There’s a funny thing that happens when you lose weight. If you’re going to keep your weight loss off, you need to keep doing what you’ve been doing.
The process that got you there is most likely going to be the process that keeps you there.
It’s like that saying, “dance with the one that brought you.” You know, the concept that if someone takes you to a dance you should dance with them, and not someone else.
Except while that saying is more about being polite, and good manners, the concept with nutrition is that the path you take to get to your weight loss goals is going to give you the skills you have to use for keeping your weight loss off.
For example, let’s say you’ve lost 40lbs on the ketogenic diet. Congrats! That’s great. All of the tools you learned on that journey of 40lbs lost and ketosis are the tools you now have to use to keep that 40lbs off.
In this example, the tools you now have are avoiding even a moderate amount of carbs, getting used to functioning off of ketones for energy instead of carbs, and (usually) not being very happy about the social cost that comes with ketosis. (I’m sorry I can’t eat/drink that because my body will get out of ketosis and then everything will explode, undoing the progress that I’ve made only through sheer determination.)
Just kidding. Kind of.
Now, I’m not knocking keto. At least not too much. It can work well for people. However, it usually doesn’t work well for people long-term. And that’s key.
This is the case with most fad diets. In the short-term, they work great. They wouldn’t gain any popularity or traction if they didn’t at least have some benefits. Most of them work well for quickly losing weight. But, they often work terribly for keeping that weight off in the long run.
Because you’re dancing with the one that brought you.
You only have the skills you’ve learned during the process to keep off the weight that you lost during that process.
A few examples:
Keto: the skills you have learned are avoiding all carbs, at all costs. This works great, if you’re OK with not eating carbs ever again.
Low fat: the skills you have learned are avoiding foods with fat. Again, this works well if you are OK doing that forever.
Meal Replacement Shakes: the skills you have learned are relying on a pre-set, pre-measured shake that someone else made. This works well until you decide you’re tired of drinking shakes.
HCG: the skills you learned are that a 500 calorie diet and taking a pregnancy hormone is absolutely ridiculous and no one should do that! (I’m not anti many diets, except HCG. Seriously, don’t do it.)
All kidding aside, you might see a common theme with all of these nutritional approaches. They are pretty restrictive, and require you to continue to be restrictive once you’ve met you goals.
In other words, you get to dance with the one that brought you. And in the case of many of these, they suck at dancing and you’re in for a long night of getting your toes stepped on.
So, what’s the alternative?
Go to the dance with someone else.
What I mean by that is, use a nutritional approach that doesn’t limit you from entire food groups. A nutritional approach that you enjoy and can do long-term. And, an approach that allows you to enjoy a beer, pizza, or cake sometimes. (Or maybe all at once? I think I just figure out my plans for Friday night.)
Honestly, what if you lost weight while eating from every food group?
What if you lost weight, while creating a more positive relationship with food instead of demonizing an entire food group?
What if you lost weight AND actually enjoyed the process?
It’s possible. It really is.
(A quick note for diabetics, These fad diets may seem like your friend because wight loss can help insulin sensitivity, but they are actually one of your worst enemies. The cycle of yo-yo dieting (losing wight quickly through extreme measures, gaining it all back, and then repeating) is incredibly damaging to your metabolism and to your body composition. You are winding up making your body more insulin resistant, and working against yourself.)
So, how do you find a new dance partner?
Here are a few tips:
-Start slow. Quick weight loss is exciting and feels great. It’s also usually unsustainable, resulting in gaining it all, plus some, back.
-Tackle one or two habits at a time. Don’t completely overhaul your lifestyle and habits at once. This becomes overwhelming and, again, isn’t sustainable. It’s a great way to wind up feeling like you’ve failed.
-Don’t take things to seriously. Guess what. YOU’RE GOING TO SCREW UP!! Accept that. When you fall of track, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t act like you’ve ruined all of your progress. Just get back at it. This is one of the most important skills to learn during the process.
Now, imagine this new dance partner. You’ve met your goals and you have the skills to:
-move at a sustainable pace while seeing the benefits of not moving too quickly
-putting all of your energy into a few, impactful changes
-getting right back at it when things fall apart
Wouldn’t it be great to have all those skills? Imagine how much more sustainable things would be with those tools in your tool bag.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of partner I’d like to dance with.
Need help figuring out how to do this? That’s why The Diabetic Trainer is here. Feel free to drop me a message here.