September 22, 2015

3 Snap Judgments That Will Ruin Your Weight Loss

Trying to live a healthy lifestyle is a challenge, even under the best circumstances. If you’re actively trying to lose weight, it’s easy to become frustrated with the glacially slow pace of progress. That frustration can give way to desperation, and we all know that desperation can lead us to fad diets, quick fixes and gimmicks.

Here are three scenarios in which taking the long-range approach beats making a snap judgment every time:

1. Stepping on the Scale Vs. Analyzing Body Composition

For almost as long as I can remember the scale dictated my self-worth. If I stepped on the scale and the number was “good” in my estimation, I was happy. If the number was too high, I’d berate myself for failing.

I still weigh myself a few times a week, but twice a year I get a body composition analysis. This high-tech scan (which uses the same equipment as a bone density screening) gives me my percentages of lean muscle mass and body fat (essential and – ahem – non-essential), as well as other important numbers.

2. Whipping Through the Drive-thru Vs. Having a Plan

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is attributed to the father of time-management, Benjamin Franklin, and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to healthy living. I eat from a system I call a “Food Blueprint.” Unlike a “diet,” it requires that my food meet just two simple criteria: every food I eat must be healthy and I must absolutely love it.

3. Trying a Fad Diet Vs. Committing to Lifelong Wellness

Why is it that we grasp at the latest fad diet in a desperate attempt to lose weight rather than adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors?

Two reasons: (1) Changing our habits is hard. It takes mindfulness, planning and commitment. (2) Fear … “I’ll never be able to eat a cheeseburger again?!?” or “I gotta get this weight off before my high school reunion!” can be very daunting. But unless you’re being chased by a bear, fear is a poor motivator. As soon as the immediate threat (or reunion) is past – poof! – there goes your motivation.

Successful, lifelong wellness is a daily commitment. We all know that, but occasionally we let emotions and impulsiveness, rather than discipline and mindfulness, control our actions.


Marilyn McKenna speaks publicly and writes about fitness and weight loss. After being morbidly obese for decades, Marilyn lost 120 lbs., transforming her body and her life. She now brings hope to others who are struggling with an approach that is both relative and real.

Marilyn is a guest blogger partnering with The Hartford to share her stories. All opinions are those of Marilyn and do not reflect the opinions of The Hartford. The Hartford does not endorse or have any association with the products and/or services referenced. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet or starting a new exercise regimen.

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