Weight loss is complex. Eating a low calorie diet and exercising will usually result in weight loss- but that doesn't mean that you get to enjoy your weight loss forever... There is a bit more to it than that!
In 2015 a study was conducted in Australia to determine what the people who have successfully kept weight off do. The findings have been an important part of my women's wellness program development- and are outlined below...
1. Ditch diet talk.
Forget being "on track" or "off track"... "Being good" or "falling off the wagon". This is diet culture talk and it encourages an all or nothing approach to weight loss. As we know- an all or nothing approach leads to rule creation, deprivation, and a loss of control over our food. Diet talk is dangerous and completely unhelpful in long term weight loss success! People who have lost weight and kept it off are never on or off a diet- they just know how to eat well and move their bodies all the time. This is something that you can 100% do too.
2. Learn about food.
People who know about nutrition and how the food choices that they are making are impacting on their bodies and health are more likely to make positive food choices that promote long term weight management. You need to know which foods make you feel energised, help you to sleep better, and promote weight loss for your body. It's also important because it allows you to eat mindfully. How can we be mindful and make a conscious choice about what to eat when we don't really understand how it's going to affect our gut health, hormones, and appetite? Learning about food is necessary for long term weight loss success and I highly recommend that you do this through a trusted health professional (e.g. dietitian) rather than through dr. google.
3. Have a plan.
All of my clients have a plan. A plan for general day-to-day meals, quick and easy dinner meals, a plan for when they are eating out and their food choices are out of their control, and a plan for when they can't be bothered cooking. You can't just have any plan though- it needs to be specific to you. If I printed off the same meal plan and gave it to all of my clients, I can guarantee that I would never see the success rates that I do- simply because a generic plan does not work for everyone. Your plan needs to account for your routine, lifestyle, family dynamic, and meal preferences. It can't be strict- it needs to be flexible, and needs to include an element of education so that you know how to adapt it yourself when required. Having a plan means that you can be organised and consistent even when you aren't motivated- because you are not going to be motivated all the time!
4. Self monitor.
There is no way of knowing how something is working for us without measuring and monitoring it. I always encourage that clients monitor not just how their body shape and size is changing, but also their energy, sleep, stress levels, food and drink intake, and exercise. If we don't monitor how we are doing- then it's really easy for the things that we want to achieve to be forgotten and a few extra kilos creep back on. Should you weigh yourself then? Not all of my clients weigh- but they all have some element of measuring their success. Some use scales, some take photos, some use clothes, some measure body composition. Weight is only one tool to measure and therefore only measures one thing. It also isn't entirely accurate and can't tell us if our weight changes re due to fluid, bowels, muscle mass, or body fat. Self monitoring is a key part of long term weight loss maintenance and needs to be considered in any weight loss intervention.
5. Adapt their environment.
As you may have read in my previous articles- altering our environment to promote healthy food choices makes it so much easier to eat well all the time. People who lose weight and successfully keep it off have also altered their environment. They choose to meet friends for walking dates instead of coffee and cake, they avoid having processed treat foods in the house, and they keep tempting high calorie options out of sight. It doesn't matter how motivated you might be to lose weight and keep it off- if you have a packet of biscuits looking at you every time you open the pantry- it's going to be really hard not to eat them!
These 5 things give you a really small taste into the factors to consider for long term weight loss success. I say this all the time- but following a low calorie diet plan is not the way to successfully lose weight! Everything needs to be addressed. All parts of your body, mind, and health- but also the way that you approach weight loss too.
If you want to learn how to lose weight and keep it off then get in touch and work with me on my women's weight loss & wellness program. I work with a limited number of women each month and support them to lose weight in a sustainable way through 1:1 sessions, seminars, weekly meal ideas, and weekly support sessions.