The four main factors that influence our weight and how we feel are*: Nutrition: 75%, Environment: 11%, Hereditary: 8%, Stress: 6%. (*Source: www.euro.who.int), so, good news is – we can change a lot through a change in lifestyle! Through science, we have learnt that Nutrition plays a major role when it comes to not just Weight Management, but also our Heart Health, Energy Levels, Immunity & Aging process, Skin Health and so on. Losing weight does not always equal health if balanced nutrition is missing! Most diets you may hear about will usually restrict calorie intake or types of food you can consume. This means, your body may still not be receiving the nutrients it needs – not just for a healthy weight, but for a healthy life – strong immune system, healthy bones, healthy digestion, healthy heart, healthy skin and so on…
Losing weight can be hard. Right? It is a FACT, actually!
Statistics show that among those who succeed in losing weight, two-thirds return to their original weight within a year. Within 3-5 years only 3% of those who have lost weight maintain this weight loss. Of the remaining 97%, 15% return to their original weight and the majority (82%) put on even more weight. These statistics may alarm you. Furthermore, contributing factors to these statistics are:
- Setting unrealistic targets,
- Lack of support and encouragement (See my article on The Power Of Accountability),
- Weight loss without learning healthy habits to keep the weight off in the long-term.
Goal Setting & Habits
While goal setting is important for attempting to achieve pretty much anything in life, it is just as much so when it comes to weight loss. We need the clear vision for ourselves that excites us. We need to get emotion right into it. When goals are not set – there is nothing to strive for. When goals are unrealistic – we will soon get disappointed when those goals are not reached. Just how many times I saw a disappointed face when “only” two pounds were lost, because client really wanted four pounds (bless them!), despite the fact goals we set together in the first place were never more than two pounds per week.
Then, sometimes life just takes over, I understand. It happens to us all with many things. But when health is as important as it is – getting it right, developing the right habits and having patience until those habits are made solid – is the key. We need to be prepared that it is going to take time and we need to give it time as we give time to mastering any skill in life. As we are trying to master any skill, we will have many challenges and set backs, but it is about picking ourselves up and trying again until we get better and then, ultimately, really good at it. Same is with our health habits, we must keep working on them until they become part of us.
If weight loss is seen as a lifestyle change, we have a lot more chance to survive stormy seas. Life’s circumstances usually are the ones that caused weight gain in the first place, so, we must do our best to stay on the course when going gets tough, when life throws in a curve ball. We will gain less weight than we did in the past in similar circumstance, which is a WIN in itself. I always advise my clients to stay with me during Christmas season and, come January, many do not necessarily lose weight (and many times that is not the plan either), but, instead, for the first time, they do not gain weight either. In the past, they would have gained as much as a half a stone (3 kgs) or more. Remember, when going gets tough, tough get going! So, be strong and stay on course!
I do believe that, ideally, we should never put our health and health goals on “the back burner”. Abandoning all the habits you worked so hard on establishing, means going back to starting point and, psychologically, perhaps even further back. Continuously repeating the same pattern may make us feel like a failure, which can impact negatively our own belief system. Also, worth remembering that energy and vitality that comes from making healthy choices is exactly the energy we need to handle life’s pressures and challenges. We can not solve the problem with the same mind that created it. And, as life is full of challenges, learning not to abandon the health plan when going gets tough, whilst it is a challenge, it is also key to our breakthrough.
The Knowledge is King
So, once we have a clear goal that gives us the vision of ourselves that really excites us and creates a desire to keep going, it is equally important to make sure we commit ourselves to gaining the knowledge about health and nutrition, how our bodies and metabolism work, knowledge that will last a lifetime and goes beyond weight loss, but learning about skills and right choices that will also sustain our weight loss and help us with weight maintenance for a long time. This is a true power. So, if you are following a certain plan, is education being offered as part of that plan?
My aim has always been to empower my clients with at least fundamentals of a healthy, active lifestyle and, in many cases, this education continues way beyond the basics of nutrition. I used to enjoy running Weight Loss Challenges, educational 12 week courses, for this very same reason. Thanks to those, I have gained some long-term clients and friends for life over time. These days, to be able to offer my services beyond just the local area, and to be able to offer daily support, I really enjoy our ongoing Eat Clean Challenge support group. They all focus on an ongoing education and support and results have been amazing as support runs every day for those who committed themselves to this level of accountability.
Education element is extremely important. Participants learn how to incorporate Balanced Nutrition into their daily life and eat healthier in order to feel better and manage their weight in a fun and informative way. Diet is not healthy unless it is balanced and Balanced Nutrition is so much more than eating your 5-a-day! It needs to take into account calories, right balance of protein with fats & carbs, glycemic levels, water consumption, to name a few…
So, never underestimate the power of learning and please do commit yourself to learning every day. Always remain a student! You may even want to teach and help others one day and it may give you an incredible pleasure making a difference in other people’s lives and health. Even if it is just teaching and making your own family healthy. What a legacy!
The Power of Support and Accountability
Last but not the least – support and encouragement of the people around us are so important to help us achieve our goals in life. If we take an example of successful athletes… They all have their support group that helps them stay on top of their game; team of people who help to support, encourage and motivate them, that help with their nutrition, strategy, fitness, etc. How important is it to support our children at school and in general, so they can grow into confident, happy, even driven and accomplished adults? The same applies to weight loss and health.
We all need support at some point. As an example, sometimes I work with clients whose partners might not be sharing their zest for improving health and it can be a very serious challenge for my clients, one that can easily sabotage their success if their resolve is not strong enough.
I believe, the real advantage to what I do, apart from one on one coaching, once the nutritional plan has been established, is the community element, the most enjoyable and fun element too – a group support that helps participants stay focused by engaging with like-minded people who want to live healthier life. This could be our CobraFIT Bath community or various Eat Clean Challenge support groups. Research suggest that group support is the most effective method for achieving weight loss and weight management and can triple your success efforts.
So, dieting alone is not enough. There are so many levels at which we need to play to succeed in our health efforts and, if you have a healthy, balanced plan that is approved by a nutritional expert, support group or buddy and a continued education programme, you are on the right track to a healthy, active lifestyle. Here is to you and your health!
And if you would like help with your weight loss and health goals, please do feel free to reach out to me, just drop me a line!