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Principles Of Long-Term Weight Loss

I've accompanied many clients on their weight loss journey. Almost everyone told me during our first conversation that they had tried many diets before, but always ended up gaining weight again.


This is because the word "diet" in our language is often associated with a limited period of time. But originally by definition, "diet" refers to a person's general eating habits, which do not end at some point but are part of their everyday life and lifestyle.


So, instead of going on a diet as we understand it, it's much more about making the changed eating habits a part of everyday life and being able to apply them permanently and effortlessly.


In this article, you will learn my 6-step-method that you can use for your long-term weight loss journey and finally achieve and maintain your desired weight.


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Let' start to explore the key 6-step method for unlocking your long-term weight loss goals!


journaling


1. Identify Your "Weaknesses"

Each of us has certain "weaknesses" when it comes to food. I put this in quotation marks because these are not actually weaknesses but simply foods we find hard to give up. For one person, it might be chips, for another chocolate, ice cream, pizza or something else.


Before you start, you should first become aware of what you could not live without. That's perfectly fine. It's important not to give up on these things, but limit your intake of these foods, according to your goal.


"Recognize what foods you can't give up and write them down before you start your weight loss journey. Make sure to incorporate your favorite "unhealthier" foods every now and then"

2. Avoid Prohibitions

Now, in the 2nd step, it's important to let go of your "all-or-nothing" thinking. Because things we forbid ourselves become even more interesting, and our desire for them grows even stronger. This is also called the "forbidden-fruit-effect".


The things you wrote down in the first step, are your little rewards that you can indulge in every now and then. This prevents your cravings from becoming too extreme. With this strategy you won't find yourself bingeing on these foods. Occasionally treating yourself with the things you cannot live without will make you realize that your desire for them will not be so huge anymore.


"Abandon your all-or-nothing thinking, and indulge in the things you cannot live without from time to time. You'll find that your craving for them diminishes."

3. Learn to Understand Calories For Weight Loss

It's essential that you focus on your energy intake, if your goal is to lose weight. Therefore, it's necessary to know approximately how many calories you need to gain, lose, or maintain your weight.


Ideally, in this step, you should sit down with a professional nutritionist and have them calculate your calorie needs. However, such calculations are never 100% accurate and the numbers should not be treated as holy. They can be very helpful as a guide and reference point though.


It's best if you establish a good feedback system. After a week of consuming a certain amount of calories, check whether you have lost weight, gained weight, or maintained your weight. If your weight stagnates or you gain weight, you can slightly reduce your calorie intake. If you're losing weight, you can maintain the amount of calories.


"Use apps to track your calorie intake for a while and make rational decisions based on your outcomes. Many things can only be improved by measuring them."

4. Plan Your Path

This step may look different for each of us. It's also the step that will probably take the longest. It's best if you try out different things and proceed with the "trial and error method." This means you try out a certain way of eating and regularly reflect on how it affects your progress, your mental health and your well-being.


Let's say, for example, you start eating a 2000 high carb, high protein and low fat diet. In addition, you start regularly meal prepping. Every Sunday and every Thursday, you spend 1-2 hours in the kitchen cooking certain recipes in advance.


After a few weeks, you may not yet have established a firm habit, but you can evaluate whether your approach has the potential to become one. Is it easy for you, and does it bring you joy to meal prep twice a week? 


If yes, stick to the habit and keep going with this method! However, if you find it very difficult, and you struggle to incorporate it into your daily life, you should try a different method that fits better into your life.


For example, you could try to prepare your meals every evening for the next day, or to pre-cook everything once a week and storing it in the freezer.


"It's important not to give up after just 2-3 weeks. Give your new approach at least 1 month to evaluate whether it works for you, as almost any major change will be difficult at first."

5. Establish Firm Habits

Now, it's all about staying on track. On average, it takes 66 days for a habit to be established. It may take even longer for it to become completely automatic and you hardly think about doing it anymore.


We've all heard the saying: "Man is a creature of habit." And indeed, that's true. Accept that the beginning is always hard, and habits take time to become actual habits.


"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."

calorie deficit


6, Stay at a calorie deficit of maximum 15%

The main reason why diets fail or people return to their starting weight, is because they try to maintain deficit that's too huge (and for to long). Crash diets or extreme calorie restriction should be avoided! In the 3rd point, you already learned to understand calories. Use your knowledge wisely and never go too low on calories!


During your journey, always make sure to maintain a maximum daily calorie deficit of 15% until the goal weight is achieved. Otherwise, it is very likely that your body will eventually fight back with binge eating episodes. After you've achieved your goal you can plan your reverse diet and slowly increase your calories to maintenance.


Additionally, calorie adjustments are necessary after a certain period of time. As your body loses fat and you weigh less, your body also requires less energy in daily activities. Regular adjustments are crucial to avoid stagnation.


"A long-term weight reduction is only successful if you lose weight slowly. During this time, you can establish your habits and will not have to starve to succeed."

Achieve your fitness goals now through personalized guidance from your online nutritional and fitness coach. Book a call now!


Yours,

signature Vanessa Gaber




 

Sources of Information:

  • Tahreem A, Rakha A, Rabail R, Nazir A, Socol CT, Maerescu CM, Aadil RM. Fad Diets: Facts and Fiction. Front Nutr. 2022 Jul 5;9:960922. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.960922. PMID: 35866077; PMCID: PMC9294402.

  • Annesi JJ. Behavioral Weight Loss and Maintenance: A 25-Year Research Program Informing Innovative Programming. Perm J. 2022 Jun 29;26(2):98-117. doi: 10.7812/TPP/21.212. Epub 2022 Jun 20. PMID: 35933678; PMCID: PMC9662257.

  • Polidori D, Sanghvi A, Seeley RJ, Hall KD. How Strongly Does Appetite Counter Weight Loss? Quantification of the Feedback Control of Human Energy Intake. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Nov;24(11):2289-2295. doi: 10.1002/oby.21653. PMID: 27804272; PMCID: PMC5108589.

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