Author Malcolm Gladwell makes a fantastic argument that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to be successful. He uses examples of the hours put in by concert pianists and other musicians such as the Beatles, as well as all-star Canadian hockey players, computer scientists, and many more. He documents the research he compiled to demonstrate this in his 2008 book, Outliers.

When it comes to weight loss, how do we get to the 10,000 hours we need of ‘practicing’, authentically living a healthy lifestyle before we ‘get it’ for life?

I often tell my clients that it took me three years of eating this way as a lifestyle change before really knew I had it. After reading Gladwell’s book, I did the math. During three years of ‘undoing’ my old habits and relationship with food, by ‘practicing’ how to cook, plan and organize my life around healthy habits, around 5-6 small meals a day, it added up to about 10,000 hours!

My point: Never give up! The biggest pitfall and why so many people who lose weight gain it back is people give up if they don’t get instant gratification. I see it all the time: when a person’s weight loss slows, stops or she has a bad day or week, she will simply give up and go back to old ways (no planning meals, no organization or structure). They never make their 10,000 hours!

Remember, you’ve had a lifetime of habits regarding sleep, exercise and a relationship with food. It will take time to change those habits, but it can be done. And, if you really want to keep the weight off for life, come to peace with the fact that you have to ‘put in your time’.

Three years of ups and downs is not all that bad if after that time, you will have the confidence you need to keep that weight off for the rest of your life.

Not a bad deal when you think about it!

About Romy Nelson
Owner and operator of Essential Fitness, Inc., Romy is a nutritionist, media consultant and author. Her main goal is to teach individuals how to make long-term lifestyle changes, and break free from unhealthy eating patterns and the cycle of yo-yo dieting

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