The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry offering promises of fast weight loss in a record short amount of time. Most weight loss programs are wrapped in sexy images, titillating promises and an overall allure that is too difficult to pass up. For those that have struggled for so long with their weight, they are desperate to find that one thing that will work once and for all. The weight loss industry knows that, and they play off people’s desperation – unfortunately.
True weight loss experts know that the reality is not as sexy. It is enveloped in a more moderate approach with a required consistent focus – for reasons more important than a number on the scale. Today I came up with 5 steps to getting off that sick-cycle carousel once and for all.
Step One: Realize there is no magic bullet. Desperation does some crazy things to us, doesn’t it? I know you are sick of the extra weight or not fitting into the clothes you used to fit into – but chances are, it didn’t come on over night and any weight loss that will stay off will have to be slow and steady.
Step Two: Stop chasing down headlines. I got into nutrition and then into media because of my own wellness journey. For years, I read every magazine, every book, every article there was on nutrition. And as a result, I had a functional eating disorder. In my practice, I see too many people that are so emotional about their food decisions because of the mostly inaccurate information about food and nutrition that is published. Please be warned. Just because it is written, it is not necessarily true. If you cut foods or food groups out because of an article you read, think twice. Check the source. Your deletions can cause more harm if you are not careful.
Step Three: Find Freedom in the Moderate Nutrition Approach. I know, in this day and age we live off of extremes. We are either junk food junkies or we are “super clean eaters” or “100% organic” or “nothing processed.” Most people don't even know what these things mean for their health or health goals. But truly, I am here to tell you that the freedom is in the grey areas of nutrition. What I mean by that is making a goal to keep most of your food as whole as possible with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, lean meats/poultry/fish and low-fat dairy - but don’t make too many strict rules for yourself or your family. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and if there are too many rigid food rules you are imposing on you and your family, this can become a huge stressor in life. This ironically, does not help your health.
Step Four: Track more than body weight. Instead of focusing on body weight as your only health measurement, use many other parameters. Here at Lemond Nutrition, we actually like tracking body fat percentage and waist circumference more than body weight. They tell you more about health risk, and they allow you to track leanness and weight distribution changes. On any wellness journey, it is also important to track other great changes such as improvements in sleep, stress management, energy levels and productivity. The more positive changes you track, the more inclined you are to stay focused living well. It is so much more than the number on the scale!
Step Five: Get reliable support. Of course I am biased, but I think a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that has an expertise in weight management and wellness will lead you to weight cycling freedom once and for all. Find one in your area by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. I have seen many people come into our office looking for a quick fix, and I try to coach them through these steps in our first consultation. Some listen, and some are not ready to get off the cycle. Many come back after they are at their wits end. Do yourself a favor, make this year your year to stop fad dieting and get your health in order - for the right reasons – and for good.