There are more diets out there than ever, yet in the United States over 2/3 of the population is overweight.
Every day we are bombarded with ads for weight loss pills, wraps, shakes, workouts, and different diet plans. You couldn't avoid it if you wanted to.
Yet the percentage of people who lose weight and keep it off for 5 years or more stands around 8%.
Think about that. Even if you somehow manage to lose weight in the first place (which is hard enough on its own) you've got a 92 percent chance of gaining all that weight back in the next 5 years.
That number is staggering.
If you've ever tried a diet and stuck to it, or you're one of the lucky ones who have actually succeeded in losing weight, you know it's REALLY HARD! The diets that we hear about that seem to work are the more extreme, harder to follow diets. Keto, low carb, paleo, super clean eating, low calorie, even HCG.
These are just a few of the more common diets most of my clients have tried by the time they get to me and they have one thing in common.
They're hard as F*#@ to stick to.
Yes they will absolutely trigger your body to lose weight, but they also just might trigger you to go insane as well.
In society today we have many many flaws in how we go about weight loss, but I'm just going to point out two.
- We are INFINITELY impatient.
We live in the "Amazon Prime - I want it now" world where people who have spent a decade gaining weight and bad habits want to undo all that in 30 days.
- We like to pick the hardest, most complex solutions to a problem because somewhere along the way we decided "harder and more complex was better."
So we pick SUPER HARD diets in the hopes of losing weight quickly and being done with it. And of course that doesn't work because we end up miserable and burned out because we have spent the last decade eating fast food and getting no exercise.
So of course we aren't going to be able to cut out carbs and hit the gym 5 times a week.
It's a recipe for burnout.
And here is the cold hard truth.....
For most people, the majority diets make their lives WORSE.
It's a net negative. Yes with any diet there will be some benefits like weight loss, better energy, maybe better sleep, and potentially better health.
BUT the popular diet options also leave us feeling restricted, burned out, like a failure for being unable to stick to it, and just generally like it's running our life.
We are ultimately trying to get a result we want DOING SOMETHING WE HATE.
Cutting out carbs doesn't make your life better, neither does never having the occasional treat or alcoholic beverage with your friends.
Certainly being obsessed with food doesn't make your life better, it makes you stressed out.
So why do we continue to choose methods of weight loss that make our lives worse, in the pursuit of a better life?
"You'll never get a body you love by doing things you hate" - a mentor of mine Dax Moy.
The way we are going about dieting and weight loss is like doing hours of gardening when you hate it.
Personally I don't enjoy gardening at all.
But imagine I really wanted some pretty flowers for my house.
So I planted them in my garden. And every day despite hating gardening, I spent hours outside planting, watering, fertilizing, trimming and whatever else one does with flowers.
All the while having that take up valuable time I needed and wanted to spend on something else.
Why would I continue to do that? It would be making my life much worse because it would be doing something I hate, while taking away from things that I love doing.
So why are we still trying to shoehorn diets that are miserable and hard to stick to into our lives?
What if we looked at weight loss from a different angle?
What if we said "what can I do to lose weight that will make my life easier, not harder?"
You see, foods are not good and bad. They don't have morals and cutting certain ones out won't guarantee you weight loss.
Instead what if we looked at different ways to take better care of yourself that will ultimately end in weight loss.
Practicing self care is the answer we have all been looking for. Changing your relationship to YOURSELF.
The moderate approach wins. The one that doesn't disrupt your whole life, or leave you hangry and stressed all the time.
Easy weight loss.
The thing that I have found to be wildly successful is keeping an eye on your overall food intake, NOT having any foods off limits (unless you can't eat it in moderation, like brownies for me), enjoy delicious foods that make you happy, look for some healthy options that YOU ENJOY and repair our relationship with food.
If you let yourself eat foods you enjoy EVERY DAY you won't feel the need to over eat them when they are in front of you. You can say to yourself "I can have more tomorrow."
Because you can. And still lose weight.
That's easy weight loss.
In fact I've noticed the people who lose weight and keep it off (including myself) are usually the people who eat in moderation and allow themselves to eat things they enjoy. They are just smart about it, and don't let themselves over indulge all the time.
Think about anyone you've ever know who goes on a "hard-core" diet and loses weight. What usually happens? Usually they are in the 92 percent who gain the weight back....and then some.
And before you say "I'm not disciplined enough to eat foods I enjoy in moderation" - YES YOU ARE! It just takes practice and a shift in thinking.
Which is the second part of doing something to lose weight that "makes your life better." If the PROCESS of doing something makes your life better, not just the outcome, then you are going to keep doing it. That will result in EASY WEIGHT LOSS.
But the thing that all efforts to lose weight lack the most.......is SELF COMPASSION. We need to have the self compassion to STOP beating ourselves up when we have a tiny slip up, or we don't lose 5 pounds in a week. It will never be easy to lose weight if you are constantly beating yourself up over every perceived transgression.
We also need to have the compassion to say, "no I don't want to eat that whole pizza, I have goals I want to achieve." Self compassion isn't about being easy on yourself all the time (although sometimes it is.) It's about giving yourself what you NEED instead of what you WANT right then.
It's about treating yourself as if you are your best friend. If your best friend really wanted to lose weight, and asked you if they should eat at McDonald's tonight because they had a rough day, what would you say?
Probably something like, "why don't we make our own healthier version of McDonald's?"
That's the truly compassionate thing to say.
We have to balance not being too hard on ourselves with not giving in to our excuses either.
How would it affect your life if you learned to eat foods you enjoyed, and practiced more compassion? ALL WHILE LOSING WEIGHT?
I can tell you because I've seen it hundreds and hundreds of times.
Your life will improve. Your "diet" will be easy to stick to and something that you look forward to doing.
Imagine losing weight and looking forward to the foods you eat every day, AND KNOWING you're losing weight?
All while being nicer to yourself and treating yourself like you would a best friend.
Now you're talking. And you are talking about EASY WEIGHT LOSS.
Because you'd be doing 2 HUGE things that ADD TO YOUR LIFE. It's a net positive.
They are EASY to keep doing over time. And when we know our lives are better when we do certain things, we tend to stick with them.
If we stick with something over time that causes weight loss, that's called sustainability. And if we are following something that is sustainable, and makes our lives better, AND we lose weight...
Over time getting to where we want to be is a question of "when," not "if."
Don't get me wrong, a calorie deficit matters. In fact it's required for you to lose weight.
But that can absolutely be done eating foods you enjoy, incorporating treats, and experimenting with healthy foods to find what you enjoy.
And if you learn to have grace with yourself, to remember you are a human being and you're on a journey, you will not only increase the chance you lose weight, you will start to like yourself more and enjoy your life on a different level. Isn't that why you wanted to lose weight in the first place?
You will become happier, less stressed, more energy, more positive, and a better version of yourself.
And you'll have sustainability and self compassion. The 2 S's.
Then, weight loss becomes EASY and not hard. It makes your life better instead of worse.
So instead of cutting carbs or going keto or stopping eating all the foods you might enjoy, why not look at your weight loss journey from the other end of the telescope?
Why not forgo the difficult, restrictive, stress inducing diets for the simplicity of the 2 S's?
Sustainability and self compassion.
If you do that the chances are high you might wind up in the 8% who have kept the weight off...FOREVER.