Keto, paleo, counting macros, low-carb, Mediterranean, and more, oh my!
There are a plethora of dieting options for anyone looking to lose weight. The question is, which one is right for you? Each one claims that their plan is better than the next plan. And all are right for some people, but is their plan the best for you?
There are pills, shakes, and patches.
There are many workout plan options, more cardio, less weight, Hiit, less cardio more weight, focus on NEAT activity, and on and on.
Ask anyone, and they will probably say theirs is the right way.
Two decades ago, I started losing weight. However, my weight loss journey started well before this. I would have told you I “tried everything” before I actually started losing weight. Once I decided and figured out what worked for me, I managed to drop 160 pounds over the course of a couple of years (with a small break in between to have my son). I have kept the bulk of it off in the twenty years since, gaining and re-losing only 20-30 pounds three or four times. I can tell you each time I gain the 20 back; it is directly tied to my food plan. When I leave those things out and focus on health, not weight loss, the pounds easily stay off.
Watching social media and more recently joining the world of Tiktok, it is no wonder why people can get confused about what actually works. There are compelling videos with results about what has work for THAT PERSON! People are sharing their perspectives on any number of topics.
Who do you listen to?
I am not here today to tell you what the right answer is because the fact is, I personally do not believe there is a right answer that works for everyone. We all burn calories at a different rate based on our muscle mass, activity level, work out plans, and how we eat. Even sleep can impact weight loss. Ultimately, I believe that weight loss comes down to calories in versus calories out to a large extent. I also know that seemingly healthy foods can cause me to gain weight gain even when calories are managed from my own experiences. Those same foods may not have an impact on another person. Allergies or food sensitivity may also play a role. More information on those can be found here.
I am here today to suggest that you learn your body and how your body responds to different plans. Choose something, then give it time to work and get your mindset on the right track! There is no healthy fast way to lose weight.
Deciding to lose weight the right way can help you maintain it long term.
So, what do you do? And how do you determine what will work for you?
My first recommendation is to take the time to start documenting what you are doing and how your body responds to what you do. Things to note are:
When and where you ate (example 9 am in the car)
Were you doing anything when you ate (for example, watching TV)
What was your overall mood when you were eating (Happy, sad, angry, excited, etc.)?
How hungry were you when you ate? (example, not that hungry, but it was lunchtime)
What did and how much did you eat (for example, 2 eggs and 2 slices of ham)
How did you feel after you ate? (Example-full, still hungry, craving sugar, etc.)
Were there any notable emotions after you ate?
Were there any notable physical signs after you ate? (example-bloated, discomfort, etc.)
At the end of each week, look back to your journal. Are there notable patterns that you see? (Example, each time you eat a certain food, you feel bloated) if you see patterns determine what you can adjust.
Next, I would recommend reading up on different types of food plans. Ask yourself the question, “can I see this as a long term healthy living plan for me?” (If not, it will be hard to stick to it). Also, take a self-reflection to things you have tried in the past. Did you give it time to see the results, or was it the wrong plan for you?
Now let’s talk about mindset. I believe mindset is the most important thing to weight loss and healthy, sustainable living.
First things first, if you struggle with an eating disorder, consider getting help from a licensed practitioner. There are medical-related reasons that may make it harder for some people to lose weight. Consider getting a food sensitivity test or asking your practitioner to do a blood panel to determine if you have something out of balance.
You DO NOT need to do it alone.
Next, try answering the questions:
Do you believe you can lose weight? If you do not believe in your ability to lose weight, it will create barriers. For me, in this area, I use several strategies to help build confidence. They include looking back to success in the past, journaling what I want, and visualization work, to name a few.
What do you believe are the barriers that hold you back? Once you have defined them, brainstorm all of the ways you can break those barriers down.
What triggers you to eat unhealthy foods? After you have defined them, started laying out what you can do to eliminate or minimize the triggers.
The plan that has always shown me sustainable results involves mindset, mainly lean proteins, vegetables, and some fats with the occasional low glycemic fruit and only very occasional nuts or nut butter. I have found fruits and nuts to lead to weight gain for me, generally speaking. They also often cause me massive sugar cravings.
Get in touch with you and your body to start getting to the plan that works best for you!
Stay well, friends!