The Ideal Strategy to Start Losing Weight. Seriously.
Much of the scientific literature around weight loss says that there is no ideal strategy to lose weight. It says that regardless of what method you choose, your strategy ultimately comes down to whether you eat less energy than you burn off.
You eat a little less and you exercise a little more.
That’s it. it’s not rocket science.
And that’s the reason why someone on insta can say that the ultimate weight loss strategy is to eat nothing but bacon and butter and yet another can say that veganism is the ONLY way to go. In general, it’s not because they’ve stumbled upon some magical diet that is right for everyone, it’s because they were successful in consistently lowering their energy intake below what they were currently burning.
But I don’t think you’d be reading this if you didn’t know that already.
I suspect a better articulation of your problem is that you’re hard pressed just getting to 3pm on any given day having been able to stick to any of your weight loss promises. It’s not that you don’t know how to reduce your energy intake (because let’s face it, if everyone did even just the first step on my free weight loss download, they’d lose weight), it’s that you can’t do this whole dieting thing consistently.
and it makes you wonder…If you can’t even get through one or two days of healthy eating, how much chance do you have in succeeding with anything at all?
It turns out that the ideal strategy for weight loss for someone like you has nothing to do with what you need to do to reduce calories, instead, it has everything to do with putting in place the things you need to help you stick to it.
And this is an incredibly important point because even if this year you did end up being successful in losing some weight on a fad diet or with frozen meals or with a meal plan from the gym, if you don’t do the following few steps first, the chances that you’ll put it back on are monumentally high.
The Missing Steps in your Weight Loss Strategy
In my experience, people who are not succeeding in losing weight are often missing out the following steps when creating a weight loss strategy for themselves. These steps are not always fun, and they take a bit of work but I believe they are the key to long lasting, consistent weight loss. And they go something like this:
Ask for help + be open to understanding more about your own Sh*t.
Be truly honest (this is the hard bit) with what you are doing daily to gain weight + consider what Could happen if you changed it even just a little bit
When things Get hard (it’s inevitable), don’t try and do it all on your own, ask for help again (this is the even harder bit).
Now you may be saying to me that this all sounds a bit like I’m avoiding telling you all of the special weight loss secrets that I have tucked away in my nutritionist’s arsenal - only for when you eventually book a session with me. Or perhaps these steps may just sound like some wishy washy talk that you hear in self improvement circles about building self confidence and self awareness to achieve wellness….but you have serious questions around whether it actually works.
But I ask you this. Have your previous strategies worked for you? Why are you reading this article if they have?
I’m going to give you an example to help demonstrate why incorporating this approach into your weight loss strategy is absolutely critical.
Successful Weight Loss through Openness and Vulnerability
I have a client I’ve been working with for the past 6 months. She had a long history of weight gain and loss with the most recent weight loss success being a few years ago when she was able to lose about ten kilograms using the 5:2 diet.
But it was now all back on again.
The 5:2 diet had worked because she did it with two family members she was living with and they all prepared meals together. It kept her in check because everyone was doing the same thing. But now she was living in a different situation and as her life changed, she had slowly changed her diet back to one that was making her gain weight (it was not unhealthy, but it was not 100% right for her).
Her first call for help was the one she made to me. We talked about portion control and how to design a plate and put in place a slow plan for her to adjust each meal. After a few consults it became apparent that the biggest roadblock to weight loss was a binge mentality which descended upon her whenever she felt that she had not met her own goals. The 5:2 diet never addressed this issue. Want a one way trip to failing a new diet? Don’t deal with the reasons why you binge. And this is one reason (of many) why she put the weight back on previously. She had never told anyone about her binges.
She was embarrassed about them and she didn’t even really want to tell me about it. but she did.
So we put in place some mindset changes and a bare minimum strategy (on top of the first strategy) for when she was feeling too overwhelmed.
Things were starting to change.
A few months in and she had lost a few kilos and the binge eating had stopped altogether. But weight loss had stalled. She was close to giving up because she hadn’t lost as much weight as she thought she would have by now. We had another consult and it turns out her frequent travelling was getting in the road of being really consistent. But not in the way you would think. She was great at being consistent with her eating while she was away but once she got back and was free to pick up her normal routine, the pressure would get too much and she would self destruct and stop losing weight.
She was super vulnerable at this time and it wasn’t until she recognised this that was even happening that things changed.
From then on, when she arrived back home after travelling she would contact me and I would be her accountability for two or three days, just until she got over her dip and then she would be right.
She was putting in place a plan for her most vulnerable moments. She was steadily increasing her chances of success.
It was at this point that she was ready for the actual weight loss program (I know right! You thought I’d never get there!).
We put in place a high protein and fat, moderate carbohydrate, 16:8 intermittent fasting regime with some saffron and turmeric to support her moods and a high quality multivitamin and slippery elm to support her digestion.
She took to it like a woman on a mission. She lost 7 kilograms like this. Because she had a customised plan AND she had put in the hard work beforehand, she found it simple and easy to stick to.
She was ready.
She knew her weak points and she had a plan for them.
But that’s not where her story ends.
It’s now over six months later and she has lost about 9 kilograms in total. But she is currently going through one of the most stressful periods in her life. And this is when it all gets super hard. The habits she put in place over the past few months are on shaky ground and she is starting to eat food to make her feel better again. She gained two kilograms and is feeling very vulnerable and disappointed. She is wanting to give up but at the same time so worried that she will put all of the weight back on again.
But the key difference is that she is being HONEST and VULNERABLE with where she is at.
And she has an Sos plan. and it works.
Instead of the slide into bingeing, she makes the call to me and we start again with a modified version of what we know will keep her on track. We wait until things are a bit more settled to try and lose weight but at this point (while things are still stressful) we stop any further weight gain.
In a few months time she will be ready to knock off those few kilos that will make her reach her goal weight. In the meantime, she will prevent herself from regaining her weight that she worked so hard to lose. Through all of this, she has not started binge eating again, which in itself is a massive achievement and most importantly, she is displaying compassion for herself and raw honesty which she never knew existed.
The Ideal Strategy for Weight Loss. For Real.
Successful, long term weight loss requires bravery, hard work and honesty. At times it can be downright scary. It requires you to have a genuine, humble look at the things you do and ask why you do them. It then needs you to hand those things over to someone else and ask for help.
Every last one of them - the bad and the downright ugly.
Because the truth is, we’re actually quite embarrassed about the things we do that make us gain weight. We’re embarrassed about the fact that we’ve gained weight. We’re ashamed that we can’t do what we said we’re going to do and we’re sad that we can’t stick to our plans. We’re embarrassed that we eat junk food when we know we ‘should’ eat salad. We’re embarrassed that we can’t control ourselves and that our work clothes get tighter every year. Deep down we feel humiliated that we look the way we do.
If we don’t address these bits of ourselves first, if we don’t actively support and love and strategies with these parts of ourselves we will continue to hide in our own shame. We will continue to keep it in the dark and without help, we will continue to let it get the better of us.
Now, I’m a nutritionist, not a psychologist and sometimes sorting through this stuff is outside of my capabilities - and at that point we bring someone else on for extra support.
But much of this stuff is my deal. Because the most important thing that I offer is privacy, unconditional amounts of positivity and encouragement. Yes, I am trained in finding the food that works best for your body. And yes I am trained in helping you to lose weight. But I believe the magic happens in the times when I help you to wait out the bad and sort through what is most bothering you the most. Together we use these things to make your future decisions more effective and healthful. Together we come up with a plan and move forward. Time and time again.
Self improvement is crazy hard.
We were born into our early years surrounded by love and support to achieve our goals. That’s how we learnt to take chances, to be brave, to make change. But somewhere along the line we decided that we must do it all on our own. Drop your defences and see what happens.
Ask for someone to help you achieve your goals and let go of a tiny bit of that need to have to fix it all by yourself. You might be surprised at what you can do with someone else on your side.
I heard someone say this in a tv show I was watching the other night and I thought it was brilliant.
“Don’t fear the laying bare, don’t fear helplessness, accept your fragility and you’ll feel lighter.”
It’s lovely isn’t it? Start with this strategy and not only will you find a sustainable way to lose weight but you may also learn some stuff about yourself.
Want to do this with me?