By Gena Anderson
Have you tried to change your diet, but can’t seem to lose weight? Maybe you’ve had some success with weight loss but gained back the weight. Weight loss can be frustrating and defeating, but I’ve been learning some things that just may be the missing link for some of us. If you’re looking to successfully shed some unwanted pounds, and keep them off, the following are four key must-haves to include in your planning process.
We attempt to lose weight for many reasons, but are they the right reasons? Fitting into our jeans or looking good for an event may get us going, but they aren’t enough for long-term change. If we are wanting to develop eating habits that will nourish us for the long haul we should start with asking why. Being our best for ourselves and those we love is meaningful beyond the lifespan of fashion trends. Personally, being able to live out my faith as best I can is my motivation. Find your why, write it down, and remind yourself of it often. Keep yourself motivated by focusing on behaviors instead of pounds and inches, and setting small realistic goals that you can achieve. Celebrating the small successes along the way will keep you motivated and be more likely to give you the results you desire.
Set yourself up for success by picking a plan that is sustainable. One theme I’ve seen repeatedly is the correlation between consistency and sustained weight loss. If we starve ourselves or follow an extreme plan for a short while, we are likely to see success in the short-term, followed by gaining some or all of those pounds back. A diet that we have to cheat on in order to enjoy food isn’t sustainable. Discipline will be required regardless, but extreme depravity is not. Find nutritious foods you like, and make changes you can see yourself sticking with for years to come.
Since I started digging more into the evidence on weight loss, I learned that studies show seeing a medical provider regularly is associated with better weight loss results. This is thought to be due to the accountability that comes with reporting in. My office recently did a weight loss challenge and the thought of those Friday weigh-ins definitely kept my indulgences to a minimum. Other accountability options include joining a group or tracking your progress and calories on an app. Whatever plan you choose, don’t forget to set up a system to hold yourself accountable.
Weight loss is absolutely achievable, and some are successful in losing weight and keeping it off. If that’s true, then why does it seem so hard? Why do we yo-yo back and forth? The answer to these questions may lie in the issues above, or it might be a lack of resilience. Even the most resolute and determined among us will have periods where they gain instead of lose, plateau, or get knocked down in one way or another. When that happens we have to get back up, and back on track, and there are things that can help us do that. Including mind and soul care in our plan is key. A distracted, depressed, anxious, or otherwise occupied mind won’t be ready for what these moments require. Similarly, an unattended suffering soul is a heavy weight to lift when we’re already down. Attend to your mental and spiritual health, and anticipate moments of setback, seeing them as expected speed bumps, and not roadblocks.
Finding the right motivation, setting yourself up for sustainable success, holding yourself accountable, and equipping yourself to be resilient are all components of a comprehensive weight loss plan. Perhaps one of the above is missing in your strategy and may be the key you’ve been looking for.
Be well, friend.