What if I told you that if you’re either yo-yoing with your weight, or if you’ve plateaued on your weight loss journey, that you SHOULDN’T go back to a diet that ‘worked’ for you in the past?
It’s a cool, misty day here on Long Island, and I write this to you from my parents’ home. Every Tuesday and Friday, I visit my hometown of Port Washington, and work with my grandmother on rehab from hip replacement surgery last summer, and my dad on improving his strength, tone and overall cardiovascular health. After I’m done here, I have a client in the afternoon, before heading to the Mets game tonight. I’ll write about how to prepare for a day or night at the ballpark in a later email 🙂
Now then, back to not going back…
One of the things I’ve done in recent weeks is join a number of the largest weight loss support groups on Facebook. I’m doing this to give back, and to see what people all across the spectrum struggle with on a daily basis. When a newbie comes into one of these groups, they’ll often explain their decision to start anew, and how they’re going to GO BACK to something that ‘helped’ them in the past (Notice that I keep putting the words ‘help’ and ‘helped’ in quotations).
For some, this was Weight Watchers. For others, this was calorie counting through the help of the MyFitnessPal app. For others, it’s some crazy diet that got them to lose a lot of weight really fast, but wasn’t sustainable, so they had to give it up when they got to a certain point.
And THAT is the most important piece of this all: SUSTAINABILITY! You can’t possibly lose weight and KEEP IT OFF unless you have a means of sustainability in both your lifestyle and your nutrition.
I want you to ask yourself a series of serious questions: Who wants to yo-yo with their weight? Or plateau? Who wants to starve themselves, work out hard, get to where they want to be (or somewhere around there), only to revert back to bad habits and put all that weight back on?
The yo-yoing that our culture preaches of slimming down during the spring and summer to get ‘beach bodies,’ and then ‘bulking up’ in the winter makes me very, very angry…
This get lean/bulk up body schedule may be intrinsically linked to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who lived in climates that didn’t produce much wildlife or vegetation in the winter months. So, once the seasons began to change, our ancestors had to store food as best as they could, and fatten up in order to make it through the extended periods of drought, famine or starvation that winter would often bring with it.
Let’s come back to reality: If you’re reading this, there’s more than likely a surplus of food in ABUNDANCE, both by where you live and where you work! Just speaking from my personal environment, there’s a gas station/convenience store across the street from my apartment on one side, a grocery store across the street on the other, and a bunch of fast food establishments within walking distance in either direction. You may not have that kind of convenience, but I’m sure you never have to want for food.
Many grocery chains now deliver to your home: Amazon has Amazon Fresh, and food delivery services like Blue Apron and Sun Basket are becoming more and more prevalent. Plus, for the lazy ones among us, we can always order pizza or Chinese takeout… I DON’T RECOMMEND DOING THAT LAST PART – Just making a point 🙂
So with this abundance under consideration, we don’t need to cut up and bulk during different times of the year. It’s never been easier to stay lean year-round, so that if you decide to go on that last minute beach vacation, you don’t have to starve yourself for a week just to feel better about being in public in a swimsuit!
If you’ve ever tried calorie counting or Weight Watchers in the past, let me ask you something: Why did you stop?
I want you to think long and hard about it…
Being that I’ve been helping people lose weight and KEEP IT OFF for nearly 10 years, I’ll help fill in the blanks from the two recurring answers I keep hearing about folks who have done those types of diets, but didn’t stuck to them:
Answer 1: ‘It’s not something I can do for the rest of my life…’
And why would you? How annoying is it to pull out your smartphone and log what you eat, 24/7/365? It’s not something you want to do forever, and yet if you’re calorie counting, it’s just that!
I hate to say it, but here goes: Calorie counting is a dietary strategy that leaves you with a cop out. You have one foot out the door the whole time you’re doing it. I say this because you can eat whatever you want, provided you stay within your daily calorie limit.
I remember when I calorie counted: I’d eat pizza, ice cream and a bunch of garbage every single day. Often, it was low-fat and low-calorie, but the amount of sugar and processed garbage in there definitely contributed to my two year plateau and a nasty change in my body composition. Can you say extra skin and stretch marks, anyone?
FYI, the same holds true with counting points. I have a new client who’s told me all about the Weight Watchers program, and it’s essentially the same thing… If you can’t stick with it for the rest of your life, then there’s a reason for that! RUN!!!
Answer 2: ‘I saw some early success, but then plateaued, got discouraged, and I quit…’
This happens to SO MANY PEOPLE! Why, you may ask?
Well, to sum things up, our bodies can’t be deprived of calories, nutrients, etc. for an extended period of time. When we restrict either the amount of food, in general, or the amount of different macronutrients (Weight Watchers is notorious for demonizing dietary fat), then we’re altering our body chemistry, and are at risk for entering a starvation mode.
Unlike when our bodies are operating efficiently, during starvation mode, EVERYTHING we eat – Good, bad, or indifferent, is stored AS FAT! You can’t blame genetics or a bad metabolism for this – This is a self-inflicted (done unknowingly, but self-inflicted, nonetheless…) halting of your weight loss efforts thanks to all this. So, what can you do?
Eat a diet that’s SUSTAINABLE, meaning you DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE it from when you’re trying to lose weight from when you’re trying to maintain. How do we go about that? Simple!
Eat meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no (added) sugar. Eat ONLY when hungry, and just to satisfy – NOT to stuff your face.
Two sentences. Memorize them, lose weight FOR GOOD, and NEVER go hungry again!
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It: If you’re just starting your weight loss journey, do NOT go back to whatever you did in the past. There’s a reason it didn’t work, and I think I’ve laid out a pretty clear case as to why that is. Use the two sentences 😉
Enjoy your weekend!
P.S. If you feel you need more help on the nutritional side, then you’re definitely going to want to check out my FREE, healthy, gluten-free bread recipe!
While the gluten-free craze has created a lot of different bread, pasta and rice variations, these are often just as unhealthy, if not MORE unhealthy than their grain-based counterparts.
To get your FREE recipe, please go to www.weightlossbypete.com/glutenfreebreadrecipe.