I was a roly-poly kid, a squishy teen, and a squashier young adult (ages 18 to 36). Like most of us, I’ve yo-yo’d through a bazillion diets and a million more workouts with the likes of Jane Fonda; Lilias, Yoga and You; and Jazzercise, but I never created a permeant loss for myself.
Never even came close.
But guess what? (You might want to sit down.) The world has moved on from ye diets of old. We’re in a new year – inside a young century – and we know a lot more about how to lose weight. And stay tuned, because there’s exciting news on the forever-loss front as well.
Even when I was little, I was big. I started to balloon around the age of seven.
I was teased in school, of course, but was bummed to see that even the adults got in on the action. From coworkers I’d hear, “You’d be so pretty if you’d lose weight.”
From a family member when seeing me in my new red robe at Christmas, “You look like Santa.”
But by my early 40s, I lost 55-pounds (with toddlers running around); fast-forward 17 years and I’ve kept the original loss off. (No yo-yo-ing and I’m currently 59.)
In a nutshell, it’s not in the diet-world’s best interest for you and me to figure out how to have a forever-loss. So, we have to figure it out ourselves.
Over the last 17 years, I pieced together a map that details how to create a long-term, permeant weight loss.
Thanks to two masterpiece books, Atomic Habits by James Clear and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, along with a super cool study on habits out of England, we have a more detailed understanding about how successful long-term change happens and how habit is the force behind so much good in our lives, but especially for a long-term weight loss.
James Clear tells us, “We’re not human beings. We’re habit beings.”
Given that, let’s say that strong embedded habits – that’ll have our backs forever – are the foundation of our house. And that new mindsets and super skills are the well-built house’s frame.
So, based on our smart home, this is what I figured out: smart eating habits + powerful new mindsets + precision super skills put you and me on the path to a forever weight loss.
Let me give you a handful of examples.
The pain is real. Shopping at Costco is only for the most skilled shopper because it’s too easy to run in for red grapes and come out with a double kayak.
But I’ve created the habit of going to Costco two or three times a month for the following:
Now, here’s the real trick: besides shopping at Costco, I made more habits for myself like I stay out of the bakery and candy aisle entirely. Haven’t seen them in years.
As you might have noticed, our culture is riddled with come-hither food. So, save yourself by asking the strongest of questions (that I use all the time), “Do I want the donuts or do I want to be a size 10”? (This sentence whisks me out of inappropriate-eating land – cookies, candy, ice cream – in a blink.) Best of all, the more you use this question, the stronger it gets.
Relying on willpower to take us to our preferred weight is so last century. It went the way of yo-yo dieting.
And good riddance.
I always carry a cold-tote packed with healthy bites and take the tote everywhere when I’m out and about. In my cold-tote you’ll likely find a hard-boiled egg, mini whole wheat banana muffins, a sliced apple, a small yogurt cup and so forth. I usually take two or three of the tiny bites with me.
With your cold-tote’s riding shotgun, you’ll never succumb to the donut shop and the fast-not-food drive thrus again.
Instead of willpower (which never worked long-term anyway), we’re replacing the vintage method of yo-yo-ing with seriously upleveled habits, mindsets, and super skills.
It’s 2024 and we’re jumping in the brand-new chapter that’s unfolding in our lives.
Have you ever wondered why weight maintenance has seemed so elusive? Do you blame yourself for a “lack of willpower?” What do you think about creating strong habits that serve you? Do you think our understanding of weight loss grows from decade to decade?