Do you know someone who is currently on a fad diet? Have you ever been on a fad diet? Are you currently on, or thinking about starting, a fad diet? I am going to urge you to read this article. My goal of this article is to not poo-poo or prop-up any specific diet plan(s), but rather to hopefully create some awareness around a concept I see as oft missed in the nutrition world.
I have had the opportunity in my career in the health industry to work with hundreds of people who wanted to either lose weight, gain weight, or alter their body composition in some fashion. I have also had the opportunity to learn about more "nutrition plans" and diet fads than I care to remember... Now, before I go any further, I want to say that fad diets can 100% work for helping you achieve your goal. In fact, they often times are the fastest way to do so. So why the hell am I wasting my time writing this article...? Just as I have had the opportunity to learn about handfuls of fad diets, I have also had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing those amazing short term results quickly fade away.
If I had to ask anyone who has intentionally lost 15+ pounds, I truly believe nearly 100% would say that keeping the weight off is/was harder than losing the weight in the first place. Why is this??? My opinion is that in setting your weight loss goal (if you even did that), you went straight to the fad diet that either provided you prepared meals you didn't need to think about, told you exactly what to make and how much to eat, insisted on a 100% strictly followed protocol, placed you in a large caloric deficit, urged you to drink only juice for 1 week, and/or some combination of all of these. Never did any of these fad diet plans help you, or provide the adequate guidance or timeframe to develop healthy "skills" or "habits." Skills and habits take time to develop and nurture. They do NOT create a quick fix; however, they DO create a foundation for a long term solution. And this is where the difficulty usually ensues...
We want results, and we want them now. Again, I know for a fact you will lose weight faster by immediately purging your house of anything that contains even a single carb and going 100% keto. Not questioning that one bit. In fact I think working towards a keto diet can be an exceptional journey to embark upon; however, I encourage those I work with to build their foundation first, and that comes from developing habits that can be used for your lifetime, that you are proud to emulate in front of your kids, and that you can build upon for chasing whatever it is in your life you desire.
I do an exercise with every Thrive member who is looking for guidance on losing weight called "From Goal to Action." To summarize this exercise, we start with SMART goal then work back to the "skills" they will need to achieve that goal, and then to the habits they need to cultivate to develop the necessary skills. In the actual exercise, we then take it one step further by creating a single action you can do daily to cultivate the habit. I 100% believe in this methodology. It is not the fastest or sexiest, but by golly it works. More importantly I know I am helping those who are willing to trust this process create lifelong habits and skills that will make them healthier for the rest of their lives. As a bonus, these habits and actions often times bleed over to their loved ones, hence creating a healthier future for all.
For anyone looking to go through this process, I would love to help guide you through. This is my passion, and largely why I left my 9-5 job as a staff physical therapist to start Thrive HQ. As a little taste, I want to share with you one of my favorite "habits" and single "action" for Thrive members to develop.
For the next week, your habit to begin cultivating is: "To eat slowly and intentionally." The single action I am going to encourage you to try is to: "Set your fork/spoon/etc down between every bite of food. Take a breath after chewing and swallowing. Then pick up your utensil for you next bite. Repeat."
As I tell all those I work with, don't take yourself too seriously. Be ready to laugh a little when you realize how challenging a habit that sounds so easy to do, is actually so difficult to perform. Again, NOT SO SERIOUS!! Think of these actions you do as "practice." You ARE going to mess up and make mistakes.
Habits DO NOT happen overnight. Consistent and frequent practice is what leads to habits, skills, and goals you desire.
Interested in starting your own weight loss journey with Thrive HQ? Reach out to Dr. Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 651-383-2626, to schedule your free consult.