It’s easy to be tempted by products and services that offer fast weight loss results. If you want to lose weight, or achieve any health and fitness goal, of course, you want to see results as quickly as possible. Whilst there are certainly endless options that will deliver fast results, what will the consequences be?
Gradually, more people are adopting a sensible, whole-life approach to weight loss. Although diets are likely to produce results in the short term, there are several reasons to consider whether they’re really worth it.
The problems with dieting and weight loss
It’s common to hear someone say “XYZ diet really worked for me”. Whilst there’s no denying that diets can produce weight loss results, do they really “work” for long term results? Many diets are very restrictive and can offer initial weight loss results. However, there are several problems with this approach:
- The focus is on short term results. Because the dietary intake is so restrictive, it cannot be maintained in the long term. Therefore, it’s common for the weight to be regained when the person goes back to their regular eating habits, especially if there is no follow-on maintenance plan in place.
- Frustrations from regaining weight can lead a person to take another drastic step to try and get back on track. This creates a yo-yo effect of weight gain and weight loss and overall, the person’s weight loss journey is unlikely to be enjoyable.
- Diets can lead to a person developing an unhealthy relationship with food. They might view certain foods as “bad”, become obsessed about food, and feel guilty after eating certain foods.
- The restrictive nature of diets might mean that essential macronutrients and micronutrients are being neglected. Without an optimal intake of nutrients, many other lifestyle areas can become affected. These include exercise performance, energy levels and mood.
How to adopt a long term approach for sustainable weight loss
The good news is that weight loss doesn’t need to be complicated. Small changes that lead way to healthier habits will help pave the way to a sustainable weight loss journey. Here are some top tips to help you prepare to achieve weight loss results that you can maintain in the long term:
- Identify the main reasons that you think you’ve gained weight and what you’re going to work on improving first
- Write down the reasons why it’s important for you to lose weight. Make sure your reasons have an emotional component and are written in positive language. They should also have a connection to a long-term vision for a healthier lifestyle
- Adopt a sustainable weight loss mindset. Practice positive self-talk and use affirmations that resonate with you. Commend yourself on the positive steps you’re taking to improve your health
- Decide on any support you will need from others to help you take the next positive step on your weight loss journey
- Determine what actions you will take, in order to change your habits. Reflect on the things that are currently working for you, and the things you are going to change
Components of a whole-life approach to weight loss
A whole-life approach to weight loss involves more than just exercise and nutrition. Those areas are certainly important components of the methodology, but if you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle with them sometimes, you may want to focus on making simple changes in other areas first. As a result, you might even find that exercise and nutrition become easier for you!
Here are basic explanations of some of the different lifestyle areas that can affect your weight loss results, and why. Decide on the one you need to focus on first, and create your own action points for a sustainable weight loss plan.
Sufficient quality sleep is an important focus for weight loss results. Leptin and ghrelin are important appetite-regulating hormones that get thrown out of balance when you’re not sleeping well. As a result, you’ll be driven to eat more food overall and be more likely to make poor food choices. Your motivation to exercise and prepare food could also be impacted.
Chronic high-stress levels can adversely affect your weight loss results. This is partly hormonal level as cortisol levels increase and promote fat storage. (This is especially so when it comes to belly fat). But again, unhealthy food choices are a common stress response – think fat bar of chocolate after a hard day of work/parenting. Managing stress goes a long way to better choices, and better hormonal equilibrium.
Most people know this one – exercise and movement burns calories, simple. Be sure to ensure exercise plans and programs are individualised. The best plan is one you enjoy and follow consistently enough to get the long term weight loss results you are striving for. Individualised programs also take into consideration your unique circumstances, exercise background, exercise preferences and lifestyle. A weight loss-focused exercise plan should include specific exercises to help with fat burning, that get your heart rate up, work a variety of muscles and feel like a challenge.
4. Healthy eating
When it comes to weight loss, two things are important – quality and quantity. That is, eat well and eat less! A good place to start is to eat a wide variety of nourishing foods that are right for your body. This way, you’ll feel better and you’ll probably be consuming fewer calories. Different approaches and food combinations work for different people, but ultimately it’s helpful to adopt an approach that doesn’t make you feel deprived. Think about what good foods you could add rather than bad foods you should restrict, and you’ll be well on your way to eating better and feeling more energised.
The easiest thing to do, yet often the most challenging habit to build. Drinking loads of water has multiple benefits that directly influence weight loss. Firstly, quite often thirst is mistaken for hunger – so you raid the cupboard for snacks when all you really need is a big glass of water. Hydration also affects mood, and as we’ve seen, mood affects food choices. Start your day with a few big gulps of water, and try and sip throughout the day. You might be surprised how much difference it makes to your weight loss goals.
What is the next positive action step you will take to adopt more of a whole-life approach to weight loss? Share your thoughts by commenting below!