Weight loss. Why is it so hard? The never-ending desire to lose weight no matter how much or how little. It seems so elusive and difficult for so many. No matter who I speak with, when I mention that I am a nutritionist, someone will always say, “I need to lose weight”. What I find so interesting that most people know what they need to do to lose weight. The problem is they just can’t do it. Here are 3 obstacles that usually keep people stuck and 3 solutions on how to move past them.
OBSTACLE #1: Mindless Eating
I find that most people lack an awareness of their habits and behaviors around food. Think about it. Do you know how many times you walk into the kitchen and open the pantry or refrigerator and grab something to eat, especially after dinner when you are no longer hungry? How about how many times you eat what’s left on your kid’s plate after you’ve finished your meal? Or how many times you walk by your co-workers desk and grab a handful of M & M’s, pretzels or whatever happens to be in the jar? These mindless acts of eating are often the stuff that people don’t even pay attention to and can’t understand why the weight is either coming on or not coming off.
Solution: Pay attention to whether you are experiencing HEAD HUNGER or STOMACH HUNGER. Do you think you are hungry or are you hungry? We all know what hunger feels like. Create an awareness of what goes in your mouth during the course of the day when its not an actual meal or planned snack. Once you start to become aware of how much extra goes in on a daily basis it will be easier to change this behavior and eliminate potentially hundreds of extra calories by the end of the week.
OBSTACLE #2: Restrictive Dieting
Going on a restrictive diet is the worst thing you can do to try to lose weight. Just thinking about possibly feeling deprived sends most people running for the nearest buffet table. These diets usually involve low fat or worse, fat-free processed foods. Restrictive diets are not maintainable long-term. This is a huge reason why people fail to stay on a diet plan and yo-yo diet. Low calorie diets or diets that remove food groups will, no doubt, set you up for an eating disaster because at some point you will go off the diet plan that you went on to lose weight.
Solution: Eat! Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Eat 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day depending on how long your day is. Find good-tasting, healthy whole foods that you like and make you feel good both physically and mentally since our brain plays a huge part in our satiety. Be sure not to wait longer than 4-6 hours between meals and snacks. Buy a great cookbook and find ways to make your favorite foods healthy and delicious!
OBSTACLE #3: You Think it’s About Willpower
I hear over and over again “I have no willower” or “I wish I had willpower. If I did I would be able to stick to a diet and lose weight.” I am here to tell you that weight loss has little or nothing to do with willpower. Willpower, even if you did have it is short-term. It doesn’t last the rest of your life.
Solution: Change your way of thinking about food and eating. Focus on creating maintainable healthy habit changes that you can incorporate into your everyday life. The definition of a habit is: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Once you adopt healthier habits you will never have to worry about having willpower.
[Lisa will share 3 more obstacles and 3 more solutions in a future post]
About the guest columnist: Lisa Goldberg is a nutritionist and weight loss coach with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. You can register for Lisa’s FREE Right Mind, Right Weight Online Summit by clicking here. Lisa is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Certified Dietician/Nutritionist licensed by New York State since 2001. Lisa specializes in personalized weight loss coaching, emotional eating, mindful eating, lifestyle and habit/behavior change. She helps her clients create the changes they desire so they can lose weight for good. Lisa also counsels clients on overall wellness, restoring health from chronic disease states, sports nutrition, and vitamin supplementation. Lisa has her private practice in New York City.