Far too many people will diet for a couple of weeks - to a month and then yoyo back again. For some of us, every time we lose weight and yoyo back, our bodies become smarter at conserving energy and increasing hunger, making future weight loss attempts that much harder.
So in order to lose weight and keep it off, you need to ditch the diet. Sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? However, the reality is, the more you yoyo, the more weight you will end up carrying in the long run.
So if I shouldn’t diet, how do I lose weight?
Get back to your natural eating pattern, the one you have developed over your lifetime. The reason for this is simple. It’s easier to sustain your usual eating pattern than it is to follow some restrictive and/or prescriptive diet.
Tweak this eating pattern to make it predominantly healthy, bit by bit, addressing underlying habits that you have picked up along the way.
Shift your mindset from focusing on individual foods and ingredients, to what you eat over the course of a day/week. Looking at the ratio of healthy food to unhealthy food and swing this in your favour over time.
Expect the odd bump in the road. This is normal. You’re only human right? Instead of feeling guilty after a blowout, redirect your energy and accept, then reflect. Accept that you will encounter situations in your life where you may not eat healthy foods, then reflect on whether it was worth it/what you could do to prevent this from happening again.
Get back on the wagon straight away. Not on Monday, or New Year’s Day, but the very next meal or snack.
I make it sound so simple. Fact is, it is not. To action the points above, I’ve listed the 3 most important tips to help you achieve weight loss success:
#1 Determine your fundamental reason for change. I’m not talking about losing weight, but more what’s driving you to want to lose weight? Have you asked yourself this question? Use whatever it may be to evaluate your daily food and drink choices against. This is what we call mindful eating.
#2 Identify the unhealthy habits that have caused you to put on weight over the years and disrupt, or hack them. Over time, you can convert these unhealthy habits into healthy ones. The more unhealthy habits conquered, the more you can cruise on autopilot, not having to worry so much about being healthy all of the time. You just do it naturally.
Some common unhealthy habits:
Eating on the couch watching tv
Eating whilst driving
3pm sugar intake
Eat less than 5 serves of vegetables per day
Eat less than 2 serves of fruit per day
Going for seconds
Snacking before/after dinner
Regular consumption of unhealthy dessert (ice-cream)
Never drink enough water
Drinking alcohol every night/most nights
Never plan meals
Excessive eating on exercise days
Eat well during the week and poorly on the weekends
Use artificial sweeteners
Not paying attention to portion sizes
Consume plenty of packaged/convenience foods
And the list goes on. Can you identify with any of the above?
#3 Accountability and support. This is key for most people. Particularly in the beginning. These days there’s a coach for everything. Why not for people who want to lose weight? Setting up your environment so that there’s accountability and support is so important. Find someone/a group of people to help you with the following:
Someone to check-in with regularly regarding your habits (daily if possible)
Someone to be there for you when you’re having a bad day
Someone to encourage you to get straight back on the wagon when you have a blowout
Someone to keep you focused and motivated…everyday
Someone to celebrate your progress with
The above is a shameless plug for the Daily Dietitian program. Click here for more info.
Key take home - Diets set you up to fail. With the right elements in place, you too can achieve long-term sustainable weight loss.