After releasing my blog post “Doing all the right things and still not losing weight? Maybe you haven’t considered these…”, I received some requests to do more writing on the topic of weight loss/management from a holistic perspective. It appears that rather than empowering us, the overwhelming amount of information circulating out there is making us feel extremely confused. I’m going to start by saying that the information I share is based on my personal philosophy (one of balance, curiosity, gentleness and patience), which is rooted in my training in holistic nutrition as well as experience in walking my own health journey and guiding and witnessing improvements in the life of clients, family members and friends.
So, let’s start from the beginning. The journey to weight management, or to achieve any other health goal for that matter, begins with a mental shift.
To begin with, is important to understand that the extra weight (or any other discomfort you may be having right now: low energy, pain, PMS, skin issues, headaches, anxiety and depression, etc.) is not the cause of your health problems, it is a symptom. Meaning, the extra weight is the way in which the real issue is showing up on the surface.
This is important. Because when we only deal with symptoms (e.g. extra weight, eczema, headaches) we tend to reach for “Band-Aid” solutions (e.g. the “miraculous diet that promises you’ll lose 10 pounds in 1 week if you do this…”, or the corticosteroid cream for the eczema, or the pill for the headache). You find relieve and comfort, but eventually the problem returns. This is because you have dealt with it on the surface level, not at the root level.
However, when we focus on figuring out the root causes of the symptom that is showing up on the surface, we realize that this requires a very different approach. Not a quick-fix, one-size fits all approach, but rather, one where we commit ourselves to make profound changes, lifestyle changes. Take for instance one of my most remarkable clients: this person wants to lose close to a hundred pounds and regain balance in their life. As we start our journey together, I am open and honest in explaining this requires we drop any quick-fix mentality and we work together to implement some significant changes in approach and lifestyle. We agree, and since we’re both on the same page, the pounds begin to drop quickly. However, this is not only due to the commitment and compliance of my client, it is also due to the fact there is a shift in mindset and a compromise to stay curious and open to how the body is changing as the extra pounds melt.
Even when the weight begins to melt as you start eating real food in the right quantities, maintaining weight loss requires that your commit to choosing healthy foods most of the time and moving your body as a lifestyle.
I am yet to meet someone that drop 10, 20, 50 or 100 pounds and was able to keep them off by fully reverting their habits to the way they ate when they had the extra weight. They either adopted a healthy lifestyle filled with wholesome foods, exercise, plenty of water and stress management, or they gained the weight back.
This is why losing weight or maintaining weight loss is so difficult for so many of us. Because it definitely goes beyond figuring out the right “diet” for you.
So, where to start?
- Begin by accepting the facts: extreme and restrictive diets seldom work in the long run – I say seldom because it’s always fun to be proven wrong :);
- Know that if you really want to see results, this will require you shift your mentality from the pursuit of quick fixes to embracing a lifestyle change;
- Focus on health rather than a number on the scale: I won’t deny weight and other metrics are important, especially when we are dealing with specific conditions, but remember your worth is not dependant on the number on the scale. Learn to feel what a healthy body feels like, independent of the number on the scale;
- Adopt a curious approach: there are definitely some principles to guide you through the weight loss journey (e.g. ditching processed foods) yet, you are unique and so is your body’s chemistry. Some foods may simply not agree with you and make you weight resistant, maybe you have some food sensitivities. This is when working with someone can be very empowering;
- And finally, commit to developing your patience muscle: sometimes you figure something out and it works for a while and then it doesn’t anymore. This is not because there is anything inherently wrong with you, it is more an indication that things have changed in your body (and this is not necessarily a bad thing!). Take it as an invitation to explore what your body is trying to tell you, trust you can figure things out and take action.
Next time you feel tempted to try another miraculous/extreme/quick-fix diet (I get it, I’ve done it… plenty of times…) take a moment to regroup. Think about what you really want to achieve in the long run. Maybe read this post again 🙂 . Drop me a line if you need help or have questions and commit to achieve your goals in a realistic, balanced and healthy manner.