As a physician who provided nutritional guidance for my patients, I learned over time what it took to help them succeed on their journey to weight loss. It was clear that those focusing predominantly on the scale would unlikely succeed at losing weight and/or MAINTAINING weight loss. I began noticing a pattern emerging that demonstrated those willing to LEARN and understand the BENEFITS of a chosen nutritional plan (rather than simply following the “step by step” instructions) achieved long term weight loss. Those willing to accept this approach to “dieting”, began viewing the role of food differently. Slowly they saw its impact on health (and disease) and the reality of improved FUNCTIONAL living. You see, FOOD was no longer seen or used as an emotional “release valve”; it was seen and used as a tool to achieving a better quality of life where weight loss became a natural END RESULT in this process.
Long term results were based on two important facts:
Finding and (conceptually) understanding a nutrition plan designed to match one’s discipline and personality.
Replacing addictive food behavior with newly discovered positive “things” or “experiences” which added quality and meaning to life.
What exactly is/are “things” or “experiences” that add quality and meaning to life? The following are a few of my personal examples:
Taking my beagle (Tucker) for long daily walks to clear my mind and reduce stress levels
exercising regularly to physically help my body achieve a state of relaxation while conditioning it for recreational athletic activities (senior softball, tennis, pickle ball, hiking, biking, etc…)
researching health topics to expand my knowledge and keep my brain active
blogging to help share my ideas to benefit lives from around the world
Your personal “things” and “experiences” should be seen as important aspects contributing to personal GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT; essential components providing motivation to remain focused while pursuing this approach to life.
In my opinion #2 (replacing addictive food behavior with newly discovered positive “things” or “experiences” which add quality and meaning to life) is the FIRST step required to overcoming the 95+% failure rate most people experience trying to lose weight.
WHY CREATE A MEANINGFUL LIFE BEFORE CHOOSING A NUTRITIONAL PLAN FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
If people do not have meaningful experiences to look forward to on a regular basis, they tend to make FOOD their PRIMARY meaningful “experience”. We’ve all heard the term “emotional eater.” When life’s trajectory trends toward increasing levels of stress and turmoil (often caused by financial difficulties, relationships, work and family issues), food becomes the “release valve.” This REAL LIFE typical scenario places the individual in an unhealthy state of mind making ANY nutrition plan/diet unlikely to succeed in the long term?
Although the “professionals” won’t say it out loud, eating healthy (in general)
They’ll make claims like:
ON A HIGH FAT NUTRITION PLAN
You can eat bacon, sausage, cheese, burgers, etc…. You can use alfredo, pesto, or hollandaise sauce. Although this may sound appealing to some, the foods that need to (basically) be excluded like pizza, ice cream, cake, pasta, potatoes, etc… doesn’t make this approach sustainable for the average person. People justify to themselves they are “capable” of “modifying” these plans and (since they don’t truly UNDERSTAND them) regain the weight and typically cause unhealthy outcomes as well.
ON A LOW FAT NUTRITION PLAN
You can eat lean white meat, fish, egg whites, soy, assorted vegetables, grains, beans, etc… In 20+ years in practice, I NEVER had patients telling me these were the types of foods they used for “stress relief”. In fact, people often became bored and ANGRY feeling like this nutritional style was more like a punishment (for being overweight or diagnosed with some other chronic disease). This lead to dietary abandonment and a return to previous lifestyle (eating) patterns responsible for the original weight gain.
ON A “DELIVERY TO YOUR HOUSE” PLAN
This provides a compromise encompassing a greater variety of foods and desserts, however, doesn’t teach the individual to UNDERSTAND the purpose behind these meal designs. Without this knowledge, the individual is an “automated robot” eating without thinking or understanding WHY these meals are pre-selected for them. Once delivery is cancelled, the individual returns to previous patterns of behavior resulting once again in unwanted weight gain.
ON A WEIGHT WATCHER’S PLAN
It’s all about POINTS. What’s missing… UNDERSTANDING what these points represent. It’s supposed to make it easier for the person to use. Easier, however, doesn’t translate into LONG TERM SUCCESS for the greater majority. Understanding POINTS is not the same thing as understanding FOOD and essential needs of the body. Once again, people “quit” these plans and regain the weight (in a majority of cases).
There are many more weight loss food plans I could discuss. The results, however, consistently show 95+% of the people FAILING to sustain long term beneficial results. Attempts to transition from “diet” plans to REALITY EATING simply doesn’t work for the average consumer.
WHAT IS THE FIRST MISSING INGREDIENT TO ACHIEVING SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT LOSS OVER THE LONG HAUL?
CREATING A MEANINGFUL LIFE!
This is not an abstract thought or nebulous concept. It is based on EMOTIONAL individual needs that add VALUE to life. It reinforces a desire to LIVE, GROW and EXPERIENCE life in a manner that makes the individual truly look forward to TOMORROW (and the next day and the next day, and the next day after that.)
If you want to lose weight, learning to enjoy LIFE FIRST makes the undertaking more achievable. Mastering this need removes addictive unhealthy foods from the equation because their “purpose” no longer exists. Food no longer becomes the primary tool used to temporarily overcome emotional “stress”. Positive healthier choices (you’ve discovered through meaningful life experiences) are used PRODUCTIVELY replacing the need of “junk” food and “junk” meals.
So, now that you’ve discovered a successful method for weight loss, what will you choose as your FIRST step:
The next diet plan promising weight loss?
Personal discovery of “things” and “experiences” that add quality to life BEFORE choosing a nutritional strategy?