Every time I would start my weight loss journey, in my heart I wished and prayed for it to be the last time. I desperately wanted to lose all of my extra weight and to never have to worry about it ever again in my life.
Of course, each one of us who is carrying extra weight and wants to lose it, want to lose it for good. But our approach towards weight loss is seldom resonant of that desire.
How is that even possible?
Let’s begin by understanding what does it mean to lose weight for the last time.
Imagine you want to build a home where you would love to live with your family.
You might have a vision for how it would look like, what would be the neighbourhood like, in which city, what part of that city, would you buy an apartment or would you build it from scratch starting with a piece of land, the list of criteria to consider would be pretty long, but if you are determined to build a home where you’d love to spend the rest of your life with your loved ones, you would go through each painstaking detail to make that vision into a reality.
A similar process is required when we are aiming to lose weight for the last time and lay the foundation of lasting good health.
What would you like your health to be like when you are in your 80s or 90s?
What all would you love to do, love to enjoy doing independently at that age?
Realising that vision needs that we start planning for it today.
Hoping to lose all the weight first and leaving the decision about your overall health to a later point is like making a hurried investment of buying a house and leaving all the other questions about its location, size, utility, to be considered later.
You’re correct, it wouldn’t work out.
Just as planning for your dream home needs lots of planning, investment of time, energy and resources along with dedicated time with architects, engineers, contractors, interior designers and more, planning for long-term health and sustainable weight loss requires proper planning, strategising and a disciplined approach to fulfil the vision you’ve started with.
There are many ways to lose weight.
And yes, most of those ways can get you the results but the real question is – are those ways in alignment with your long-term vision of good health?
Are the practices you are adopting to lose weight something you are willing to do for the rest of your life?
That means, if you are 40-year-old, are you willing to eat the foods you are eating (be it keto/ paleo/ any other diet) to lose weight something you can eat for 60 more years?
And what about the exercises you’re doing?
And the food plan you are following?
The simple logic is this, whatever practices you are adopting today to lose weight have to be a consistent practice for you to be able to maintain that weight loss long term.
What does sustainable weight loss mean?
The word sustainable means – able to continue over a period of time.
Unless you enjoy the process of yo-yo dieting where you lose weight and then gain it back and then again try to lose weight, sustainable weight loss is what you should be aiming for.
Sustainable weight loss means losing weight in a way that along the way you cultivate habits that will allow you to maintain the lost weight effortlessly in the long term.
What does effortlessly mean?
When I say effortlessly, I do not mean passively.
Being healthy is an active process dependent on making healthy life choices every step of the way. However, when we work on creating a healthy life we should be cultivating habits that make achieving these goals pretty easy.
How is sustainable weight loss different from losing weight by dieting?
Losing weight by dieting usually involves a restrictive eating pattern often involving cutting out a wide variety of foods and food groups, eating very low amounts of food to get quick results without taking into account the impact of these practices on long-term health.
And if we add a crazy workout schedule to the mix, we might want to consider if that exercise regimen is something we can do regularly long term, is it building a healthy habit of working out or is it just a quick fix added to accelerate the weight loss.
Once we are clear on these aspects, the next step is to strategise and plan our approach.
This is exactly where weight loss aiming at quick results takes a steep left from the road leading to sustainable weight loss.
It’s true that,
Weight loss is hard.
Weight loss is not easy.
It’s also true that,
Weight loss is achievable.
Weight loss can transform our life (if done right).
Though, very few people know – Weight loss can be SIMPLE.
As someone who has lost 60 pounds after battling obesity for most of her life and have successfully maintained the lost weight, I can safely say, weight loss is doable if you are willing to invest your time, energy and goodwill in the process.
I say goodwill because so many people (including the past version of me) approach weight loss as something they absolutely hate and yet expect to be able to unlock its secrets and even master it long term.
I want to make a case for approaching weight loss with compassion, understanding and something you would do out of love for your own health and body.
Think about it, what do you feel when you say,
“I hate weight loss but I desperately want to lose weight.”
I’m not sure about you, but I feel stuck, helpless, victimised.
I want you to take a moment and look for an example from your life where you have achieved major success and maintained it while feeling stuck, helpless or victimised?
It is just not possible.
This is the principal reason why SO many of us try to lose weight, but give up sooner or later or regain all the lost weight and then some in due course of time.
Sustainable weight loss or losing weight for good relies on 10 key principles that are seldom considered let alone practised or mastered when we are trying to lose weight for quick results.
10 Principles of Sustainable Weight Loss:
❤️ Hard Work is overrated, consistency is underrated.
It’s not about how hard we swing our bat. It’s about swinging over and over again till we learn to hit it out of the park. Consistency takes us places hard work doesn’t.
To lose weight for the last time do not start by picking the toughest things to do, for instance- don’t start by giving up all your favourite foods or joining a gym if you are not in the habit of working out.
Start by making tiny healthy shifts in your day. Start walking for 15 minutes every day. Add a small salad to your regular meals. Start small, but do it daily.
❤️ Focus on listening to your body.
The ultimate goal of sustainable weight loss is to get healthier, feel lighter in our body and improve our day to day life.
When we are aiming at building a healthy life, we are not obsessed with a number. Be it the number on the weighing scale the measuring tape or the dress size. We want to feel good inside and feel comfortable in our skin.
And that cannot be achieved simply by losing the fat on our bodies. It is a by-product of learning to listen to our body’s needs, compassionately caring for them and learning to love ourselves along the way of creating our Healthy Life.
Our body always tells us what it feels, it is a matter of paying attention to its messages.
❤️ Goals don’t get us results, our habits do.
We all set weight loss goals and believe that is what will take us to achieve them.
The irony is, both successful and unsuccessful people have the same goals.
People who take action and keep going because they are driven by the desire for long-term health, agility, mobility and medicine-free, independent old age act differently than those who are hyper-focussed on the number on the scale and are willing to try every trick under the sun or on the Internet to get there.
Goals are just dreams. Habits make them a reality.
❤️ Build habits that will improve your overall health.
Picking up a diet that makes us eat foods that taste like cardboard is a recipe for sure-shot failure. In the same way, losing weight by doing workouts that make us pray for freedom from them will make us quit faster than we would like to admit.
For lasting success choose what you are willing to do for the rest of your life.
Your healthy life calls for eating foods that will nourish your body, that will make you feel energetic with a boost in your vitality.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a goal for many people, but how many among us are willing to make a dedicated effort at trying to make it happen every day?
Those who are willing to make their everyday healthier even by 1% are the people who are working to achieve sustainable health.
Doing things in ways that align with the big picture makes it easier to do long term.
❤️ Address the obstacles that are keeping you stuck in unhealthy lifestyles
The last time you regained weight, think about the reasons and the circumstances that contributed to it.
To lose weight for the last time, you will have to address all the reasons and circumstances that usually would derail you from your healthy living efforts.
Once we start looking at our weight loss strategies from this lens we are able to clearly see if we are on the track of losing weight the last time or are setting ourselves for disappointment when life or circumstances shall get in our way.
Let’s be honest, life is unpredictable and hard. Our best bet to be able to survive anything life sends our way is to have an effective strategy to overcome those obstacles and to have the skills to survive life as and when it happens.
That means you have to have a plan when cravings strike.
A strategy for the holidays and vacations.
An understanding of what to do when we aren’t feeling motivated to exercise.
Know-how about how to enjoy life, eat foods we love without the worry of gaining weight.
All these are essential components of the Be Healthy Be You Program where I help women create their healthy life in sustainable ways.
❤️ We gain confidence after doing something hard – not before.
Too many people never try hard things because they think confidence is a precondition when, in reality, it’s a side effect.
It is the same with weight loss.
So many people never try even the simplest of things because they are scared of failing.
Not trying is the easiest way to predict failure.
The real virtue needed to start any journey is COURAGE. It is the courage to try new things and to step out of the comfort zone that allows us to do hard things. And it is only after we do hard things that we gain confidence.
❤️ Promote your chances to succeed by seeking accountability.
An accountability partner is an asset to keep us going when the motivation dwindles.
In those times, having a weight loss coach who will mentor you and champion you will accelerate your progress that can make the difference between success and failure.
It is a personal decision that no one else is going to make for you. The confidence that someone has got your back can be a huge relief when the initial rush from the novelty of setting a goal wears off and the daily life challenges and self-doubt begins to plague our minds.
❤️ A long term strategy is more important than quick results.
Starting with a goal is a good starting point, but starting with a long-term strategy designed keeping the bigger picture of a healthy mind-body-soul in mind is what gets us sustainable results.
Most weight loss programs claim that they can help us achieve unbelievable results in very short periods of time. They are solely targeting the body all the while overlooking the basic fact that our mind and emotions have an equal if not more role in our overall health.
A good question to ask here is –
What happens on the days when we don’t feel like exercising?
What do we do when we are craving to eat cakes, sweets, pizzas and other foods we have been restricting ourselves from eating?
What do we do if we regain weight?
If the answer to one or more of the above is to punish ourselves with more restrictions and stricter exercises, it might be helpful to think how long can we sustain such a protocol.
❤️ Our health is our responsibility
For most of us (if not all of us), our health is a priority.
However, how many of us approach life in ways that reflect this choice to be true?
If your health is truly your priority, you must approach it in a way that makes room for creating sustainable health in our day to day life a reality.
It doesn’t mean we can’t eat processed foods, drink wine or enjoy life at our pace. Of course, we can and we should at times.
Making health a priority simply means making choices that never hurts our long term health. To take ownership of your health.
❤️ Weight loss is a by-product of creating a healthy life.
Our healthy life encompasses the overall health of our body, mind, soul and our relationships. When we work towards striking a balance of all of these, we not only strengthen our relationship with ourselves but let go of the extra weight we carry on our minds and bodies.
If you are working to only lose the extra weight on your body without addressing the other aspects of health, you are only addressing the symptom without treating the root cause of the extra weight.
Sustainable health and weight loss programs aim at helping you strike a healthy balance that helps you experience life with optimum vitality, energy and health just the way nature has designed us to be.
Can we apply the Marie Kondo method to other areas of our life?
You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo and the KonMari method of decluttering homes because there has been a time when it was everywhere. From social media to Netflix.
It’s a lovely heartwarming series because the tried and tested process seems to bring people together and helps them to feel more in control of their surroundings.
People are urged to go through their bits and bobs in a particular order and to keep only the clothes, books, papers, sentimental items and all other miscellaneous knick-knacks, which spark joy or support who they want to grow into or that’s mindful of the life they want to live.
Aside from being a seemingly successful way to declutter our belongings while honouring our emotions, we’ve started thinking about how the approach could be attributed to life, in general.
We might not always be well enough or able to have a declutter of our physical things, we might feel overwhelmed just thinking about putting our stuff into neat boxes or folding in a certain way on top of all that life is throwing at us, and we might quite like our floordrobe the way it is, but the barometers of:
Support who we want to grow into
Support the life we want to live
is actually quite useful and we can apply them to our decision-making and choices for pretty much every scenario we come across.
It takes us back to mindfulness and self-care and helps us to apply the perspectives based on our future and our hopes, rather than the sometimes weightedness of our past.
It takes us out of the kneejerk reactions that so often don’t serve who we are nor who we’d like to be nor what we’d like to do.
It compels us to consider our aspirations, dreams, goals and hopes and provides pause from the oftentimes habitual coulds, shoulds and expectations.
We could apply the barometers to the way we approach our health and relationships too.
The way we spend our time, the places we visit, the movements we do, the things we agree to add or subtract, the stresses we allow to pile on, the foods we eat, the activities we do to rest and relax, the messages we read on our social media feeds, the things we study, ev-ery-thing.
Joyful might be far removed from where we’re at right now, but we can make decisions today, that our future selves might thank us for.
So the next time you embark on a weight loss journey, make sure you are working to create a Healthy Life and not a weight loss merry go round where you lose some weight only to gain it back as soon as life poses a challenge.
When you lose weight in a sustainable way:
- You enjoy life without a weight struggle.
- You enjoy life without constantly thinking about or worrying about food.
- You enjoy life living the lifestyle you truly want.
To live life to the fullest, we must create an opportunity for ourselves to experience it with a healthy mind, body and soul. Irrespective of how old you are when you start, what really matters is your resolve to keep going till your last breath.
Are you ready to create next-level results in becoming your leaner, healthier and calmer self?
I want to invite you to join my Be Healthy Be You program where you’re going to lose weight, be done with the struggle and know exactly how to maintain and enjoy those results with unapologetic confidence. It’s time to stop dreaming about the results you want and start enjoying them.
If you’re at the start of your weight loss journey, begin with the strategies that have helped lose 60 pounds and that I teach my coaching clients to achieve sustainable results. Take the FREE Weight Loss Ownership Course.