take to achieve it.


Date published: May 15, 2013. Last modified: May 15, 2013

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