Whole 30, Paleo, Military Diet – Lose 10 pounds in 3 days, Complete Guide to the Keto Diet – those are just a few of the popular weight loss diets this time of year (and throughout the year) via Pinterest. I get it – it’s a new year and you want change – and that change is to lose weight and keep it off. It is the number one New Year’s resolution, to lose weight. It is for good reason that people want to lose weight: more than 150 million Americans are overweight or obese, and across the globe an estimated 1.5 billion are affected. Struggling with obesity is the problem of our time.
Search all over social media and there are people trying to give you the answers you are looking for. They have the quick fix, the detox diet, the latest crazy trend of the time. I even saw this morning a couple of food bloggers (one is a dietitian) offering up a meal plan of sorts – 21 days of healthy meals, recipes, and even a shopping list. Now that ought to do it! Yeah, no. I can’t tell you how many people come in to my office and want a meal plan – Yes, I can make you a meal plan, but what does that solve? NADA. Absolutely nada. Are you going to go to the store and buy all the ingredients? Who’s going to make the food for you when you get home late at night and don’t feel like cooking? The meal plan is NOT the answer. Not to mention it’s the one thing I detest (just ask my co-worker. Hate it). I can teach YOU how to make your own meal plan. Now that’s more of what I like to do. Listen, I see countless number of patients in my office for weight loss and I’ll be the first to tell you that nutrition majors need to take more psychology classes. I almost NEVER, I repeat, I almost NEVER am teaching a patient how to eat what is right and healthy during my sessions. What I am doing is being a cheerleader and a coach and trying to get to the bottom of why people are doing what they’re doing. I do not have the answers, nor do I claim to have the answers. But I will tell you this – food is not the underlying issue – it goes much deeper. And I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no crazy fad “detox” diet, is going to solve your problems.
So yes, the New Year is a great time to re-group and figure out what needs to be changed in your life. Throw out the concept of a resolution and start working on real everyday changes you can make in your life. My yoga teacher, Marianne Wells, just posted on this same concept today – great minds do think alike, eh? Change happens one moment at a time, not all at once. Think of practical ways you can implement strategies towards achieving what it is that you want. If weight loss is what that is, start breaking it down, one change at a time. Attack the source of the problem and the symptom will go away.
I’m going to throw out a lot of possible areas that you could change (from patients I’ve counseled). But what I recommend is for you to sit back and really reflect on where it is that YOU need to change moving forward. Small changes, big difference:
-Drinking sugary drinks (smoothies and juices included – yes I said it. Worst.trend.ever!!)
-Drinking more water
-Check your alcohol intake – that can lead to increased eating (typically)
-Cutting back on the frequency of meals eaten out
-Getting your kids in the kitchen to help with the meal prep
-Meal prepping on the weekend to cut back on the time needed to cook dinner during the week
-Portion control (overeating carbs and not eating any non-starchy vegetables)
-Try a new fruit and/or vegetable each week.
-Mindless eating (typically late at night).
-Finding an exercise you like to do – it doesn’t have to be a chore – maybe you try a new exercise each week as well!
-Move more – we sit way TOO much (make it specific, maybe aim to walk 10 minutes at lunch)
-Have set meal times (so you can know when you’re mindlessly eating)
-Self-care: taking 10 minutes every day just for yourself (reading, taking a calming bath, etc).
-Monitor your sleep patterns (how much sleep are you getting each night? When do you turn off your tablet/computer, etc?)
I could keep going, but as I said, start reflecting to see where you need to implement changes. And more importantly, be more accepting of yourself. Sometimes we are our own worst critics – we judge and at times can be too harsh on ourselves. Take each day as it comes being present in all that you are doing, choose to be grateful, and remember to strive for progress, not perfection!