We’re all so accustomed to diets. How many have you been on? Growing up, I recall women going on celery and carrot or grapefruit diets. And I’ll never forget a college roommate going on a “self-prescribed” liquid diet (any and all liquids including alcohol! No food!). Then, in my 20’s and 30’s, as a result of my own crazy diets (such as eating two times per day, anything and everything), I began gaining weight and feeling very lethargic and unhealthy. This was the catalyst for my wanting to understand nutrition, weight loss and health so that I could actually get control of it all.
Fast forward, after several certifications and coursework, I dove into the field of wellness. However, it was not until about 8 years ago when I myself became a client of a new comprehensive health program, Optavia Program (then known as Take Shape for Life), that I actually learned the “recipe for success” and have maintained my health and weight status over the years: no medications and am at my high school weight. Coaching others has made me very accountable to myself and I continue to learn more all the time. I developed new habits. It finally stuck!
I share this because 50 million Americans will embark, yet again, on another diet in January. And those ranks are growing: from 1999 to 2016, the proportion of people who reported they’d tried to lose weight in the previous year climbed from 34.3% to 42.2%. Even with all this dieting going on, nearly 40% of American adults are now considered “obese” (BMI of 30 or higher). Why? Most dieters will quit after 4 to 5 weeks. The weight comes back and the yo-yoing begins.
So, what is the secret to getting the weight off with long-term success? Research, and our own experience, now demonstrate there are several key ingredients. It’s not just “one thing.” And, just like a recipe, all the ingredients are important to get the desired result. Here they are:
- Coaching, support, accountability. “Going it alone” almost always results in failure. We just do the same thing over and over again and quit when the usual obstacle arises (that was my pattern, too). Here’s an analogy: think about golfers, tennis players, other athletes. They typically work with a coach or pro in order to improve swings, drives and overall performance. Same with people hiring personal trainers. Coaching, accountability and learning new techniques – so important.
- Avoiding fad / unhealthy diets. There are so many unhealthy ways to lose weight. Not only are they unsustainable, but they aren’t good for us! Think about the old “no fat / all carb” diet, fasting, keto, liquid diets, etc.
- The establishment of new lifestyle habits. It’s ALL about habits. Habits create results. The habits that influence weight and health include sleep, how we manage stress, hydration, movement, dietary routine. It’s not “just one thing” or one ingredient. And, it’s not for just one or two months. Habits take a little time to establish.
- Overcoming obstacles and challenges. As they say, the obstacle is the way. Most people stop when an obstacle presents itself. But, it’s the dealing with it head on and learning to move past it that’s a key to growth and success.
- Community. This is huge. We are most influenced by the 5 people closest to us. If those 5 have unhealthy lifestyles, we tend to have similar unhealthy lifestyles and habits. Surrounding yourself with positive, health-minded individuals who support YOU and your goals are critical. Check to see which ingredients you are using or might be missing. Contact me if you’d like to learn more!