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Weight Loss Challenges: Pros, Cons, and Should You Participate?


A weight loss challenge is typically a short-term, pre-planned program designed to help you achieve rapid weight-loss results through a series of significant behavior changes related to your food choices, portion control, meal prep routine, and exercise regimen. 

A weight-loss challenge often lasts between 10 and 30 days but may be as long as 90 days. These programs usually include an incentive to lose as much weight as possible and reward those who experience the largest numerical measure of weight loss.

Pros of A Weight Loss Challenge

Participating in a weight loss challenge offers several benefits.

First, they provide a spark in motivation and an increased desire to make positive changes in your self-care, nutrition, and exercise habits. If you commit yourself to implementing all of the recommendations provided, you’ll likely begin to feel better early on in the weight loss challenge. 

This is important because it’s a change in feeling and perception of progress that drives continued commitment to consistently implementing positive actions toward self-care and improved nutrition and exercise habits. 

Secondly, a well-designed weight loss challenge typically provides you with a proven plan and collection of resources, which expands your knowledge base and equips you with useful strategies to make eating well and exercising often more efficient and effective. 

Additionally, a weight loss challenge typically involves a community aspect. This has been shown time and time again to be an invaluable component to achieving significant, sustainable results. 

Results and Environment are Contagious

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that your chance of becoming (or remaining) overweight or obese exponentially increases if someone in your close circle (read: Community or tribe) is.

This particular study examined changes in weight among individuals and their social circles over a 32-year period and found the following to be true:

  • A person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 57% if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval.
  • Among pairs of adult siblings, if one sibling became obese, the chance that the other would become obese increased by 40%.
  • If one spouse became obese, the likelihood that the other spouse would become obese increased by 37%.
  • Persons of the same sex had relatively greater influence on each other than those of the opposite sex. This means that you and your best girl friends have a stronger influence on one another than you and your closest guy friends.

Mindset Matters

If you’re spending the majority of your time with those who have a negative attitude, fixed mindset, and slew of unhealthy self-care behaviors, chances are your attitude, mindset, and behaviors look awfully similar.

But when you join a community of like-minded people just like you who are working through similar challenges while striving to achieve a common goal, there’s a positive rub-off effect and suddenly it becomes easier and more enjoyable to start making a series of positive changes.

This support is incalculable!

Sadly, community support when seeking sustainable weight loss is rare, especially in women. In fact, according to 2012 research out of Stanford University, 75% of women “never” or “rarely” experience social or familial support during their weight loss endeavors.

And that just sucks.

Because trying to transform your thoughts, habits, and weight is no easy task. You’ll encounter a handful of expected and unexpected challenges that will make it very easy to want to give up.

Can you imagine just how easy it would be to give up without the right support?

I’m guessing yes, as you’ve likely been in this position before…

Inclusion for the Win

Several reasons being a member of a community of like-minded people working toward a common goal is valuable includes:

  • It helps remove feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • You can replace feelings of hopelessness with feelings of inspiration, support, and excitement
  • Cohorts provide a safe space to share challenges and be met with inspiration
  • Inclusion creates an environment of positive energy to feed off of and share
behavior change strategies, emotional intelligence, positive psychology and mindset shift, sustainable weight loss

There’s a reason that “strong community support” is one of our pillars of sustainable weight loss. It’s why we’ve worked so hard to create THE Community for achieving sustainable weight loss in The 5% Community

Cons of A Weight Loss Challenge

There is a positive side. A weight loss challenge can help assist you in taking quick action to begin feeling better. The real cons are that the methods promoted are often unsustainable.

It’s easy to focus only on the duration of the weight loss challenge. If you truly want to achieve sustainable weight loss, quick fixes won’t work. In order to break free from the yo-yo dieting cycle for good, you need to think long-term.

Your foundation of healthy eating habits should be individualized, simple, flexible, AND sustainable. If you can’t check those boxes, you’re bound to find yourself right back where you started (or worse) in a matter of months.

Episode 175 of The 5% Way Podcast, “The 3 Keys to Building Your Own Sustainable Nutrition Plan” details the approach you need to take to build a sustainable nutrition plan. Click here to listen!

You Need Sustainable Weight Maintentance

Thirdly, these challenges only focus on the weight-loss portion of your long-term journey. This isn’t ideal. You want to learn how to build a foundation of healthy eating habits that promotes easier, significant sustainable weight loss. This way you’ll actually be spending the majority of your life NOT dieting.

This means you’ll absolutely benefit from having the right community support, coaching, education, and accountability AFTER dieting. This time brings about a whole different set of emotional, psychological, and physiological challenges. 

To help you more comfortably navigate life after dieting, we put together a 12-week blueprint to help you maintain your weight loss after a diet. You can download and begin reading for free here

Long Term Issue With Weight Loss Challenge

Yes, you can find a handful of pros by partaking in a weight loss challenge; however, the long-term consequences drastically outweigh the potential short-term rewards. You may be looking for help building a foundation of healthy eating habits to help you feel better. Maybe you want to lose weight, or are looking for motivation to begin taking action to feel better. Remember this:

Less is more.

Start small.

With one single behavior.

Get clear on how you want to feel. Choose an action you know aligns with bringing that feeling when executed consistently.

As you begin executing that action consistently, you’ll begin to feel better. Funny enough, you’ll be more motivated to commit to further actions that align with how you want to feel.

Join A Community that will Challenge you to Be Better

The 5 Percent Community is our 12-month, signature sustainable weight-loss experience and transformational program. It is designed to help you achieve your weight loss goal for good, and empower you with confidence. You will gain control, and inner calm you desire to feel, look, and be your best.

Sustainable weight loss from the inside out.

It’s designed to provide you with a clear path, proven plan, specific action steps, and unmatchable accountability and support. This is what you need to transform your mindset, belief systems, self-talk, habits, and nutrition behaviors. These are the key elements that need to change – in route to significant, sustainable weight loss.

The 5% Community

Everything we do in The 5% Community aims at helping you become one of The 5 Percent…

  • A woman who is confident, in control, and possesses immense inner calm as she navigates her day.
  • A woman in control of her food choices and comfortable in any food-centric situation. Whether she’s navigating a meal out, social occasion, or eating at home she is unphased by the temptations she encounters on a daily basis.
  • A woman who radiates positivity and joy, which enables her to have a more positive impact. She’s learned the benefit of putting herself first on the priority list.
  • A woman who is unaffected by the number she sees on the scale. She’s incredibly clear on how she wants to feel. She has appropriately aligned her actions to make those feelings her reality.

To learn more about joining The 5% Community, click the button below.

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Paul Salter

Paul Salter is a Registered Dietitian and Founder of The 5% Way. Since 2013, Paul has worked one-on-one with nearly 1,500 men and women, helping them to collectively lose tens of thousands of pounds of body fat and keep it off for good. He’s also published nearly 1,000 articles, two books, and 175 podcast episodes (and counting) on all things related to our five core elements of sustainable weight loss.

The Maintain My Weight Loss After A Diet Blueprint

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