If losing weight were really as simple as “eat less, move more,” it would be easy to achieve a healthy weight—and maintain it. But there’s a lot more to weight loss than simply eating fewer calories and getting more exercise. In fact, one of the key components of successful weight loss is the willingness to make fundamental lifestyle changes.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight or even thought about losing weight, you may have come away with the impression that all diets are doomed to failure. And if you’ve ever gone on a diet only to regain the weight you lost, you may feel like a failure yourself.
Neither is true.
Weight loss isn’t a matter of willpower or lack of it or “good” behavior versus “bad” behavior. It’s a matter of changing your mindset—of confronting the habits, thoughts, and behaviors that lead to weight gain and replacing them with a healthier set of options.
The old saw that says, “What’s the best diet? The one you’ll actually stick to,” is fundamentally true—studies show that people can and do lose weight with virtually any weight-loss program. Nearly anyone can “go on a diet” and lose weight in the short term. The real moment of truth comes when you finish your diet and go back to “normal” eating.
This is where most people have problems.
We’ve all heard that people who diet usually gain the weight back and sometimes gain even more than they initially lost. Some of us have experienced this first-hand. And there’s a very good reason for this.
Diets, whatever their rules, offer a structured eating plan. Dieters are told, “Eat this, but don’t eat that. Eat this much, and no more.” Diets take the guesswork out of things, and as long as you follow the rules, you’ll probably lose weight. What most diets don’t offer, however, is guidance on how to eat once you stop dieting and start living.
And that’s where the problem lies. Because although endocrine conditions do sometimes lie behind weight gain, in most cases, being overweight is an indication that something is going on with our diets and our eating habits—a problem diets do nothing to address.
Our eating habits develop over a lifetime, and they’re shaped by countless things from the food messages we receive as children to the food advertising we’re bombarded with every time we walk into a store. We may not be consciously aware of these influences, but they shape what, when, where, why and even how we eat on a daily basis.
Diets only address our eating habits in the moment. So, once we’re free of the rules and regulations of a given “diet,” our natural inclination is to return to our old eating habits—the same habits that led to our becoming overweight in the first place.
People who lose weight and keep it off long-term do so in a variety of different ways, from simply cutting out sugar to joining structured programs like Weight Watchers. But they all have one important thing in common: They make significant, fundamental changes in their eating habits and often in other parts of their lives too.
It’s a matter of mindset. When you “go on a diet” to lose weight, then “go off the diet” once you’ve achieved your weight-loss goal, you’ve set that time aside as a temporary aberration in the normal flow of your life—something you do and then stop, with a finite beginning and ending. And this “dieting” mentality—making short, temporary changes in our eating habits—is what sends so many of us into the spiral of dieting and weight regaining that leaves us so disillusioned and defeated.
Sustained weight loss calls for a different approach. Sustained weight loss means taking a good, hard look at our eating habits and our beliefs about food and eating, and making long-term, sustainable changes. If you’re ready to start making changes to your life, contact weight loss specialist Dr. Pastorek today and schedule a consultation.