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You’ve probably seen the startling statistic, 95% of people who lose weight gain it back within 5 years, or some variation on that theme (there are a lot of stats out there). While the numbers may be different, the facts are the same– only a small percentage of people who lose weight keep it off.

Maybe you’ve been there yourself: you’ve sweated it out at the gym, stuck to your 1200 calorie plan, or your “cut out all of [insert food group here] diet, lost weight, took some fan-freakin-tastic “after” pictures, posted them all over Facebook (and got tons of comments and likes) only to find yourself gaining it all back in record time.

Then it hits:

  • Confusion: “How did this happen?”
  • Embarrassment: “Oh my gosh, those people who congratulated me on Facebook CANNOT see me like this.”
  • Frustration: “@#$% it! I have to do this whole diet and exercise thing again.”
  • and Defeat: “Maybe I’m just not meant to be thin.”

But before you go off on another round of pinning new weight loss recipes on Pinterest, signing up for another weight loss challenge or boot camp class, consider taking a step back and looking at what it is that is keeping the weight loss from lasting.

Over my years in nutrition counseling, I have discovered one incredibly important principle that can determine whether or not your weight loss efforts will succeed, not just in the short term (because let’s be honest, almost all diets work in the short term) but for the long run. This, my friends is what I call the “ick vs stick principle” because if the plan makes you feel “ick” it’s never gonna stick!

And it all comes down to this:

Your plan of action must reflect what you REALLY want.

So… what do you really want?

Each week I sit across from potential clients wanting to change their bodies. The same themes come up over and over again. Frustration about the 20, 30, 50 pounds that seem stuck or continuously coming back, the desire to effortlessly wear the clothes in their closet that no-longer fit, to enjoy swimsuit season, and to see the number on the scale drop.

While other professionals might say “great, let’s go to work” and hand out a meal plan, you know that’s not how I roll, so the questioning doesn’t stop there.

“Tell me why that is important to you”

From there, I usually get a look of “duh, you should know this” (does anyone say duh anymore, or am I stuck in the 90’s?)

But what I really am asking isn’t, “why do you want to be fit?” or “why do you want to avoid heart disease and diabetes?” Those answers are obvious and so many of us share that same goal.

What I’m really asking: “So tell me what you really want.”

Because the fact is, the goal of weight loss is actually only symbolic of what we really want. We don’t really want to fit into size 4 jeans, or a string bikini. What we really want is:

  • Confidence
  • Optimism
  • More energy
  • To trust ourselves
  • To love our bodies
  • To feel more FREE
  • To have fewer worries
  • To experience life more fully

Action Tip: Does this list sound familiar to you? If not, you may want to explore what weight loss means to you on a deeper level.

Have things to add to the list? Feel free to add them in the comments section.

So is it ick, or will it stick?

Once you have your list of what you really want, then it’s time to take a look at your current weight loss plan. Ask yourself, very honestly, if the plan of action you are taking, or are about to take, makes you feel more or less of what you want to feel?

For example:

  • Does forcing a miniscule calorie limit teach you to love and trust your body? (answer: NO!)
  • Does telling yourself that you can’t be trusted give you optimism? (once again, NO!)
  • Does having to police your own eating and exert huge amounts of willpower day in and day out give you fewer worries? (*shakes head*)
  • Does eating nothing but dry chicken and soggy broccoli help you feel more free? (NOPE!)

I think you get the idea. The fact is, if you choose a diet or weight loss plan that takes you further away from the feelings and emotions you really want MORE of, there will be an internal struggle that leads you self-sabotage, frustration and ultimately, failure. So before you embark on the latest and greatest weight loss plan that everyone is talking about, take a look at whether or not it is serving your deepest needs, as well as your body transformation needs.

If you want to learn more about how to lose weight, keep it off, and avoid the “icky” the whole way, sign up to get email updates. Over the next few weeks I will be uncovering the exact methods that I use with clients to get phenomenal results that stick.

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Ashley Palmer
Ashley is a Registered Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition. Ashley loves her son, her husband, and lifting heavy things then putting them back down repeatedly. She is a nutrition, fitness and weight loss coach and blogs at


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