Oghomwen (Owen) Jones
The sustainability of weight loss and maintenance is very closely linked to our mindset. The essential keys for success, in addition to the quality of our meals and exercise, are how intentional and patient we are.
To be intentional, we must think about what we are going to eat, and plan our meals. This is closely related to our trips to the grocery store. This was discussed in my previous blog, titled ‘How to avoid temptations when grocery shopping’.
We must intentionally buy and eat moderate amounts of primarily nutrient dense foods and exercise too to successfully lose weight and keep it off. These foods are highly nutritious and are relatively low in calories. Examples are fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and lean meats like poultry and fish. Drinking adequate amounts of water is also crucial.
This is the method that worked for me, 3 decades ago when I lost weight and have kept it off by His Grace. It will work for you too, barring some conditions that can stifle weight loss attempts and must be medically addressed. These include, Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance etc. These and more are discussed in ‘Moderation Is Key’.
Being patient is also crucial in achieving success with weight loss and/or maintenance. It is often the desire for hastened weight loss, that causes us to fall victim to the unsustainable promises made by proponents of various popular diets.
The weight to be lost was likely put on over a long period. Why then is there a desire to lose it so quickly? Patience is a very important virtue here, as it always is. When impatience and haste replace patience, in the quest to lose weight, any loss achieved is often fleeting.
Consider this scenario, there is an invitation to a wedding in 6 weeks time. An invitee, wants to lose weight hastily and so searches the web for a diet that promises quick weight loss. This usually involves food restrictions, which is often carbohydrates. Therein lies the main reason why this approach is unlikely to be sustainable.
The likely outcome after embarking on such a weight loss programme is quick weight loss followed by a rapid regaining of weight lost plus some. In other words people who participate in quick weight loss programs often put on ALL the weight lost plus extra. They more often than not, end up weighing more. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons for the unsustained weight loss.
The main reason that highly restricted carb eating plans are unsustainable is because the very foods ‘forbidden’, are often craved, sometimes uncontrollably. Oftentimes weight is lost on a low carb diet, as the body is forced into ketosis. (Please buy my book ‘Moderation Is Key’ to learn more about ketosis and much more).
Rapid weight loss is also likely to be accompanied by crankiness, headaches and cravings for the carbs given up. The result is usually an uncontrolled, desire for carbs, which will more than likely result in the weight that was lost being regained, plus extra. This can be very frustrating and will likely trigger the start of another weight reduction plan and therefore the yo yo dieting phenomenon.
This dieting refers to a pattern of losing weight, regaining it and then trying to lose it again. There is nothing beneficial about this way of dieting. It can have a negative impact on our body fat percentage at the expense of muscle mass and strength. Again this and much more is discussed further in my book, ‘Moderation Is Key’.
There is absolutely no need to demonise carbohydrates (carbs) in eating plans. Carbohydrates form the building block of many healthy meals. It is their quality that matters. They are not all created equal. There are good and bad carbs. Let’s eat the former and enjoy their various benefits. These include:
High-quality carbs consist of essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and fibre. Fibre helps control fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin; they slow down the digestion of sugars and starches, thus preventing large spikes in these two compounds.
When sugar levels are high and uncontrolled, it can contribute to chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and overeating, resulting in weight gain. In addition, elevated insulin levels cause our cells to become resistant to the hormone insulin.
Fibre also ensures regular bowel movements, which are essential for good health. Examples of these high fibre carbs are veggies like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, mixed greens, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, artichokes, and squash. Legumes such as, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils; and grains such as in whole grain breads, brown rice, pasta, quinoa, and barley. Also fruits like papaya, mangoes, oranges, pineapples, peaches, apples, pears, and berries. These are all healthy, and we will do our bodies well to eat a variety of them in moderation.
In summary to achieve sustainable weight loss and/or maintenance, we must eat intentionally and be patient. By eating moderate amounts of healthy foods combined with exercise and being patient, we are likely to see the weight desired gradually lost.