Do you want to lose weight? I hear this from so many people! They want to lose weight so in order to make it happen, they set a weight loss goal. It usually looks like "I want to lose 10 lbs by June." It also might be more specific such as "I want to follow the _____ diet for the next 3 months so that I can lose 10lbs."
Setting a goal seems like a logical step right? Well goals are definitely important to achieving our dreams in life . But.....I think there is LOTS of work to be done BEFORE that point when it comes to weight loss.
So....what do you need to do first?
First you need to arm yourself with the facts!
1. Yo-Yo dieting causes health problems
A recent systematic research paper(1) reviewed multiple studies on weight loss and effects of weight loss cycling. Cycling means that people lost weight and regained the weight. In the research studies the results showed that people of higher body weight did have more complications including high blood pressure, insulin resistance and a lower metabolic rate (leading to weight gain).
However the BIG news in this review is that when the researchers controlled for weight cycling they noticed that it was actually individuals who had LOST and REGAINED weight that experienced health conditions and not all individuals of a higher body weight.
They saw that higher body weight did not cause any of the health conditions studied! It became clear it was indeed the WEIGHT CYCLING that caused these problems.
This. is. huge.
It shows that weight loss and weight regain is actually much worse for our health than being at a higher body weight. And even better...being at a higher body weight did not actually increase the risk of these health conditions.
2. Most weight loss diets don't work
You might already know this intuitively or have experienced this. You go on a diet and lose weight. This weight loss lasts for 3, 6, 9 maybe even 12 months. Then you notice after about 1-2 years the weight you lost sneaks it's way back on. It annoys you, frustrates you and makes you cry on the outside and scream on the inside.
The research supports this. What we know now...is that we do not have a proven way for people to lose weight long term. If you lose the weight, 85-90% of people regain the weight back. That means only around 10% of all people who go on weight loss diets successfully keep their weight off.
Those are not good odds! If a roller-coaster advertised it had a 10% safety rating....would you get onto it?
The diet roller-coaster of weight loss/gain has a 10% safety rating....yet we make a decision to buckle in and go for the fad diet/ lifestyle diet/ wellness diet ride.
I see individuals not take the decision to go on a diet very seriously. They do not see the risks and consequences of the process of losing and regaining weight. If we decide to go on a diet we need to keep that in mind, it's not a risk free decision.
3. Even if you lost weight...your body image, self esteem and amount of self love for yourself will stay mostly the same
Something that you might notice when you are on a diet is that when you lose _____lbs you still feel mostly the same as you did before. You are still unhappy with your body, still feel small, you still feel unworthy and not good enough.
This is normal. My clients tell me all the time that when they got down 10lbs they wanted 20lbs. When they got down 20lbs they still felt as though their lashes were not long enough, their personalities not interesting enough, their butt/thighs were still too "big" and their belly not "flat enough."
I've actually had a conversation recently with a friend that said "I think my face is too round and it really bugs me and no matter how "thin" I get it just won't change." We had a quick conversation about genetics...this round face is genetically pre-determined. These are the genetic cards she's been dealt (and in my eyes she is BEAUTIFUL) . HOW do we accept who we are so that we can show up as confident individuals in the world?
Comparison sinks us
Comparison keeps us feeling unworthy and keeps leading us to shift and change our bodies instead of learning to accept the blue print we've been given. And if you are comparing yourself at ____lbs you will be comparing yourself when you are ___lbs lighter.
When you lose weight it changes the shape of your body (usually temporarily) and not how you think, how you feel or how you show up in the world.
Do you still want to set a weight loss goal?
Now that you have this information do you want to set your next weight loss goal? f you write an authentic, truthful goal what would that look like instead?
Ask yourself "what do I really want?"
"Do I want to lose weight?"
"Do I want to sleep better, feel better, have more energy, enjoy food, feel more confident and to improve my health at the weight my body wants to be at?"
If you are ready to look at alternate goals that involve making peace with food, finding joy in eating and balance and love for your weight and body read my next blog post "How to Set a Goal to Achieve What You Really Want. A Guide to Peace, Joy & Balance"
Dieting and weight cycling as risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases: who is really at risk? J.-P. Montani, Y. Schutz and A. G. Dulloo
How dieting makes some fatter: from a perspective of human body composition autoregulation Abdul G. Dulloo*, Jean Jacquet and Jean-Pierre Montani Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2012), 71, 379–38
Persistent Metabolic Adaptation 6 Years After “The Biggest Loser” Competition Erin Fothergill et al. Obesity (2016) 00, 00-00. doi:10.1002/oby.21538