By Jillian Mc Mullen
I hear this a lot -specifically from people who are reassuring themselves that their two-pound weight loss after six weeks of hard effort is paying off.
“At least I’ll keep it off.”
“It’s better than nothing.”
“It’s not healthy if I lose it too fast.”
“I don’t wanna get too skinny anyway.”
“It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.”
“Slow and steady wins.”
Says who? Let me ask you – when you lost weight at a super slow snail pace, did you keep it off any easier or longer than when you lost it faster? How about your motivation? Maybe for the first few pounds, you were able to coax yourself into keeping at it, but I’m willing to bet those little one-liners didn’t do much for you when it was time to get on your favorite pair of skinny jeans.
As with many things in the weight loss world, I have a bit of an unconventional take on this topic. I just don’t agree with the idea that slower equals more effective. Fact is, most people who attempt to lose weight will regain it back once they quit. And it has nothing to do with how fast or slow they lost it in the first place. But you know what does depend on the rate of weight loss? Your motivation. Don’t believe me?
Think back to your most successful diet. The one you lost the most weight at. Do you remember how much you lost that first couple of weeks? I’d bet money that it was more than four or five pounds. It’s human nature. When we see measurable results, we stick to the plan – no matter how difficult it is. Who the heck wants to continue skipping pizza night and waking up at 6 a.m. to exercise just for a pound by next weigh in? Not me.
The biggest thing that matters is what you do to maintain those killer results off after you’ve got yourself there. Are you able to? Listen, if your metabolism physiologically just isn’t designed to weigh eighty-five pounds less because of years of yo-yo dieting and/or bad genetics, that is going to be the reason you can’t keep it off, regardless of what you do. You might be able to spend two hours a day at the gym while restricting your calories to 1000 per day, but even the most consistent and willful person will eventually have to give that up. It’s not realistic.
Here is also where what you do to get there matters. Because hear me out, I’m not advising anyone to crash diet their way to their dream weight and then follow an amazing lifestyle plan to keep it off. But it is OK to give yourself a good two-week jump start to de-bloat followed by a non-calorie restrictive plan that works for you. It’s important that you get that last part – non-calorie restrictive. I’m convinced that restricting calories is the single most damaging cause of weight regain in today’s obesity epidemic. We’ve all been taught that consuming less calories will mean weight loss. And it does. Except it also means you’re going to slow your metabolism down over time, permanently. That’s the worst thing I can think of for long-term weight maintenance. So don’t do it.
Some of you caught that “two-week jump start” part and are now wondering what that actually means. I got you! So I will close out with seven things you can do, starting now, to get this thing going. And I’ll end with a few of my top diet recommendations so you can continue on.
-Cut the carbohydrates to no more than 80-100 grams per day. Carbs are stored with water and cause excess bloating.
-Cut out processed and refined junk foods. No white flours, please!
-Increase your water intake to at least 64-80 ounces per day or preferably, half your body weight in ounces. I love these S’well water bottles that keep your water super cold all day. Water is a natural diuretic, appetite suppressant, metabolism, and energy booster.
-Increase your daily activity to 7500 steps per day. I recommend tracking your steps with a simple pedometer such as this one.
-Cut out all sugar-sweetened beverages including soda, sweet tea, etc.
-Cut out fried foods. This includes fast food restaurants.
-Consider a short natural cleanse and/or probiotics. Contact me for options as not all are created equal in the supplement industry. This can also remove any excess bloat you got going on.
If you aren’t sure what long-term diet is for you, you may be interested in reading about the Mediterranean diet, Whole 30, or even Intermittent Fasting. Bottom line, it comes down to what is right for you and this season of your life right now.
P.S. If you’re looking for online support with like-minded women striving to live a healthier lifestyle, you may be interested in joining my free support group here.
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Jillian McMullen, RDN, CSOWM, LDN