We have all at one point in time heard of or tried different methods for weight loss whether it be a 20 day diet challenge, fad diet or even weight loss/nutritional supplements. Like anything it is important for us to distinguish fact from fiction. Although there are effective aspects that can be gleaned and applied from each, the primary issue is that these individual methods are not sustainable.
The simple fact is that there are no quick fixes, no magic supplements. If someone tries to convince you otherwise you need to find a different source of information. Weight management, whether it is loss or gain is not simple. It takes time to re-educate yourself both from a behavioral as well as a physiological perspective. You have been eating and exercising in the same manner for the vast majority of your life and it just takes time for these changes to take effect. Some individuals can change in a week and for others it can take months or even years. Often times the individual will have great success only to relapse and gain the weight back. Why does this happen?
The primary problem is due to extreme or drastic lifestyle changes that cannot be sustained. For example cutting calories in half or removing carbohydrates completely from the diet or relying on a shake for 100% of your nutritional needs. These changes may provide immediate results but in turn they are not healthy or sustainable, typically resulting in binging and self-destructive behaviors. The important thing to do is find a plan created by a trained professional that is not solely focused on weight loss or gain but on getting you to a healthy reasonable weight that you can sustain. And more importantly, providing you with the necessary tools to be able to understand your nutrition and manage it on your own.
The question that needs to be asked, when looking at a diet plan, is “can I do this for the rest of my life?” If that answer is “no” you need to seriously evaluate the cost/benefit of this lifestyle change.
In counseling, I focus on four very specific things for lifestyle change:
- Stress Management
It is imperative that we analyze each aspect in equal proportions. If we ignore one or don’t give it due attention, it will heavily influence the others. Let’s look more closely at one of these factors, sleep. Adequate daily restorative sleep is one of the most important factors for sustainable lifestyle change. Poor sleep has many effects typically it will increase your stress levels, drastically disrupt the quality of workouts and results in less than ideal food choices.
I realize it may appear very difficult to control or change these elements, stress being a prime example. A common statement is “I can’t control my stress levels at work.” I realize that stress can be very difficult to escape, however when you have the necessary nutritional and behavioral framework/education it makes it possible to compensate for this issue.
For example, if you are having a stressful week, take the time to plan out your meals and set a time for physical activity even if it is necessary to alter your normal routine like walking at lunch time or jogging right after work. It is important to plan for rushed days by packing food in your car or desk at work; this will help you avoid selecting less than ideal food sources by having a contingency plan.
Remember don’t ignore your stress or any of these four elements (food, exercise, sleep stress) because the longer you do the harder it will be to manage and get under control. Lastly, it is important to have the right plan or program that can provide you with proper education and training to be able to cope with your ever changing life.
A new program that we are offering through Performance Health & Fitness offers this type of education and training. We have created a curriculum that isolates each of these elements and educates you on how to create balance in your environment. Fit360 is a 12-week program that integrates your monthly dues for membership, weekly nutritional consultation, and 8 monthly training sessions into one program. It takes all of the guessing out of it. We provide you with necessary tools and framework to have a sustainable nutritional lifestyle change that is not 20 days but 20 or 30 or 60 years. If you have any questions about the program please contact the front desk or please email me directly at email@example.com. The next Fit360 Launch program starts September 14th. Click for more details.