Weight loss is hard. And sometimes, we can be our OWN biggest enemy when it comes to successfully losing weight and maintaining healthy weight loss.
Ellipse Health Dietitian, Niki Mohtat, shares some useful tips about shifting your mindset when it comes to losing weight so that YOU can be more successful in reaching your health goals.
1. It’s all trial and error
Unfortunately there is no one size fits all when it comes to weight loss. You need to find what works for you and your lifestyle and stick to it. This process can be time consuming and at times disheartening when it doesn’t work straight away, however, in the long term you will thank yourself.
2. Work with a health professional who is on your side
These days we are inundated with information about what is good and not good for us, however, knowledge does not lead to change. Why is it that we still eat food that we know are not good for us? Is it related to a hormonal imbalance? Is it stress related? Or maybe you haven’t been eating the right foods for your body. Discovering why you make unhealthy food choices despite all the knowledge you have can be the tool that allows you to make life-long changes.
3. Keep it simple
There seems to be a new fad diet popping up every week and it is hard to keep up! If you are someone who has tried every diet in the world and still can’t lose weight…it's time to stop. This is all to do with clever marketing and most don’t have hard evidence to back them up. The best way to find out the best diet for you including the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is to work with a health professional who understands your unique circumstance.
4. Don’t just focus on the number on the scale
This one's easier said than done. Yes, weight is one great way to track progress; however, there are many factors that can affect the number you see on the scale. Hydration is one big factor that will impact your weight. You can lose 2 kg just by dehydrating yourself of electrolytes and fluid, but does that mean you are healthier? Of course not! Try to avoid weighing yourself more than once a fortnight and when you do, make sure you weigh yourself at the same time (ideally, first thing in the morning).
Keep in mind that plateaus in weight loss are very common, especially once you have lost 5-10% of your body weight. This is just your body’s way of adjusting to make sure your stored energy doesn't just melt off overnight! Remember, we store fat for survival - to get us through times of stress and famine. Weight loss is therefore a stressful experiencing for your body. We need to welcome the plateaus and give our body some much-needed breaks from constantly chewing into its stored energy.
It is paramount to remind yourself on a regular basis that you are doing a great job, even if your weight plateaus. Continue to be consistent with your healthy lifestyle changes and eventually, your body will realise it is a safe environment to continue tapping into stored energy.
Think about some non-scale victories too! Another great way to track your health progress, is to speak to someone who can read and explain important blood markers to you and help you track whether those markers are ‘trending’ the right way. Using multiple objective measures in your health journey can be extremely motivating and self-empowering.
5. Get to the bottom of WHY you want to lose weight
Most people say their goal is to lose X amount of weight, but 90% of the time when I dig deeper, I find that it isn’t actually about the weight itself, it’s about what that represents from a quality of life perspective. Do you want to lose weight so that you can run around after your kids without feeling exhausted? Do you want to regain your self-confidence? Are you trying to reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes? Whatever it may be for you, it is crucial to get to the bottom of why you want to lose weight, BEFORE you start your weight loss journey. Knowing your why and keeping it at the forefront of your mind will help you to stay focused and ultimately, lead to life-long changes.
6. Stop blaming yourself
There can be a lot of judgement towards people who are overweight or obese, with many individuals (often those who have never had a weight problem) thinking it is simply a willpower issue - “why can’t they just eat less?”. This judgement causes individuals who are challenged by weight management to blame themselves for where they are. But it's time for the blame to stop, because obesity has got NOTHING to do with willpower and EVERYTHING to do with the environment we live in.
For many people, the modern environment is setting you up for failure - just walk down any supermarket aisle and you'll see one addictive substance after the next. Food manufacturers are enticing you to eat more everywhere you go - through tv and radio advertisements, books, magazines and food packaging.
Weight management is not an issue of willpower. Weight management is about understanding the complex metabolic changes that occur inside the body from living in an environment that is inconsistent with our physiologies. It is then a lot more clear as to why it is SO difficult for individuals to lose weight.
Chronic stress and poor sleep, for example, leads to an increase in hunger hormones in combination with a decrease in appetite-suppressing hormones. Hormonal and metabolic dysfunction needs to be addressed, with professional guidance, before sustainable weight loss can occur.
Successful weight loss should be seen as a bi-product of regaining control of your health. Get support to find out HOW you need to eat to support your physiology, be consistent, and enjoy the process.