How many diets have you been on? How many times have you vowed to lose weight, only to lose it and then put it all back on again?
It is frustrating and more than that, it can have a huge effect on your mental health. It can feel like there is no escape from the diet cycle.
Each time you lose the weight and then put it back on again, it can feel like a failure. It chips away at your self-esteem.
If this is you and you don’t understand what is happening, you could be aiming for the short-term goal which is aiming to lose the quickest amount of weight in the shortest time, instead of playing for long-term health.
How to break free from diets and still lose weight
Gain free access to my 5 easy steps which teach you how to lose weight and keep it off without dieting. Yes it's possible!
What is a long-term game?
The long game is not going for instant gratification. It is not trying to get quick results, instead, it is aiming for long-term success. It is knowing that if you do something a little bit but consistently, you will get better, more permanent results in the longer term.
Here are some examples; Investing, skill development, making money, some cooking as in slow roasting, sports.
The long game isn’t always fun. It doesn’t make headline news. There is little instant gratification so hence the long game can be boring. The tiny advantages that accrue aren’t noticed until success becomes too obvious to ignore.
The long game allows you to compound results. The longer you play the better the rewards.
What is the long game of weight loss?
The key to losing weight permanently is to play the long game. Rather than focusing on short-term diet and exercise plans, it is important to think about your habits for the long-term. Establishing healthy eating patterns and a regular exercise routine that you can stick to for life is the only way to ensure lasting success.
Instead of focussing on short-term goals like going on an intense weight loss programme. Successful weight loss features outcome goals. Changing your mindset from needing to have a dream body now to changing and enjoying the weight loss journey.
Creating healthy habits doesn’t happen overnight
Is it wrong to lose weight quickly?
When we see adverts of people losing large amounts and they are celebrated for doing it in a short time period, it can make us feel like there is something wrong with us. We can feel as if we are not good enough.
The trouble is, these types of adverts can be misleading. They are celebrating physical success in a short time frame as if that is the main goal. Any weight loss is an achievement, however, we want to celebrate the process of weight loss. Sustaining weight loss is a huge achievement that gets forgotten about.
We always hear about what a person went from eating to what they eat now and they always make it look easy. We never hear about the internal struggle. What they had to overcome to lose weight. Why don’t we celebrate the person that has taken 5 years to lose weight naturally and steadily?
Dramatic weight loss and amazing body transformation results sell programs and magazines.
We all want the perfect body shape now without having to wait. Unfortunately, that does not translate well into real life and making weight loss more permanent.
Why weight loss is temporary if done quickly
When we try to lose weight and we are aiming to do it quickly, we do not learn how to do it in a healthy and sustainable way. We often end up going on a restrictive diet. We put lots of foods out of bounds and tell ourselves we can’t have them. This inevitably makes us want what we are not allowing ourselves.
Our eating starts to become polarised and we start falling into the all-or-nothing trap. We have good and bad foods. We start having a mentality that if we fall off the wagon, then sod it and what does it matter, and can end up binge eating.
That means we can end up getting caught up in a cycle that we cannot escape from.
What is the healthiest way to lose weight permanently?
Losing weight permanently is not a quick fix. There is no magic pill. However, if there was, it would not be a permanent long-term solution.
We want to make losing weight and being healthy sustainable and natural. In other words, we are building new habits, and new ways of eating, finding a balance between eating healthily and having a few unhealthy items. It is about having structure so our eating is mostly healthy and regular but being able to go with the flow when life happens.
Here are some tips to help you to lose weight naturally and permanently
1. No dieting
We want to make our eating regular and healthy. Going on diets takes away our ability to help us to learn a way of eating that is good for us and that we can sustain. Dieting comes with sets of rules that take away our autonomy with our eating. It can be helpful to have a weight loss accountability buddy to make sure you are both doing this naturally and healthily. Focus on nutritious foods and stop calorie counting.
2. Regular exercise
Moving our bodies is what we were made for. We want to move away from going to the gym and busting our gut for a couple of weeks, which is short-term success, but not sustainable. It is moving away from a sedentary life to one where moving becomes a pleasurable part of life. Having long-term fitness goals. This could be walking, running, swimming, or cycling for certain distances. Being able to dance every day. Slowly improving week to week. After a while, you will notice steady physical weight loss.
Aiming to lose 1-2 pounds per week is advisable by health practitioners.
3. Eat only when hungry
This sounds easier than it is. I see many people who fear their hunger. The slightest feeling of being hungry and the tendency to eat straight away. We also find ourselves eating out of boredom or when emotions arise. If we binge eat, we know that we are not enjoying the food but tend to keep eating it.
Start noticing your levels of hunger. When you get to a 3 or a 4 that is the time to start preparing food. Eat at a 6 or 7 and stop when you are at a 9.
Learn to get used to a small amount of hunger by sitting with it for a short while.
4. Meal prep and planning
Not having anything prepared and not planning what to eat ahead of time trips many of us up. We end up hungry and then head to the nearest convenience dinner, which could be a takeaway or a microwave meal. Nothing that is healthy for you.
Planning ahead does take a bit of forethought to think about where you will be and what you might want to eat. Some people plan for the week ahead and that way nothing gets wasted and you have all of the ingredients at home to cook.
Food prep is going to take a bit more time than convenience food, but it is also much healthier for you. My advice is to have 5-6 easy recipes that you can follow and these can become your firm favourites. Not knowing what to have often trips us up, so if you have the basics to hand you can easily cook your trusted favorites. Keep expanding your repertoire, so you are never short of ideas about what to cook.
5. More Protein fewer carbs
Think about how to add more protein to your meals. This is more meat, eggs, fish and other sources. Eating too many white carbs such as bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice, is going to be digested very quickly and turned into glucose in the body. It means you feel hungry again quite quickly. Think about filling your plate with 2/3rd vegetables or salad, 1/3 protein and the other third can be your white carbs such as potatoes or rice.
Long Term weight loss done naturally is about changing your mindset and changing your lifestyle. It often is not as easy as simply eating less and exercising more. You can see that there needs to be tweaks to your lifestyle and how you think. Rather than focus on short-term weight loss, focus your priority on health and having healthier lives.
The mindset needs to change, in a way that it is making time for you and making sure you have your emotional needs met so you have the time and space to create food and make it pleasurable, rather than a chore.