What does it take to successfully lose weight? It should be as simple as consuming less calories than you burn on a day to day basis. The problem we face is that it is not that simple. There are many factors that can get in the way of healthy weight loss. Why have I highlighted healthy? The reason I highlight the word healthy is down to the sad truth that many of the fad diets and weight loss programs in the public domain are simply not healthy for you physically or mentally on a long-term basis. If your goal is to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, then these methods are effective, but they are not so effective on a long-term basis. They do not keep the weight off long-term and you are more likely to regain the weight back again or even worse gain more weight. Statistics show that 80% of people who have successfully lost up to 10% of their weight will gain it back over time.

Why is this?

They lower your metabolism

Physically these diets restrict your body of too many calories which results in muscle loss and lowering your metabolic rate. The goal of any effective weight loss program should be to increase your metabolism. By lowering your metabolism, you will most likely gain back weight once you resume your normal eating habits.

Can cause fatigue and lower immunity

Restricting yourself of too many calories or certain nutrients can result in low energy, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. Leaving you susceptible to poor performance and an increased risk of developing illness or disease.

You should avoid any diets that aim to dramatically reduce calories or completely remove food groups e.g. carbohydrates.

Weakened bones and hormonal problems

Another side affect of calorie restriction can be weakened bones. This is particularly the case in older adults who are already at an increased risk of weaker bones. By restricting your calories too much there will be a drop in testosterone and estrogen levels, resulting in weaker bones also problems in the body’s hormonal balance.

There are many complications that can arise from following fad weight loss diets and programs. For anyone that has tried them I am sure this resonates with you. You can find yourself in a cycle of yoyo dieting. Constantly starting, stopping, and restarting.

So, what should you do?

For a successful weight loss change you need to be ready. You are going to have to work on making permanent changes to your current lifestyle and habits. Yes, you will have to reduce calorie intake and start to incorporate exercise into your life, but not to the extreme. Finding a balance that works for you as an individual is vital. These changes need to be something that you can sustain for the rest of your life. This is my focus with anyone I work with. Making change sustainable and unique to the individual. There is no point in forcing someone to go to the gym and lift weights if they dislike going to the gym. Just like there is no point in getting someone who hates running to suddenly start banging out 5-10km runs. By finding what works for you, you are much more likely to succeed. Asking yourself some real questions about what you want to achieve and more importantly why?

Here are my strategies for successful weight loss

  1. Be ready to change.

    You are much more likely to succeed by being ready. Knowing what you want and understanding the steps you must take. Weighing up the pros and cons and setting SMART goals can be an effective way of getting started. Take a look at my article on behaviour change to have a greater understanding on this https://flowwellnessgroup.com/the-6-stages-of-behaviour-change/.

  2. Build a conducive environment.

    When I talk about environment, I am referring to your physical environment and your social environment. Do you think it is going to help for you to have a cupboard full of crisps and biscuits? Is going out every week drinking with friends helping? Build your environment to help with your goals. I am saying to ditch the tempting foods and drinks you have in house. I am not saying to ditch your friends and family. Get your friends and family onboard to support you. Let them know you seriously want to make a change and their help is crucial to ensure you can stay on track and motivated.

  1. Get the help of a professional.

    Having the guidance and support of a professional can really help you to get moving in the right direction and to ensure you keeping heading in that direction. More importantly to ensure that once you reach your initial goals you do not go back to your old ways. If it is good enough for the rich and famous, it should be good enough for you. Here at FLOW we have a tremendous team of physical and mental health experts who know exactly how to tailor programs specifically to your needs and goals.

  1. Do not go to extremes and enjoy the journey.

    This is quite possible the most important factor in determining your success and making it sustainable. If you are not enjoying the changes you are making, then how can you possible sustain them? Look for ways to incorporate activities you enjoy into your weekly routine. Exercise for example does not need to be extreme or throwing weights around in the gym. In fact, you don’t even have to step inside a gym unless you really want to. Everything you need to right with you. I would always advocate trying things and finding what it is you enjoy doing. When it comes to nutrition it is vital that you enjoy your food. You don’t have to go to the extreme of removing the things you enjoy. Instead, look for ways to have a balance. Aim for a small calorie deficit of 500kcals per day and consume a balanced healthy whole foods diet. Drink plenty of fluids and give yourself treats from time to time.

  2. Track your progress and re-evaluate.

    Keeping track of your progress or lack of progress will help in your journey. Seeing your progress is a great motivator and recognising lack of progress can help you to make changes. Setting small achievable goals is something I am personally a big advocate of. Once you reach them you evaluate and set further goals to keep you moving forward.

Let me finish by pointing out that weight loss or any sort of change you want to make is never going to be straightforward. It takes time and there will be times where you falter, but you are going to be closer to your goals by taking two steps forward and one step back, instead of no steps at all. I am a big believer in trying. If you never try you have already failed. Whereas if you try then you have a chance to succeed.

Do not look for shortcuts when it comes to weight loss as you will most likely end up right back where you started. If you need any help get in touch, and if you like our content please follow us on social media. Our links are on the website.

 

In Health and Wellbeing
Coach Andrew

 

References
https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20161014/how-your-appetite-can-sabotage-weight-loss#1
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/calorie-restriction-risks#section3
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2001.113
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047752
Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay