I often hear people say: “I gained back all the weight I lost!” Did you experience this as well? If you struggled with weight loss for years, you probably tried all kinds of diets with the same results. The weight keeps coming back.
Each time you decide to give the weight loss another go, you hope that the new diet could work. This time, you think, you could finally get back to the body size that looks and feels good. And initially, the diet plan works. Initially, then it stops working! And what’s even worse is that you gain the weight back.
I understand your frustration with weight loss, and I can help.
Below I outline my approach and explain how most of my clients lose weight successfully and never gain it back.
Weight loss process overview
Because I’m a weight-loss nutritionist, people often expect me to only talk about food. Of course, I do talk about food and its effects on the body. However, it’s not the lack of nutritional knowledge that keeps people from losing weight. Most of my clients tell me they know what they need to do, but somehow they can’t stick to it.
What I learned over years of working on weight loss is that what’s on your mind might be even more important than what’s on your plate. So, in addition to food, we focus on thoughts and feelings because they drive your behavior. We also make adjustments in your environment to make it easier to develop new habits.
Here are the four parts of my weight loss program:
- We start with a thorough and honest assessment of what you currently do
- Then you come up with meaningful goals to keep you motivated and committed
- Next, you start making gradual changes based on your individualized plan
- Finally, you practice new behavior patterns and new skills, so they become habits
We start with a thorough evaluation of your current situation. As a result, we identify what’s stopping you from having the body of your dreams.
We begin by assessing what you currently eat: the food itself, the timing of meals, and snacks. We also look at your eating style. For example, you might be a fast eater, or you eat on the go. You might eat once a day or ten times a day.
Your health history can reveal some issues that make the weight loss process more difficult for you. Associated health conditions like insulin resistance and blood sugar problems, hypothyroid, PCOS, and menopause all can play a role. Other factors such as poor sleep, lack of movement, and stress are common and can negatively affect your weight.
As we get to know each other better, we learn more about the underlying causes of your weight gain. For instance, you might be stress-eating or have intense cravings or even food addictions. You might have unhealthy habits like snacking while watching TV or eating to comfort or distract yourself.
Create a Vision and Set Meaningful Goals
Many of my clients have attempted to lose weight multiple times and feel like they failed as if nothing works. As a result, they have a fear of disappointing themselves and don’t dream big. They know very well what they don’t like about being overweight but don’t necessarily know what they want.
Thinking I don’t want this extra weight is like getting in a taxi and saying: “I don’t want to go to the airport.” Okay, where is it you do want to go? It’s helpful to give your mind clear directions on what you want to accomplish. Besides, when we focus on the negative side, it’s hard to get inspired and stay committed to making changes.
It’s essential to have a weight loss mindset, to connect with your values to create a vision that will keep you motivated and engaged. What kind of person do you want to be, and how can weight loss help you become that person? Get specific answering this question.
If you only go as deep as I want to look good or be healthy, that might be too abstract. Challenging times can quickly shift your priorities, and a need for comfort can replace those vague goals.
You want to create goals that are genuinely compelling and meaningful to you. Think of something related to but not weight itself. For example, I want to do my favorite yoga classes, or I want to feel confident to have my picture taken. I want my friends to compliment me on my looks, or I want to be comfortable traveling on an airplane long distance, I want to play with my kids on the playground.
A step-by-step plan of your weight loss program
After we figure out what’s in the way of you losing weight and your vision, it’s time to start taking steps that will eventually get you to your goals.
One of the most common mistakes that I see my clients make is that they try too hard to lose weight. They make such drastic changes to their life that it becomes way too complicated and overwhelming to sustain.
Instead, I propose to create a step-by-step plan to address food, environment, and mindset gradually. You get to decide where you want to start. Of course, I make suggestions and recommendations, but you are the decision-maker.
Ideally, you focus on one or two new steps or changes at a time. You try it out for about a week, and then we meet again to discuss what worked and what didn’t. When things don’t work out, it’s an opportunity to learn and to adjust the program. We keep building on the steps that work, adding new changes, and addressing any roadblocks that come up.
Weight loss is never a continuous reduction of numbers on the scale. Instead, it’s more of a jagged, uneven line. There are downs and sometimes ups, and almost always plateaus. Think of a plateau as an opportunity to practice weight maintenance. You want to plateau once you’ve achieved your ideal weight, right?
Practice makes progress
Changing habits requires energy. They are like a moving train; they have inertia. It’s effortless for us to continue habitual behavior. Because habits form neural pathways in our brains, the mind wants to go the same old way once triggered.
Instead of focusing on controlling and suppressing old habits, you work on building new ones. As a result, you create more choices for yourself. With time, new behaviors become habits that serve you better and replace old ones. Your willingness to practice, curiosity about the process, and kindness to yourself are the key ingredients of your progress.
The secret to weight loss success is consistency and flexibility. Consistency is not about perfection; it’s about regular practice. Repeating a behavior builds new neural pathways and, as a result, creates a new habit.
However, being a human, you don’t always make the best choices. When you are flexible, you can return to your weight loss program very quickly and without guilt. Flexibility also helps to keep an open mind about the program itself. If what you are doing isn’t working, it’s time to shift things around.
If you have struggled with weight loss for years, tried many diets, but the weight keeps coming back, it’s time to try something new.
Working with me will let you discover tasty food choices that benefit your health and promote weight loss. You’ll be able to also set up your environment in a way that makes it easier to stay true to your program. In addition, you’ll find alternative ways to address stress and emotions, so you don’t use food to comfort yourself. You will find a friendly way to coach yourself to make consistent progress. Practicing your new skills will develop new habits.
You have the inner wisdom to be successful, and I’m just an additional resource for you. I bring an outside perspective, knowledge of nutrition science and physiology. When you need cheering up or an accountability partner, I’m a friendly voice.
You will lose weight and will never say again: “I gained back all the weight I lost!”