“How do you manage to keep the weight off?” The one million dollar question I often get asked. In my previous post I shared how I lost 9kg and that was indeed over three years ago. I have not only managed to keep the weight down, I even lost a little more. This almost seems against the odds considering that over 90% of dieters put all the weight (sometimes more) back on within a year from stopping with their diet.
Here is the most important reason why it’s working for me: I don’t eat to lose weight anymore. This strategy had me feel hungry, guilty and miserable in the past, so why would I keep doing it? Today I see food as fuel for my body. The better the fuel, the better I feel and the better my body functions. This way of eating is not restrictive, doesn’t leave me hungry and because it makes me feel great, it’s easy to keep it up. Weight loss and keeping the weight off is a wonderful side effect. Even more good news: I have maintained a lower body weight for long enough to change my set point which is the weight my body can easily maintain. So now I can also indulge from time to time without it having a detrimental effect on my weight. I’ve also learned to indulge with things that are REALLY worth it :-), no more mediocre sweets or low quality chocolate. I do love my chocolate which is now 70% or more cocoa.
Another crucial factor is that I do appropriate exercise. Appropriate exercise can be very different for different people. If you are suffering from the effects of chronic stress or physical or emotional distress (this can range from stress at work to having given birth and having sleepless nights), you want to keep exercise at a very low level, going for regular walks and very light muscle building exercise might be the best thing you can do. For someone else the exercise level can be much more demanding, running, spinning, lifting weights, zumba whatever it is that fits with the current level the body can handle. Exercise is an important part of keeping a healthy body, inappropriate or insane amounts can be counter productive and sabotage weight loss efforts.
Let me get back to viewing food as fuel for just a moment because, let me tell you, choosing good fuel is not always intuitive. It’s not as straight forward as putting petrol in your petrol engine car. In the case of you car, it’s pretty obvious that you wouldn’t feed it with diesel (unless it’s a diesel engine). Take FAT for example which has more than twice the calories of protein and carbohydrates. You would think that you better avoid fat when you want to lose weight and you might believe that it’s a good idea to avoid it to keep your cholesterol level low. Well, adding more fat to your eating plan can actually help you lose weight and we also know now that dietary cholesterol does not drive body cholesterol. CARBOHYDRATES have gotten a very bad rap in the media and many diet programs and yet there are super heroes under the carbohydrates that help with satiety, blood sugar control and digestion. So be wise when you chose your fuel, chose things that love your body back, things that make you feel good in the long run rather than those that give you short term pleasure.