You’ve probably heard of various 30-day body transformation programmes or diets that promise fast results in just 30 days. But could these challenges be stopping you from achieving your goals?
30-day challenges can be tempting if you want to lose weight or get in shape quickly for a special occasion, like a holiday or a wedding. And they can work for some people.
But if you’re wanting to continue to lose weight beyond the 30 days or get in better shape permanently, completing these short transformation programmes may actually be holding you back from making real progress.
1) They encourage comparison
People often attempt 30-day body transformation challenges with a friend or family member who shares the same goal of getting into shape or losing weight. Whilst having moral support can be motivating, it also makes you more susceptible to comparing your progress to other people’s. Some quick-fix programmes even have hashtags so you can share your progress on social media and see how strangers are getting on!
With a 30-day deadline, it can be easy to think you’ve failed or not done enough if, by day 25, you’ve lost 6 pounds, but your friend has lost 12. Theodore Roosevelt famously said that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’, but it’s also the thief of progress. Comparing yourself to others makes you less likely to achieve your own goals and celebrate your own successes.
Instead of feeling guilty about your progress, remember that everybody is different, so it takes us different lengths of time to lose weight or gain muscle. There’s no best speed to get in better shape. We all have a natural speed of change and 30 days just might not be enough for some people to see any huge difference.
Instead of attempting quick fix challenges, I work with my clients to slow downand think about long-term, sustainable change. We work towards their health and fitness goals at a speed that suits their lifestyle, where they can maintain their progress comfortably without falling off the wagon.
2) Your success relies on willpower
30-day body transformation programmes are almost always about limitations and restricting yourself. Achieving great results in such a short space of time usually relies on cutting certain foods out of your diet completely, or only eating certain types of food. These challenges are naturally difficult and would be hard to stick to in the long run, unless you have huge amounts of willpower … and not many of us do!
Instead of focusing on negatives, like avoiding, eliminating and cutting out, I work with my personal training and nutrition clients to set positive goals.
So, instead of setting negative goals like ‘I’m going to stop eating chocolate’, we set positive goals like ‘I’m going to eat more fruit and veg’. When we focus on making a positive change, like eating more fruit and veg, we usually find that we end up achieving other goals, like eating less chocolate, at the same time anyway.
3) There’s no incentive to keep going afterwards
So, you’ve lost the amount of weight you set out to in 30 days and achieved your short-term goal. Now what?
When there’s no longer a deadline to work towards, many people lose motivation, take time off from their heavily restricted diet and go back to their old ways until they decide it’s time for another quick fix. This can lead you into a vicious cycle of boom and bust, where you diet for 30 days, take a break, then diet again.
If you find yourself stuck in this loop, my advice would be to slow down and commit to achieving your goals in the long-term. Sustainable change takes time and patience, but you’ll find you achieve your goals and maintain your progress in a more manageable way, without the pressure. You may even find you enjoy the journey!
For more advice on how to slow down to achieve your goals, read this article.