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Thursday
Apr302015

7 Unconventional Strategies for Weight Loss Success

 

We’re often tempted to treat weight loss like a simple formula-based endeavor.

When we do this, cut out that, add this, and reduce that, success is inevitable - right?

In the world of human foibles and personalities, however, the picture is a little more complicated. It’s why motivation matters, why mindset matters, why the odd and unusual, shot-in-the-dark strategy can sometimes be the linchpin for a whole process.

Over the years, I’ve coached many clients who were diligent and intelligent, who showed up and gave their full effort, but some small aspect of their mindset or lifestyle became a hangup. Something - sometimes an element not even related to their health - was holding them back. The answer? We got creative, and they enjoyed the full measure of their success.

Think for a moment about the personal practices and offbeat advice that have had the most impact on you, and check out these ten unconventional ideas that may boost your weight loss momentum.

Sink your scale.

Ah, the scale…the great and powerful scale. It’s the only fixture (besides a mirror) that can put us in a bad mood just by doing its job. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked clients to stop weighing themselves so much (daily) I probably wouldn’t need a paycheck any longer.

The only thing the scale is good for on a daily basis is telling us how much the world weighs on our shoulders. What a way to start your day!

To avoid this nagging mood-crusher, one of our fitness professionals actually had his client put her bathroom scale at the bottom of her swimming pool and text him a photo of it sitting under several feet of water each morning to show him she wasn’t hyper-focused on her daily weight!

Guess what. She’s one of LTWL’s most popular success stories. The fact is, a simple scale can’t come close to measuring all the changes happening within the body when it’s finally being nourished and rested in a way that allows fat to melt off. Stop watching the scale, and start noticing how you feel.

Go on a [media] fast.

Another odd piece of advice I’ve regularly given my clients in the past is to ignore every weight loss and health message from popular media sources for at least a few months. That's how long it generally takes for folks to truly find their behavioral rhythm for optimal function.

Yep, a media fast can be remarkably effective at simplifying an individual’s change process. Too often, the mainstream media dishes out generalized claims that are extrapolated from observational research (a type of research not well-suited for drawing cause & effect conclusions).

Headlines seem to change their tune daily (e.g. the value/danger of eggs or red meat). The back and forth effect can be flat-out confusing for a person trying to find what works best for him/her. There’s a time and place for more information from media sources, but I’ve rarely seen it work positively as people build momentum on their paths to success.

Customize your “feed.”

The power of social influence cannot be underestimated, and you can use it for your advantage. When setting up your Twitter or Facebook news feeds, take control of who influences you. Only “follow” the people and organizations that inspire you to become as healthy as you can be.

Think about how many times each day or week you open up your news feed and feel influenced, whether by friends splurging on junk food after a workout or by a healthier update from one who’s showcasing her latest hiking endeavor or backyard produce. Maybe it means unsubscribing from “sad news” sources and “liking” pages that post nothing but affirming messages.

Donate your (favorite) old outfit.

I know you may like a certain outfit that brings out your eye color or accentuates your swanky fashion taste, but if it’s a size or two bigger than you want to be, shouldn’t you let someone else enjoy it?

What about donating some of your favorite clothing to someone else in need to gently nudge you into those smaller sizes? Many of my clients have made a deal with themselves to never again buy clothes in certain sizes to accommodate their mediocre progress and to donate their nicest “old” sized clothing to someone in need. All of them have told me it’s made all the difference in the world for their transformation.

Boost your confidence - away from the scale.

While you're on a weight loss journey, it can feel like the changes you're making aren't producing results as quickly as youd' like.  In fact, one of the most common reasons people quit is that they get discouraged from the slow pace of their progress.

What other changes can you make to see more immediate results and boost your confidence more quickly?  Maybe it's getting a new haircut and color.  Maybe it's going on a mini-shopping spree and updating your wardrobe.  Whitening or straightening your teeth - thorugh services like Invisalign - can also make it feel like these changes are coming on faster.

Do the opposite of what hasn’t worked.

I’ve had so many conversations with clients who’ve said they’re trying various diet programs, low calorie meals and snacks, obscure pills or excessive calorie-torching exercise efforts that promise quick changes.

The hopes and frustrations are hard to distinguish, but one thing’s often certain: we probably need to completely change our approach.

When I ask, “How’s that working for you?” I’m really asking if it’s worth it to continue these efforts despite minimal or non-existent progress. Do you need to work out more or less, harder or easier? Worry more or less? Sleep more or less? In my experience, the common weight loss mentality often loses sight of how to best balance these critical lifestyle considerations. It’s okay to work hard; just be sure to rest harder and nourish better.

Treat yourself.

A little self-indulgence can go a long way. A weekly or monthly reward - like a manicure or massage - to make yourself feel pampered after all your hard work is well-deserved and recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle.

It shouldn’t always be a nose-to-the-grindstone game to lose weight. Self-indulgence is a great way to enjoy some much needed downtime to reflect on your hard work and dedication without using food as a reward. 

 

In health, Paul Kriegler - Corporate Registered Dietitian

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

 

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