5 Fatal Flaws that Hold You Back from Losing Weight Successfully

If you’re feeling stuck and if you’ve been stuck for a long time. Or if you keep losing and regaining weight back, and are unable to achieve your weight loss goals. It’s likely you suffer from one or many of these five fatal flaws.

The good news is that these fatal flaws are not permanent. These are things that you can fix.

And further good news is that I’ll be providing you with the solutions to each of these flaws by linking to blog posts where I have discussed solutions in depth.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Fatal Flaw 1: Refusing to take responsibility for your actions.

Gaining weight isn’t entirely your fault. If you feel like you are a bad person, because you can’t stop binging on snacks, because you can’t get yourself to exercise. That’s unwarranted.

It is not your fault that you have put on all that weight. The 21st century environment is conducive for people to become overweight.

We have easy access to food. You can tap on a screen, open an app and have food delivered to your doorstep. You are constantly bombarded by ads from food delivery services everywhere on the internet.

You may also be genetically wired to feel more hungry than the average person, despite having eaten enough.

You may have grown up in an environment where unhealthy food and exercise habits were the norm. And as an adult, these habits can be hard to get rid of on your own.

So if you have gained weight over the years, that isn’t your fault. But if you want to lose weight, that is solely your responsibility and no one else’s.

If you don’t do anything about it, your default tendency will be to put on more weight or stay wherever you are. It is not going to change.

Ignorance is bliss, until it isn’t.

If you’re not tracking your food intake; if you’re not tracking your daily activity levels; if you’re not tracking indicators of progress— you’re hoping for a miracle to happen.

If you want to fix this, here are 2 blog posts to help you out. (Note: All blog posts also have associated podcast episodes. You can choose to listen to them if you prefer audio over text.)

Are you doing what you say you are doing?

The Mindset Shift You Need to Start Counting Calories

Fatal Flaw 2: Constantly hunting for products instead of following structured processes.

If you are someone who is always hunting for the next weight loss product— some kind of patch that you have to wear, a belt you have to put on, a pill you can swallow—  a product that you can wear or consume, and hoping that magically it’ll make weight loss happen.

That’s your second fatal flaw.

There are no magical products that will give you weight loss results. It is like looking for a magical product to make you rich. Or a magical product that will help you build a better relationship.

These things don’t exist.

All of these are behaviour related problems. If you want to get rich and build wealth, your behaviour around finances has to change.

If you want to build better relationships or have a better dating life, your behaviours around people have to change.

Similarly, if you’re trying to lose weight, your behaviours around food and exercise have to change.

In order to change these behaviours, you need a structured process, not a magical product.

For a process you need to follow, read: 25 Weight Loss Tips to Get You Faster and Better Results

If you follow all the pointers listed in that post, you will achieve your weight loss goals.

Tired of losing and regaining the same weight over and over?

woman wearing sunglasses and a blue dress lying on a rock

Fatal Flaw 3: Focusing on band-aid solutions instead of fixing the problem at its root.

There is no special diet that involves elimination of foods, drinking smoothies, fasting for arbitrary number of hours, that’s going to get your results.

Weight loss like we discussed in the previous point is a behavioural problem.

It is not a problem associated with a certain food source. Eliminating carbs or removing gluten from your diet isn’t going to help you reach your goals. Unless you suffer from a medical condition and your doctor has explicitly stated that you need to avoid certain foods completely, you don’t have to go on a restrictive diet

Restrictive diets are not sustainable long term. Ask yourself this question:

“If I were to start this diet, is this something I can sustain for the next 15 years?”

Not for the next 3 months or 1 year. For the next 15 years.

If your answer is ‘no’. Don’t do it.

If you fix the problem at its root successfully, your results will last for a lifetime.

But if you hop on band-aid solutions, the result will last only till the time you stick to that short-term thing. After that the weight you lost will come back.

That is why you stay stuck in perpetual cycles of losing and regaining back lost weight. It is not difficult to lose weight; difficulty lies in losing it and keeping it off.

If you have a broken bone, you won’t slap a band-aid on the cut and hope that your bone would heal. You would have to take care of the fracture so that it mends from the inside. Otherwise your bone wouldn’t heal properly and you’ll forever be in pain.

Focus on fixing your weight loss problem at its root and for more on this, read the following blog posts:

Understand Your Own Behaviour to Create Desirable Outcomes

Optimise Your Environment for Weight Loss — Actionable Strategies

Your results are not determined solely by your actions. It is also how you shape the environment around you, what kind of food items you keep in your house, what kind of content you consume on social media— all of these things influence your results.

These are the root causes of the habits that you have built over time. And without taking care of them if you keep eliminating random food items from your diet, that is not going to fix the real problem.

Fatal Flaw 4: Over-reliance on cardio and gym workouts to burn calories.

This is way too common. You may have heard friends say things like:

“Today is my cheat day. I’ll burn off all these calories tomorrow.”

or

“I have burned so many calories today in the gym. Now I can enjoy this bag of chips.”

Both these statements are problematic. Gym workouts and cardio— both don’t burn a lot of calories; at least not in the magnitude most people estimate them to.

Weight loss is indeed about calories in versus calories out; how much food you are consuming in the form of energy versus how much energy you are burning.

Here’s the caveat— the amount of energy that you’ll gain by eating something as small as one bar of chocolate will probably require 1 hour of intense cardio to burn off. This is mindblowing for people who eat an entire pizza and think they’ll burn this off by a low-effort 20-minute cardio session.

It is much easier to control the amount of energy that you’re putting into your body. Rather than feeding a ton of energy that your body doesn’t need, and then trying to burn it off.

It is like fuelling your car.

If you know the level of fuel you need to put into your car. Would you go out of your way to fill it to the brim till the fuel overflows? Then drive to burn off the excess fuel till it gets to your desired level?

Now imagine doing this every time you re-fuel.

Why only limit this to fuelling your car?

Imagine stuffing all containers in the house and all your bags in such a way that they barely close. Only to have to remove items and repack everything again. What if you do this over and over every single day? Would it be rational?

Wouldn’t it make better sense to fuel your car just to the level you need, fill your bags and containers just to their capacity? Instead of all the loading-unloading filling-removing-burning craze?

So instead of trying to burn things off, try to control the intake of food. It’s more efficient. Cardio and exercise in general don’t burn a lot of calories.

However what does greatly influence calorie burn is how much you move throughout the day. Here’s a blog post on that:

Can You Lose Weight by Walking? Here’s Everything You Need to Know.

Reading this post will give you a fair idea of what is a more efficient way to use up calories you’ve consumed. Further, there are tips on making it easy to walk more, making it less boring, and a lot of other useful strategies.

Also read this post on cardio and fat loss to know more about incorporating cardio for exercise:

Cardio and fat loss: what works and what doesn’t do sh*t.

Fatal Flaw 5: Not enforcing some kind of daily accountability for your actions.

Consistency is key to lose weight successfully. Go to any personal trainer; ask any nutritionist or fitness professional. Every single one of them would have some version of this advice.

You can’t lose weight if you aren’t consistent in your efforts. Then why is there nothing in your program to enforce accountability?

Without accountability, there cannot be any consistency, especially when you’re starting out— when you don’t have good food habits, good exercise habits.

You need daily accountability.

Without that you’ll not see results and you’ll not be able to sustain the process long-term. It’s nice to hear proverbs like— “You cannot rely on motivation. You have to be disciplined.” But there’s nothing actionable in this statement.

“You have to be disciplined.” What does that even mean?

Are you supposed to make yourself do things when you’re not feeling like it? I get it. But how realistic is that?

You work a 9-to-5 job in a high-performance role, you have a family to take care of, other responsibilities in life. And here are habits you’re trying to build which don’t come easy to you; you’re trying to break out of behaviour patterns ingrained from years of conditioning.

You’re trying to make a fundamental change. And you’re supposed to force yourself to do that by relying on a vague strategy called “discipline”?

With all other stressors in your life that is unrealistic.

What you need is a structured plan and some kind of daily accountability; not weekly accountability, not monthly accountability— daily accountability— someone who keeps a check on you, or somewhere you can report your daily actions and progress.

This does not have to be a lifelong process. It has to be there at the beginning half of your journey. Once you build good habits around food, movement and exercise, you’ll use that momentum to keep progressing by yourself.

It is easy to maintain momentum. It is difficult to initiate that momentum.

Daily accountability builds momentum from ground up. And once you have got into the groove, you will progress towards your goal without the need for any external accountability.

Daily accountability can be enforced in many ways.

You can become part of a community of like-minded peers where you hold each other accountable. You can join the free Workday Physique discord server to get access to a thriving community of people working towards fitness goals.

You can ask a friend or family member to keep you accountable on a daily basis.

Or you can sign up for 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique. When someone signs up for 1-on-1 weight loss coaching, they get access to a robust accountability system.

This means personalised guidance, support, and accountability— every single day of the week. I don’t like to keep something as important as consistency and habit building to chance.

All processes are designed to take you straight to your goals without wasting any time, energy, or resources. And to make sure that you can maintain results for life.

Because if you don’t have the right habits in place, you will not maintain your weight loss results.

For more details on how you can become consistent, read this blog post:

How to Stay Consistent with Diet and Exercise

Ajitesh Gogoi is an online fitness coach and the founder of Workday Physique™— a weight loss coaching service for busy professionals. His mission is to empower busy professionals to achieve their weight loss goals. And transform them into their most confident selves.
Ajitesh Gogoi

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