“I’ve tried everything to lose weight. I’ve been able to lose it a couple times but it always comes back. I eat right, walk several times a week, do gardening and housekeeping, too. Why can’t I keep this weight off?”
This is a story that I hear regularly from many people that I meet. Weight loss can be a frustrating endeavor and can lead to discouragement and abandonment if not approached properly.
Aside from any pre-existing medical issues such as hypothyroidism, eating disorders, or any doctor-diagnosed issue that interferes with weight loss (including medications), there are three key steps to fixing what is going wrong.
1 The first step is to look closely at exactly what you are eating. This includes the foods you eat, what you drink, when you eat, how much you eat and what foods you eat together. Write everything down — everything. Do this for at least one week to get a clear picture of the reality of what you are eating. Work with a nutritionist to analyze the results of your journal. Once this analysis is complete, the next step is to examine your exercise level.
2 Many people think they’re getting enough exercise when they are not. Take walking, for instance. It’s true that walking several times a week is better than not at all, but the truth is that our bodies are very efficient and will adapt quickly to anything we do regularly. In the case of walking, our bodies adapt very quickly simply because it is such a natural movement. Consequently, we don’t get much in terms of weight-loss help or training effects from our walking routines after a while. The key is to change either the frequency, intensity or duration of our walks, always pushing just a little harder.
3 The third piece is to examine your habits, compulsions, stress levels and aversions to proper eating and exercise or both. Our eating habits have been with us all our lives, and most of us haven’t changed them all that much from what we learned as kids. Did you grow up with dessert as a natural finish to dinner? Soda instead of water or milk? Not liking certain foods from childhood? All these things can be changed in our adult lives if we so choose. But we are creatures of habit, and our habits, no matter how they may not be serving us anymore, still are more comfortable than change.
This three-pronged approach to weight loss is the only really comprehensive and effect strategy for making real and lasting changes to your weight. The good news is that it can work even if you’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past, and at any age. Don’t look for the quick fix; it doesn’t exist. Look for the right support, and get the help you need — it will make all the difference.