What I wish I knew about Trying to Lose Weight in my 20s
I THOUGHT I NEEDED TO BE MORE DISCIPLINED TO LOSE WEIGHT
I thought I needed a total overhaul every time another fad diet failed.
Let me begin by explaining how my rejection of this concept has informed my approach to weight loss as a clinician + how I believe it achieves much more success with long term weight loss. A fundamental difference between weight loss with me + other weight loss programs is that I start off with telling people that they don’t have to fundamentally change *insert insanely shocked look here*.
It sounds like a ridiculous premise because people generally end up coming to me to change how they eat. And ultimately, many of my clients do end up changing their diets (+ their lives…dramatically). But I never ask people to change. So how then does change happen? Well the concept is born out of how I believe us humans evolve + make changes to our behaviour over the course of our lives. We don’t often change by completely overhauling our behaviour, we usually change gradually through small, goal oriented adaptations to their current mode of operation. How is this different to taking on a diet..or initiating change? Well it goes like this.
meet Carrie + her weight loss journey
Carrie comes to me because she is overweight. She has been putting on weight for a while now + can’t seem to shift it. She has had some success in the past + yearns for the days when she was even just a little bit lighter (she’s at the point where she has given up the idea of being back where she was ten years ago…she’d just be happy with one dress size). Deep down she is actually terrified because each year that goes on, the scales go up just a bit more + she feels like she no longer has control of herself. She is tired, sad + completely defeated.
She believes she has to have a complete overhaul + that is how she has proceeded with weight loss in the past + how I used to do the same in my 20s. She says needs an overhaul of her diet, her lifestyle + her mind. It’s the only way that things can change, she believes.
She says she finds herself going for the chocolate bar in the work kitchen rather than the apple + nuts that she should have. She sits on the couch after work exhausted + ends up ordering takeaway by the end of the week (+ sometimes at the start of the week!). She goes out to breakfast on Saturday morning hoping she will get the motivation to order the super healthy buddha bowl but instead changes her mind at the last minute + orders the big breakfast with two coffees.
She just needs to be stronger, she tells me. She just needs to be more disciplined. But even though she thinks she needs an overhaul, it’s just not happening.
weight loss doesn’t work if you try to change everything
I suggest to her that she doesn’t need to change, in fact she actually has some really good things going for her. She has a generally wholefoods diet + she enjoys going to the gym whens she can (two essential ingredients for a great weight loss plan). She just needs to modify + work with some of the key habits she has developed over the years. And the important point is this: she shouldn’t be aiming to eliminate these habits, but work with them.
Because they are all there for a reason.
She doesn’t need to change who she is fundamentally, she just needs to know why she makes the choices that she does, + put something in place to support herself in making adapted choices that still allow for her to live the life that she wants to live. So yes, in one sense it is changing, but not fundamentally so.
Because the actual truth is, she goes for the chocolate bar at work because she is consistently not eating enough for lunch (because she often works through her lunchbreak) + by 3pm she is simply hungry. And she sits on the couch because she has a super busy job + is (genuinely) too tired to dedicate time to a home cooked meal. And she can’t help herself but order the big breakfast because she often has too much to drink the night before (because she just adores Friday nights out with her boyfriend + friends) + she has a habit of choosing food that makes her feel better when she is hungover (+ who doesn’t?!).
The point that I wish I had have known in my 20s is that:
She isn’t losing weight because Everything that she is doing is in place because she wants it there
Boom. There it is. The very reason why she is feeling out of control. And if there is one paragraph that I recommend you read out of this whole article it is this one coming up. And it probably applies to you more than you realise.
Carrie wants two things at once + she isn’t integrating one of her deepest desires (weight loss) into all of the other things in her life that she holds dear (all the other stuff).
You see, she loves her job + she likes the satisfaction of achieving, + that’s why she goes hungry + is tired in the evenings. She likes the buzz of a Friday night + sitting outside on balmy nights after a long work week + catching up with people whom she loves + that’s why she is drinking a bit too much + choosing crappy food the next day. Yes, these things all put together are making her put on weight. But more importantly, THIS IS WHY SHE THINKS SHE CAN’T CHANGE, because she happens to like doing the stuff that is making her put on weight.
And this is precisely why I tell you that you don’t have to change. There is a darn good chance that you have a set of habits that are put there because you want them to be there. They help you cope or have fun or pick you up when you are tired. They may be coping strategies or connected to celebratory events to give you a happy + enjoyable life. They are things you may not be prepared to compromise on. But they may also be things that are making you gain weight. So what do you do?
You will lose weight when you accept who you are - the good + the bad (+use them BOTH to your advantage)
Step one is to understand exactly why you make the choices that are making you gain weight or stopping you from losing it. Know the actual reason, not just that you aren’t strong enough. Once you know that, together you and I can put the stuff in place to support you in making the changes you want to make IN LINE WITH YOUR CURRENT WAY OF LIVING.
So yes, people end up changing. But they don’t get an overhaul not like the one they think they need. That never works. And they don’t often end make the changes that their nutritionist wants them to make either. Long term, they make the changes that suit them. And don’t we all? As a practitioner, I just choose to work WITH this mindset + not against.
Want to do this with me? Sign up for HABITS PLATIUM.
A 6 week one-on-one online package where we can address everything you need to make your weaknesses your superpower + lose weight for good (we deal with you moods + wacky periods in there too!)
Hey! I’m Zoe Morosini, a Brisbane based nutritionist on a mission to show every woman that wants to lose weight that she doesn’t have to lose her mind trying.