Anyone who has maintained a significant weight loss for years gets asked variations of this question frequently: “What diet do you recommend? ”
This month's podcast is a riff on my most recent answer to a friend who asked.
Here's basically 10+ years of advice in three words: Keep It Simple.
All I know is losing weight can happen with a variety of national as well as speciality programs, WW, Paleo, Keto, Noom, online programs, meeting programs, but keeping the weight off is the real challenge.
We get tired of whatever program helped us lose the initial weight and fatigue sets in when contemplating learning a whole different program. You don't want to spend lots of time figuring out new programs? Oh, I totally get that. So, here’s my Lucy5 cents.
Begin by adding a couple of behaviors to your daily routines.
- Weigh yourself every day. Non negotiable. Every day whether you want to or not and write it down. Leave a notebook in the same room as the scale. “Awareness” is the initial goal not necessarily whether you have gained or lost. Find out where you are at from one week to the next. Take the pressure off to “lose” weight. Just find out what your body does week to week.
I suspect if you are asking this question, you already know what “foods” to avoid as much as possible and what foods to increase. In fact, most folks who have dieted on a regular basis can give seminars on the topic.
- 2. So, I would pick one “truth” about yourself with respect to food and implement that. Sometimes, people implement diet regimes that eliminate entire food groups, like grains or sugars. I've certainly done that periodically. But, if you don’t want to give something totally up, just have one serving of it per day.
If sugar, just one drink. Or one cookie. If bread, just bread at breakfast, or lunch, or snack. Balance is the thing that has long term effects but it is hard to do with trigger foods so I have found allowing them in on daily basis is good psychologically but on a limited basis so you can achieve your goals.
A “small” example: I occasionally buy a small snack bag of Cheez-Its- not a whole box. I don’t mean buy a big box of snack portions, either! One snack bag in the house at a time! Eliminating them entirely only has a certain shelf life in terms of livability for most of us but I have found allowing them but in limited size works for me. Sometimes, in the winter, I put trigger foods in garage and since I have to suit up with boots and coat to get them, I don’t go most of the time!! It’s called “Hiding the Marshmallows!” Out of access and sight makes for healthier choices.
So, my best counsel is if you are dreading the whole challenge of losing weight, don’t approach it as a whole new system, just add some simple tweaks of behavior to your daily behaviors. In the long run, my will power runs out of gas but habits of behavior can prop me up.
3. And, most importantly, add a little kindness to yourself as you begin.
Wanting to lose weight is generally embarked on because of some negativity, judgment, and finger pointing and exhaustion at the mere thought of “having” to do it. None of that negative stuff helps you in the long run. Do you always invite “Debbie Downer” to your parties? No, you don’t. So, don’t indulge in the teeth grinding thoughts of the challenge.
A little compassion and kindness to yourself as you hide the marshmallows is all you need.
And, a sense of humor won't hurt.