Losing Weight; The Struggle is Real
It is the battle many of us fight with ourselves everyday and many of us lose that battle most days…then we feel like a failure, beat ourselves up and eat cake to feel better. When will it end?!?!
I get asked all the time by all sorts of people how they should lose weight and the secret is…THERE IS NO SECRET! And the answer isn’t drinking vinegar as I read on Instagram the other day (whatever next?).
The truth is that most people know what they should and shouldn’t be eating to lose weight…
It is the gap between knowledge and action that is problematic.
In order to bridge this gap you need to ask yourself what is stopping you. It may be that it isn’t the right time for you to tackle your weight because you have other, more pressing health concerns; you have small children at home or you are having a particularly difficult time in your life. If this is the case, the chances are that you are not going to be able to prioritise weight loss at this time so you might as well stop beating yourself up about it!
If however, you have got to the point where weight loss is essential to you, then you need to spend some time focusing on why this is and use this to motivate yourself. You also need to identify the barriers that are likely to prevent you from being successful. A personal example of this is that when I am overtired alllll I want to do is eat mountains of carbs (preferably sugar coated and/or fried) and watch TV, I call this ‘the danger zone’. So if I want to lose a few pounds I prioritise getting a good nights sleep every night to help me to stay in control.
In a clinic setting I guide my clients through this using motivational interviewing techniques. **shameless plug for my clinics **.
Did you know that eating your favourite food stimulates the ‘happy hormones’ in your brain in the same way as heroin does? Interesting isn’t it?! That means that we often use the foods we like but know are bad for us to give us a little kick when we are bored; tired; sad; lonely or feel low. There are lots of other things you can do that also give you a happy hormone boost (apart from heroin!!), these include: listening to your favourite music; DANCING to your favourite music; chatting with friends; exercise; sex and pampering yourself. Try writing a list of things that make you feel good so that when you feel you are in ‘the danger zone’ you can find something else to pick you up.
After you have thought about the above and ONLY after you have thought about it and planned for your ‘danger zones’ can you think about what dietary changes might work for you.
Remember, everyone is different so I can’t recommend one diet to everyone (although online weight loss coaches will happily post you a generic diet plan for a fee).
The evidence these days shows that a lower carbohydrate approach is just as effective as a low fat approach. That said, the long term implications of a lower carbohydrate eating pattern are still being debated by the scientists.
Your genes probably play a role in whether you get on better with a low fat or a lower carbohydrate eating plan but if you have spent all your dieting years up to this point battling away on a low fat diet, you may well find switching to a lower carbohydrate, rather than a low fat diet works for you.
If you find that you are someone who feels that once they start eating they can’t stop and you feel that eating breakfast makes you hungrier, then a lower carbohydrate diet might be right for you.
If you are someone who is starving at breakfast time and constantly hungry regardless, then chances are, sticking to a traditional low fat diet will be your best bet to help to control how much energy you are taking in.
In a clinic setting I help clients to consider all the options and find what is right for them. I will then look with them at their diet and lifestyle, help them to plan for the changes they will need to make to their diet and provide meal and snack ideas ** another shameless plug**. Clearly this can’t be achieved in a blog post because it is so individual.
Overall, not enough attention is paid to the psychology of eating. Anyone can read a leaflet and understand healthy eating…but it isn’t as simple as that. You can spend time considering your own motivations and barriers to change, think about your danger zones and plan a diet that fits in with your life but just saying to yourself ‘I am going to lose weight starting from Monday’ does’t work.
Neither does buying a diet book, joining a gym or filling the fridge with vegetables…you have to dig deeper.
For more information on my clinics please visit sophiedietitian.com
**final shameless plug**.