Sustainable weight loss is the ability to lose weight and maintain that weight loss long term. For many women, this is a goal they chase by going on an endless roller coaster of diets. While this approach does result in helping people lose weight in the short term, it isn't effective in helping them develop the long term strategies and overall lifestyle needed to maintain that weight loss. Unfortunately for most women, this dieting cycle not only does not help them achieve their desired goal, it also leaves them feeling frustrated with diets in general and at war with their body. No one wants to keep feeling that way. This is why creating a lifestyle based on the 4 pillars of sustainable weight loss is so important.
So why is sustainable weightloss so rare? Well, it's not as simple as just going on a diet. Reaching your goal and maintaining that weight requires both a willingness to transform your lifestyle and to master your mindset. This takes time. It takes patience. And it takes going through, what I call the 4 pillars of weight loss to create a lifestyle that enables you not just to lose weight, but to keep it off long term.
So let's dive into what those pillars and how they can help you, on your journey.
When I talk about dialing in your nutrition, I'm not referring to counting points or restricting calories or other diet tactics. While a calorie deficit is important to the process of losing weight, the quality of the food you eat is just as important - if not more important - to optimizing your overall health. And good health goes hand in hand with sustainable weight loss.
Dialing in your nutrition is about learning what foods will help you feel fuller, longer. It's about learning what is a healthy calorie deficit for your body AND the balance of foods your body needs to run efficiently. Good nutrition is essential to keeping your hormones in balance and to satisfying your hunger so you stop binging or cheating. When you start optimizing your nutrition, you start focusing on how food makes you FEEL and you create a deeper connection between food and your body. It's not enough to just count calories. Sustainable weight loss requires learning & practicing good nutrition.
And for most women, while weight loss might be the surface goal the REAL reasons they want to lose weight are often much more emotional and significant. They want to FEEL stronger, healthier & to have more energy. It's more than a number on the scale. The freedom of not having to diet all the time, of feeling body confident and of being able to live life the way you want to, is priceless.
All this is possible when you're healthy and it starts with getting your nutrition right. This is why, as part of my nutrition program I teach my clients what good nutrition looks like and better yet, how it makes them feel.
The second pillar to sustainable weight loss lies in exercise and daily activity. While I understand that the majority of people who want to lose weight would like to avoid getting active or working out, the reality is that fat loss - not just weight loss - comes from moving our bodies every day.
Investing time in working out and in being active every day is one of the essential ways that women are able to boost their metabolism and keep their bodies running efficiently. I recommend that my clients create a balance of workouts every week that include: strength or resistance training, interval training and cardio. Sessions don't have to be long to be effective - between 30 - 45 minutes. This combination or workouts however is vital to building lean muscle which in turn boosts your metabolism and helps your body burn more calories, even at rest.
When you add daily activity to this mix, you help your body stay energized and burn off calories consistently. Getting active is the one area that can help women to effortlessly kickstart their weight loss and even break through plateaus.
Beyond all that, exercise is simply incredible for helping you FEEL good. The endorphin rush combined with the confidence that builds when you workout on a regular basis is often more fulfilling than losing weight. And when you feel leaner & stronger, when you see definition in your arms and your legs, when your able to walk further or try new things ... it's empowering.
For those reasons - and many more - exercise and activity are not only essential to losing your weight, they are vital to keeping you in good shape throughout your life and helping you maintain a healthy body weight.
One of the fundamental elements to sustainable weight loss is mastering your mindset. Sustainable weight loss doesn't just come from what we do, it comes from what we think and how we approach our goals and our life. When it comes to sustainable weight loss, much of our success comes from our mindset.
If the only thing you focus on is the surface goal (ie. losing all your physical weight) then that's all you'll ever lose. But a lot of us carry far more mental weight than physical weight. This mental weight is often responsible for how we approach food and dieting, how we handle stressful situations & how we view ourselves. If we don't change the way we think then it's nearly impossible to change the outcome. This is why a lot of the work involves changing or replacing our habits, challenging our beliefs & learning new mindset strategies.
And the way we start to change what we think is by shifting away from diet mentality.
For example, one of the strategies I teach my clients is the 1% improvement method. This is all about improving your nutrition and your lifestyle just 1% a day. The people who are the most successful at achieving their goals are the ones who focus on getting a little bit better everyday. Over time, this adds up to significant and transformative changes.
If you keep approaching your weight loss as a quick fix strategy then you will only ever get fleeting results. Nothing sustainable was ever achieved in 21 days or 3 months ... or overnight. So cultivating patience, learning how to re-frame your thinking and being open to learning (and mastering) new habits and skills will ultimately give you both the results you want. Not to mention, a mindset that will help you succeed in all other areas of your life.
Creating a lifestyle that supports your goals and ultimately helps you maintain them is essential to long term success. A lifestyle is made up of more than just counting calories and getting your steps in, it's about creating support systems & habits that you can depend on, even on your craziest of days.
Many of the clients I work with struggle with hormonal imbalances and a slowed metabolism that are contributing to weight gain. While improving your nutrition and getting active will definitely help alleviate those issues, creating a lifestyle that is founded upon healthy habits is essential to sustainable weight loss and to improving your health and overall quality of life.
This means learning strategies to manage stress so they can correct high cortisol levels in their bodies and alleviate sleep issues. It requires consistently practicing habits like meal planning and food prep to help manage cravings and help keep healthy food consistently available. It is about practicing self care so that you feel happier and healthier, from the inside out.
When you create the support systems, you build a foundation that will support you, regardless of your goals or how busy your life is. Having this kind of foundation creates confidence so you can stop wondering about 'what to do next' or how to handle certain situations. This opens the door to a life where you thrive and where you can confidently live your best life.
Sustainable weight loss doesn't have to be a unicorn or a myth. In fact, it's absolutely possible for you to not only lose your weight but to learn how to maintain that weight loss long term.
It does require a different approach and different mindset from what you've been taught by dieting gurus and programs to date however. Learning & mastering the skills, strategies & mindset of each of the 4 pillars of sustainable weight loss will help you not just lose weight but achieve both balance & whole health for the rest of your life.
As a nutrition coach who specializes in working with women who want to learn how stop dieting and start working towards being the strongest, healthiest & happiest versions of themselves. If you would like my help achieving your goals, through my unique Balance to Thrive Program, please book a free Nutrition Chat with me to get started.