Why Women Fail at Weightloss


by Sara Cheatham M.S., RKC

As I was passing the electronics section at the store I was intrigued by the selection of workout videos. I thought, "What attracts women to a certain type of workout?" The only training videos I own are kettlebell related. However, I cannot think of a woman I know that does not own at least one yoga, tae-bo, or infomercial-related video. As I looked over the selection I noted that most of the covers had a skinny, spunky-looking, spandex-clad woman with some sort of bright-colored, exciting background. Then I thought, "Why do otherwise smart, successful, driven women fall for marketing that basically insults their intelligence?"

The workout videos were marketed using lame lingo and unachievable, over-the-top results, common in weight-loss sales. I found the same in women's magazines. These empty promises only feed into women's weaknesses and continued weight loss failures. Women seeking training videos, magazines, books, and buying into infomercials, are looking for something to get them back into the swing of things. They are looking for help. They do not know where to start, so they turn to a pseudo-expert in a video or magazine. They read about what worked for someone else's weight loss success. They are looking at "models" that have been training for years. They are buying into gimmicks. They start their journey into fitness with false hopes, unclear standards, and no real personal goals. They are starting a journey with an unknown leader and no real map.

The bottom line is women are confused as to where to start their journey and begin their quest based on lies. Not only are they buying into exaggerations of the truth, they are lying to themselves about their own body weight, body fat percentage, eating habits, and workouts. This is why I begin every one of my clients with an initial assessment. I measure the aforementioned physiological indicators as well as have them journal their eating habits for one week. The quote, "It's always best to start at the beginning," is quite applicable. How can you track progress, successes, and failures, if you do not know where you are starting from? You must start with baseline measurements. You must get real with your measurements by seeing them in black and white.

I recently helped a client with her food journal. When I asked if she was keeping a food journal, she enthusiastically said, "YES!" However, by reviewing the entries, I could see that she was still lying to herself. She had written down her food, but not the calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, fiber, or protein. By documenting the specifics she could then see the imbalances in her diet and where to make improvements. This same client, like many, told herself that her pants must have shrunken in the wash and that she only put on a couple of pounds over the holidays. When she stepped on the scale, she was 10 pounds heavier than she was last month! Weight loss success begins with not lying to yourself about where you truly stand from the start.

Once women find the courage to start a weight-loss program, they further sabotage their success by telling themselves they can not lose weight because "everyone in my family is heavy" and that working out is "too hard." They mentally surrender before sincerely investing in a program. Again, they are lying to themselves. They are not looking at the cold hard facts. Maybe their family is "heavy-set." But what they do not care to see, is their family lives a common, sedentary, lazy lifestyle with constant empty calorie meals and no exercise. It is frustrating to see someone give up before they even start. If you are serious about weight loss, you cannot live any one else's life except your own. You can not compare your weight loss and gain to others. You must understand that you will sweat when you train and you will be uncomfortable. You have to get honest with yourself.

Now that you have stepped up to the plate, have written down your baseline measurements, started your food journal, and have gotten brutally honest with yourself, what is next? The answer is simple: Do something and stick with it; and journal EVERYTHING. Write down exactly what you eat, when you eat, what you do for your training, and what time you train, the amount of sleep you get, when you go to sleep, and when you wake up. Realize that diet, resistance training, rest, and consistency are key components of permanent weight loss and strength gains. Put stock into yourself: you are responsible for you. There is no miracle cream, pill, vitamin, spray, food, or machine. You already know what to do.

I have heard true masters are so because they have perfected the basics. Masters always return to what is fundamental. The fundamental and basic lifts of any training program should stem from the deadlift, squat, press, and pull-up. Anyone perfecting these four lifts will always be impressive. How should women apply these lifts to their training? Again, keep it simple then diversify. Perfect the basics and return to them often, no matter how advanced you become.

I recently read that "success does not happen by accident. It is the consequence of continual commitment and drive toward a goal." Another quote that has always stayed with me is, "If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten." If you want to be successful, start your journey honestly: Write down exactly where you are; Write down your goals and how to get there. If you get off track, re-evaluate, keep pushing, and always return to the basics. It really is that simple.

Sara Cheatham M.S., RKC is a Level II instructor and the only active certified Kettlebell instructor on Nellis AFB, in Las Vegas, NV. Sara is available for workshops, consultations, military PT, group sessions, and personal training. Contact her at saracheatham@hotmail.com.