Something weird happens when we finally start a new diet plan or weight loss program. For some reason our expectations are that, simply by starting to work on losing weight, we will lose ten pounds overnight.
It’s such a funny psychology, but a common experience I hear from my clients in Collingwood and The Blue Mountains, and others I speak with! Unfortunately, this distorted expectation leads to rapid disappointment, rather than rapid weight loss.
We see diet claims where people have had significant weight loss in a short period of time, leading us to expect the same results as well.
However, everyone’s weight loss experience is unique. Beyond that, weight loss does not happen in a bubble; it happens in the context of our big, busy lives.
As a Registered Dietitian, I have always approached weight loss for my clients by focusing on whole-health. In my practice, healthy weight loss translates into losing one to two pounds per week, which helps to preserve lean body mass and prevent nutritional deficiencies. Weight loss is not just about fitting into our favourite jeans, it is about improving our health so that we can enjoy more life! If we try to lose weight at any cost, we can compromise our health…
…and our ability to keep the weight off over the long-term.
Very low-calorie diets (under 1200 calories per day) are more likely to result in the loss of lean body mass (muscle tissue), along with fat tissue loss. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat, so maintaining as much as possible will allow our bodies to burn more calories overall. Muscle tissue also gives us strength and tone, which supports our bones and gives our body the shape we desire.
We have also seen that the greater loss of fat-free mass (i.e., muscle mass) during weight loss is associated with a greater chance of weight regain over the long-term. No one wants to go through the effort of losing weight only to struggle with regaining it so easily.
Studies have also shown that, when compared to rapid weight loss, gradual weight loss helped to preserve our resting metabolic rate. This means that losing weight too quickly can result in adaptive change in our body that lowers how many calories we burn daily. I like to eat, so personally, I would like to keep burning as many calories as I can.
Instead, we need to set ourselves up for long-term success!
In my practice, I use healthy, well-balanced approaches to losing weight. Even though the rate of weight loss varies from person to person, the women I see who lose closer to two pounds in a week, all do the same things…
Here are my top five tips to maximize healthy weight loss:
Make time for Consistency
I find that when individuals can’t see progress right away, they think their diet is not working so they give up. Consistency is what gets us there faster. When we stick to healthy eating and exercise everyday, we are more likely to see results on the scale each week.
When we only get in a few focused days in the week, we are still headed towards weight loss, but it may take a few more weeks, or a month, to see the progress.
So how do we stay consistent? We make time. We need to plan so that healthy meals and exercise are part of our schedules. We can’t just hope we get around to it. It is about setting out each day knowing that a healthy diet and exercise are as important as anything else we need to do in our day.
I am not suggesting that you need to follow a ketogenic diet. However, consistently getting enough protein in your meals is important. Protein helps to build and preserve lean muscle mass, as well as helps us to feel full. To get enough protein while also reducing calories, we need to focus on lower fat or lean protein choices at each meal. Protein options like lean cuts of beef, skinless chicken, pork loins, fish, seafood and eggs, can be great choices. Aim for a four to six ounce serving (the size of a deck of cards) per meal.
We also get a fair amount of protein from our dairy products, like milk, yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), and low fat cheeses. Focus on M.F.%s (milk fat percentages) that are under 2%, since these will be lower in fat and calories.
Don’t drink your calories
High carbohydrate drinks of any source (juice, pop, electrolyte drinks, etc.), are not going to keep you feeling full, and can pack a punch in terms of calories. When it comes to losing weight, water is always going to be your best option. Sugar-free drinks, or flavoured carbonated waters, are also fine choices.
Call yourself out on your excuses
We have all done it. We have planned to get up early and work out, only for the alarm to go off and we talk ourselves out of it. Be ready to confront yourself when you are making excuses. Confidence comes from knowing you will show up for yourself, no matter what. Remember this anytime you try to talk yourself out of an activity that will help you reach your goal.
Take it one week at a time
One approach that can be used is to focus on a weight loss weekly goal. Each week can be so different in our lives. There may be holidays, birthdays or special events that might make it trickier to stay focused on your weight loss plan. You may decide one week to aim for losing two pounds, and another where you simply focus on maintaining your weight. This is a great way to both plan ahead and manage expectations to avoid disappointment.
Losing weight should be about being in your best health so you can live your best life. It isn’t just about reaching your goal, it is also about keeping it off too. Having a healthy mindset and reasonable expectations around losing weight will help ensure your better health and the confidence to keep going!
I’m a dietitian who works closely with women in Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Thornbury, Grey Bruce and beyond to help them achieve their health and weight loss goals so they can feel confident and live their best life. Find out how you can achieve success by booking your free discovery call today.