I have a long history of sucking at writing intros so let’s dive right into the main reason why people regain weight after losing it. It’s because the methods that they used to lose weight were unsustainable. As I said heaps of times before, if the methods are unsustainable, the results are unsustainable too.
When people go Ah fugg this, it’s time I stop doing dumb shit with my diet and get in shape, they typically do an overnight 180-degree turn — from being a complete couch potato eating an ice cream cone the size of a baby’s head every day to a diet-conscious workout warrior training 5-6x/week.
James Fell once wrote:
“It’s damn hard, from a practical and time-management perspective, to do an overnight 180-degree turn from a highly processed diet to a healthy one.”
No shit, Sherlock. If it was easy, the world would already be skinny.
Radical, overnight changes are too difficult for most people. The more rigid the approach, the greater the risk for unsustainability and weight regain. I feel like you would appreciate an example.
Say you jump on a keto diet. Why keto? Because in my non-zealous opinion, it’s a stupid diet (although I don’t care if you want to try it):
So you embark on keto. From eating, say, 300-500 grams of carbs per day, you’re now left with no more than 50 grams. Basically, only leafy greens, a few tomatoes, cucumbers, and a dessert out of cauliflower (I feel your pain just typing this).
Not only you’re not allowed to eat most of the good stuff — fruits, grains, cakes, cookies, chocolate, etc. — but you’re also facing another issue — what do you do with restaurants, events, and parties? How do you handle those? Do you just don’t eat anything while out or do you decline social events altogether and pretend that looking out of the window is as fun as going out with your friends?
Do you see the problem here? Radically changing everything about your lifestyle overnight is unsustainable. Quoting Alan Aragon:
“ Adherence is everything. A program or plan is only as good as its ability to be followed for the length of time intended.”
Radical changes don’t teach you how to go about your diet when you’re in the real world. And if you don’t learn anything in the process, you’re going to regain the weight.
But as usual, I got up this morning and realized I have a solution for ya. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, change your mindset. You gotta go from:
Hell yeah! Behavior changes. Now we are talking. Focus on building sustainable habits. Because if you do that, you’ve already won. If you have healthy habits in place, you will maintain weight loss.
So go over the list of healthy habits below, pick 2–4 bullet points, and work on incorporating them into your lifestyle for a month. If you need to, commit to those 2-4 habits for more than a month. When it comes to the pace of building new habits, do it at a pace you can tolerate.
Track your weight (daily weigh-ins), take circumference measurements and progress photos as you’re getting the habits down:
- No alcohol (because there’s no healthy amount of alcohol).
- Eat out 50% less (1-3 meals out max because the cook doesn’t give a flying fugg about your calorie intake and he/she is going to reward you with loads of butter in those mashed potatoes).
- Lift weights 2-3x/week (because lifting weights preserves muscle mass as your diet takes care of the fat loss).
- Establish a consistent day-to-day meal pattern (meal frequency and meal timing).
- Eliminate snacking (try not to eat outside of your regular day-to-day meal pattern).
- No eating with TV, computer, or phone (cos mindful eating, you know).
- Walk at least 10k steps per day (cos lifting weights a coupla of times a week doesn’t mean you can sloth outside the gym).
- Eat 30-45 grams of fiber each day (it’s good for ya and it keeps you full so more whole grains, fruits, veggies, etc.).
- Have 30-45 grams of protein at each meal (because muscle preservation).
- Switch from regular soda drinks to diet soda (yup, artificial sweeteners are safe unless you are a lab rat fed with unrealistic to human amounts of AS).
- Eat fibrous veggies at most, if not all, meals (if you don’t like veggies, eat them anyway).
- Eat fruit before each meal (if you don’t like fruits, eat them anyway).
- Eat more single-ingredient foods (rice consists of mostly carbs, cookies are not, chicken breast is mostly protein, bacon is not).
So work on a few healthy habits, do them on most days (perfection isn’t the goal, consistency is), and build upon them over time. And even if you don’t lose weight in the first few months, that’s okay. You’ve already won because you’re healthier and fitter for it regardless.
So that’s how you actually lose weight and keep it off — by focusing on behavior change and developing healthy habits at a gradual pace. Over time, these newly adopted habits — a healthy diet and weight lifting — will just become part of who you are. No more yoyo weight loss.
And remember, sustainable results happen only with sustainable methods.
And if you want to bypass all of the nonsensical weight loss information and avoid common beginner mistakes, apply for the 1:1 Coaching Program where my goal is to be at your side the entire way, helping you to avoid scams and pitfalls that most people fall into.
Originally published by me on Medium on September 7, 2023