Your body is a closed energy system.
If you consume more energy than you expend, you will gain weight. If you consume less than you expend, you will lose weight. As a closed energy system, it is bound to fundamental laws of thermodynamics. There are contributing factors to weight management like stress levels, sleep and hormones, but none bigger than this simple concept.
When taking on new clients I am often asked if I write meal plans.
I don’t and there is a reason for that.
It’s pretty unlikely that a person will adhere to a meal plan. They might, for a while, and then stop doing it.
This is because we are very resistant to change of any kind, even change that benefits us in the long run. Psychologically, if something is forbidden for us to have, we will want that thing even more. So if a food item or food group is disallowed, we will crave it even more.
What I recommend is for the person to enter the habit of becoming observant. I tell myself “if I eat a certain way, I accept the outcome of what I’m about to consume”. Your outward appearance and your internal thought processes are dictated by the things you do repeatedly.
– If you seek out negativity, you will be negative
– If you hang around people that are assholes, you will be an asshole
– If you routinely seek out positivity, you will be a positive person
I can go on here.
In regard to what you eat it is easy for me to say “you should eat this and not that” because a lot of the time what you like to eat is dictated by your emotions. We like the way certain things make us feel and food is no exception. The foods that are the most palatable to us are the ones that we will have regularly, because instant gratification and the release of feelgood hormones like serotonin and dopamine are things that we will seek out all the time. Especially in this day and age where we can get caught up in the daily grind and feel like we are entitled to a reward.
Some people whose interests benefit themselves might tell you that certain foods should be avoided altogether.
This is a fallacy.
Life is for living and is meant to be enjoyed and if you hate what you eat all the time, it’s probably making you miserable and you don’t even know it. This is another side effect of being numbed to everyday life where nothing ever changes.
Instead, learn to be mindful.
“I want to lose weight”.
My first response is “no, you want to lose body-fat”. You do not want to lose muscle, ever.
The first step is to measure where you are now (weigh in, do girth measurements, whatever you’d like to do) and then keep track of what you eat for 2 to 3 weeks.
Did you gain weight? Eat less or move more. Identify opportunities in your regimen that you can make small changes in, little by little, so the change is not overwhelming to you. make them small enough that you hardly notice them.
Did you lose weight? Be careful that you’re not dropping weight too fast. If not and your scale weight is gradually coming down, keep doing what you’re doing. Accept that if you eat a little more, you’ll gain at the scales.
Small changes over time will add up to long term success.
Be mindful. Know that every action you take has a consequence. Gonna pick up the chocolate bar (my favourite is a Pixie Caramel) then know that the bar is worth about 250 calories and it will be added to your daily total. You will gain weight as a consequence.
Get yourself off auto-pilot and exhibit some accountability for the choices that you make.
THEN you will win.