Hi Coach Jeri here!
When you’ve maintained and watched your weight for as long as I have, you tend to pick up on a few things. Through lots of trial and error, I think I can honestly say that I know and appreciate the difference between lifestyle changes and dieting spurts. I was the classic repeat offender like many, starting over many times. Going from one diet plan to another buying books and magazines on whatever the “new” diet was. Getting to my goal weight many times, only to gain it back soon after. Today I want to speak to my experience in what I recognize to be the game-changer of weight-loss: your mindset. Are you looking for instant gratification, or life long sustainability?
In 2006 I rejoined a popular weight loss group and the coach asked how many people were at their goal? Half the room stood up, and I knew I wanted what those people had. Every week I sat with the winners of the losing game and became a sponge. I started listening to what they were doing, noticing the differences in how they approached things, versus how I did. Eventually I stopped repeating the same mistakes I made over and over again. But how?
Change, especially of lifelong habits, is a slow process. Many of us think once we lose the weight we’ll be thin and not regain the weight. The reason so many of us do gain weight back is because we haven’t made the lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. It’s easy for us to end up going right back to the habits that made us overweight in the first place. We will always have to practice making better food choices to keep the weight off.
Years ago, I went on a very restricted food plan. I did lose weight but all I could think of was the day I could have my favorites again. Of course I gained the weight back. I really wasn’t changing my lifestyle. I was on a temporary food plan. The goal has to be a lifestyle change not just a weight change. If we think of a diet as deprivation and debilitating instead of learning to experience new food choices, we limit our lifestyle and begin to feel sorry for ourselves. What so many of us tend to forget is that a “diet” is not a plan of eating for a few days or weeks, or even months. It needs to become a way of life. The focus has to be on reaching goal and staying there.
I grew up in a house only knowing vegetables came in a can. So I was not a big vegetable eater and I definitely wasn’t crazy about salads. By experimenting with new vegetables and recipes I truly began to enjoy vegetables. Today, I’m reaching for veggies in every meal! My husband bought me an air fryer and now I love vegetables even more! We actually have a vegetable garden and they taste even better when you grow them yourself. See, we turned vegetables into a piece of our lifestyle.
Think of the food you eat that you know is not good for you. Are there some foods you can give up? Can you change your bag of chips for a banana and PB? Apple and Cheese? Can you make small changes to refine and improve your daily food plan? Start slow by substituting your unhealthy snack for a more healthy one. If you are willing to change, change will come Thinking you are on a “living plan” instead of a “diet” is a great start. Entering a new way of life that will last, is the key.
Thinking back to that group that I admired so long ago; I learned that they had one thing in common. They turned their thinking around from diet to lifestyle and discovered new foods that were just as satisfying. There is no miracle food plan. Any food plan that promises you can eat all your favorite unhealthy snacks with no consequences is false. We want better health and a healthier lifestyle, and with small changes, the process will be ever growing in the right direction.