It may seem surprising, but as a nutritionist, my busy season starts in early spring (not in January, like most assume). Many people who come to see me are looking for help with their diet and lifestyle before the summer season starts. I wish I had a quick fix for everyone looking to shed a few pounds before summer, but sadly that’s just not the case.
The truth is, yo-yo dieting is really hard on your body, and research shows that staying at exactly the weight you are at right now is much healthier than losing 20 pounds and gaining it back again. So, no only do most diets fail to help us lose weight, but they’re bad for us too.
But, there is hope! You can change your diet and lifestyle so you can have more energy, feel great, and for many, lose weight permanently! It just takes a bit longer…and you’ve got to do some inner work while doing your outer work.
The first few steps are the most important ones…and frequently they’re the ones that are missed. We need to look at our diet and see how it makes us feel…then we can learn how to eat for our own bodies. No expert or book can do this work for you; you’ve got to do it for yourself. But I’m happy to guide you, and here are the first steps:
1. Recognize emotional eating for what it is, a way to cope with emotions that need to be felt and experienced. Notice when you feel this way and how often it comes up. Seeking outside help (like a trained councilor or therapist) can really help with this process.
2. Cravings – see them as the language of your body, not as something that you need to “power through”. See my article “Cravings” for more info.
3. Evening eating – This is a big culprit in weight gain (or hinders weight loss). Learn what it’s telling you - Is it emotional eating? A craving for a certain food? Have you eaten enough throughout the day? You may need to enlist the help of a nutritionist for help balancing this out.
These steps may not be what you’re expecting and may not help you lose 10 pounds in a few weeks, but they are important steps into creating a new and balanced relationship with food. We all need this as a community, we need to love and enjoy food again, and that can help bring us to a healthier place.