The three most critical strategies for sustained weight loss
By Toni Knight, Clinical Hypnotherapist and weight loss expert.
Losing weight and keeping it off is really challenging. You and I both know that fad diets don’t work, and there is plenty of hard research to back it up. Not that we need the evidence. The weight loss only lasts while you diet – and who wants to live permanently in deprivation? Who can?
Diets are short-term and simplistic thinking, and don’t address the real reasons why you ate too much of the unhelpful stuff.
So what does it really take?
Yes, do eat a wide range of food that is as unprocessed as possible, and mostly vegetables. Keep ‘party food’ and ‘party drink’ for one day a week (or an actual party).
But the fundamental answer to maintaining a healthy weight for the long term is to adopt easy, sustainable and healthy habits. It really is that simple. Yet getting there isn’t that easy.
So to increase your chances of doing what works, I’m going ask you three very important questions. Your answers may tell you how well your current lifestyle can support sustained weight loss.
1. How focused are you? In a world of constant distraction, a clear focus is powerful. And your focus is under your control, even if it doesn’t feel that way. You can strengthen focus through practice.
But focus on what?
That depends. Often you will need to ‘zoom out’ to your big picture focus on the reasons why your healthy choices matter so much. Connect with your vision for your healthy future. Remind yourself of what is important.
And sometimes you will need to zoom your focus right in to the moment of choice right here and now. Listen out for your old justifications, rationalisations, and excuses.
Surely this small investment in mental energy is worth it?
2. How organised are you? There are two main parts to this one.
a. Your space Does your home and workspace contain a good supply of healthy delicious foods that mean you never go hungry? Have you removed the temptations?
And does your world include someone who can support you, encourage you, or be a role model to you? Ask your people for help and be specific. Thank them when they do help. And help them too.
b. Your time Have you set up rhythms to your day and week that allow you to live a healthy life? Based on your priorities, you can preserve times for adequate rest, exercise, and buying, preparing and eating good food. How much time are your prepared to invest in your wellness, both now and for the future?
3. You energised are you? Willpower matters in choosing well, but it is not a personality trait. Nor is it a moral issue (you are not being ‘good’ or ‘bad’). Willpower, the ability to choose in favour of your most important values and goals, is about energy management.
Put simply, you are in danger of making poor choices if you are tired. Regardless of what you know you ‘should’ do.
Managing your energy is about creating the conditions for good physical and mental health. That means reducing stress, anxiety, and sadness, and playing, connecting and resting.
Finally… Sustained weight loss requires an ongoing commitment to health in all aspects of your life. It is a big challenge, and explains why so few people seem to manage it. But it is possible. You don’t need perfection. Just a commitment to make small but important changes to how you do life.