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Why 30 day weight loss challenges fail

Why 30-Day Weight Loss Challenges Fail

Now that another summer is upon us, reflecting back, did you meet your weight loss goal? You know, the goal you set for New Year?

If you are shaking your head, you’re not the only one. Because you wouldn’t be reading this article, unless (a) you wanted/needed to lose weight, or (b) you are interested in weight loss for personal or professional reasons.

I am going to assume that you had a goal of losing weight, but life, stress, excuses, and a lack of motivation got in the way. And it likely happens year after year.

When January hit, you may have joined a 30-day free challenge. So why is it that this avenue doesn’t work?

Let’s break it down.

It Takes More than Time to Build Weight Loss Habits

2 weeks, 28 days, 30 days. Depending on the research you google, you may hear vastly different views of how long it takes for someone to make genuine changes with their weight. There’s just one problem: despite the research, it’s not all based on a timeline. Simply joining a 30-day challenge, whether it’s healthier eating or a specific exercise challenge, isn’t enough to create lasting weight changes. You must, instead:

Be motivated and invested to make a change. In order to reach a weight loss goal, it’s essential to be motivated and invested. Overall health and wellness challenges need to incorporate much more than a simple daily challenge to be truly effective. If you’re solely focused on meeting the challenge goal, you may have little motivation to maintain the long-term change.

Have the ability to reach the goals in the challenge. Suppose you join a 30-day free challenge that encourages every member to meet a goal of 10,000 steps per day. While that’s a great goal, not everyone is capable of easily reaching it. Some people may struggle to get 5,000 steps on an active day. Asking them to double their efforts may seem impossible.

Find strategies that fit into their schedule. Everyone has different work schedules and responsibilities. Not one weight loss challenge can ever fit every member’s schedule. If it doesn’t work for you, even if you participate in the challenge itself, you’ll be less likely to make lasting change.

Not Everyone Moves at the Same Rate

Many 30-day weight loss challenges are built on the theory that each day needs to add a little more to the challenge. Plank challenges, for example, may start with just 30 seconds, with the hope of building up to a full 5 minutes by the end of the month. While it’s a great challenge, there’s one key problem: not everyone will build strength at the same rate! Some people will find that they can easily meet the early goals in the challenge, motivating them to quickly hurry toward the bigger goals near the end. Others may struggle to meet those early goals and, as the challenge gets harder, they may quickly give up. While challenges are a great way to encourage members to start thinking about fitness goals, not every person will be suited to those challenges. If you want to lose weight, it’s important to look beyond the 30-day challenge to discover a more effective strategy: a wellness program that encourages healthy eating, regular activity, mindset work, support and of course a work/life balance.

Challenges Are Geared Toward Short-Term Results

Most 30-day weight-loss challenges are designed to last for, well, 30 days. That’s great for people who are looking for a little extra motivation to help them kick-start new fitness goals. 30 days is an attainable goal: you assume that you’ll be able to do anything for 30 days. It’s less effective, however, for people who are looking for long-term weight loss changes. Often, at the end of those 30 days, people simply give up and return to their previous habits- packing more pounds on than when they started.

Results Will Vary

“Get the six-pack you’ve always wanted in just 30 days!” “Lift your tush, tone your legs, and feel great about yourself!” “Accomplish more than you ever dreamed you could, with just 30 days of effort!” There’s just one problem: not everyone will get the same level of results from any type of weight loss challenge. Some people will quickly shed extra pounds and build plenty of muscle. Others will struggle to see those same results. Instead of taking a single 30-day round to see incredible toning, they may need two rounds, or three, or four. The truth is, results will vary throughout; and for those who aren’t able to reach their goals, the challenge may ultimately decrease motivation, rather than increase it.

Results Never Last

Even for those high achievers who do quickly get the results they want from a weight loss challenge, the results won’t last once the challenge is over. Sure, you’ve got the toned midsection you’ve always wanted; but once the motivation fades, you probably won’t continue those exercises, which means, in turn, that the results won’t last. 30-day challenges can give subpar results, especially if they target a specific part of the body that may ordinarily receive less attention. At the end of those 30 days, however, results may fall away just as quickly. To see real, lasting change, especially in overall body composition, it’s necessary to keep up with a fitness program, not just throw something together throughout a few days and hope for the best. A solid weight loss program, on the other hand, offers ongoing support to help the person make changes that will last for more than a few weeks, actually improving their overall health.

Many Challenges Are Based on Specific Sales-Worthy Items

Here’s the truth about many 30-day weight loss challenges: they’re based on the desire to sell something. The coach wants to sell a specific piece of workout equipment (i.e. booty band or waist trainer). That coach wants to encourage people to buy its specific supplements. Once people get those great results from their 30-day challenge, they’re more likely to use those items in the future! Unfortunately, if you’re investing in supplements, shakes, and specific diet foods, you’re putting out an expensive up-front investment for those short-term results. Instead, opt to invest in long-term results that will stick with you long after the challenge would have been over: a wellness program.

Failure Sparks Failure

“I couldn’t stick it out for 30 days. What makes you think I’ll ever be able to lose this weight and make real change?” Many 30-day weight loss challenges are designed to be hard. After all, it’s a short-term time investment. Unfortunately, failure can spark a spirit of failure, leading many people to believe that they won’t be able to make the changes that they need to make. As a result, they may struggle with the feeling that they won’t be able to accomplish future goals if they fail one challenge, and they may stop trying altogether.

Jill Bunny


As a cancer survivor and someone who lives with MS, I know the struggles that can come with life while trying to stay fit, healthy and energetic.

© 2020 Jill Bunny All Rights Reserved
Weight-loss coach serving women WorldWide from her home in Oakville, Canada.

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