It is well known that it is relatively simple to lose weight, but rather it is keeping it off that is problematic. This is why when I see influencers and the like, showing their 8-week success stories, I don’t pay them any attention. There is nothing impressive about a program that can induce weight loss at 8 weeks. Show me a weight loss program that is successful at 5 years and you have my attention!
And to add to our weight loss woes, we are also now contending with a frustrating campaign of mis-information from the anti-diet warriors, who are taking their unscientific views to the extreme. According to these wellness warriors, intentional weight loss is damaging to our health, weighing yourself causes eating disorders, all diets are bad, obesity isn’t a health issue and tracking calories is a satanic ritual (I may have made that last one up).
Now if this was indeed the case, there would surely be a plethora of research supporting this? But it’s actually quite the opposite. There are literally thousands of studies showing the benefits of even modest amounts of weight loss and there are even more studies showing the dangers of obesity.
And just recently, there was a very cool study looking at the characteristics of people who succeeded in long-term weight loss. Guess what one of the main traits is in people who successfully lose weight and keep it off? Drum roll please……Continuous monitoring.
But what is continuous monitoring you ask?
Continuous monitoring includes things like:
- tracking calories or macros
- dietary restriction either via dietary intervention or portion control
GASP!!! All the habits the woke brigade want you to stop doing!
And this is what is so immensely frustrating to me. Much of the anti-diet rhetoric is emotional clap trap. And emotions are transient and fickle things. Never mind how often they are wrong. You might not like tracking or weighing yourself (I have literally yelled at my scales one time haha) but doing these things actually do help us. We have a CHOICE about how we let these things affect us and we have a CHOICE about how much they influence our behaviours. But they are simply tools that we use and they are tools that work.
There are of course many more characteristics associated with those who lose weight and keep it off, but it’s so interesting that the continuous monitoring was a continual theme.
Key characteristics of those that were successful at long-term weight loss included:
- body weight
- calorie tracking
- portion sizes
- dietary restriction (i.e. low carb, low fat)
- meal planning
- looking at menus before eating out
- bringing own food to events
- perpetual goal setting
- endured challenges i.e. lack of time, stress, emotional eating
- structure and planning helped them overcome the challenges
- strongly intrinsically motivated
- fully immersed themselves into the change
- no start and stop date
- completely new mindset and new person
Conversely, there were some key characteristics of those who didn’t keep the weight off including:
- overall lack of planning and prioritising to succeed
- lack of self monitoring
- feeling deprived due to dietary over-restriction
- found it difficult to prioritise tracking and dedicating time to exercise
- found it hard to prioritise weight loss above the needs/wishes of their peers and gave into social pressure
- found it hard to not give in to urges and temptations
- turned to food to cope with stress and boredom
- weight fluctuations and everyday stressors consistently decreased amortisation
- being unable to maintain their weight loss negatively affected self-esteem and lead to secret eating and bingeing.
Can you relate to either of these groups? I know I can!
And I’d love to hear what keeps you on track and focused during a weight loss phase?