Earlier this month I may have lost a potential client because I wouldn't guarantee weight loss. Given a second chance with them, I'd make the same statement again. There are very few certainties in life- death and taxes come to mind- but allow me to add to the list "weight fluctuation". It is guaranteed that within this brief life we live that all of us will experience changes in our weight. Sometimes we lose, sometimes we gain. Many factors affect that number on the scale, from illness to stress, from lifestyle choices such as how active or sedentary we are, to food choices- how much we eat, and what we eat. There are physiological factors at play, too, such as your genetic blueprint and your natural metabolism.
In short, there is no way I can guarantee you will lose weight by following my meal plans. I can guarantee healthy and tasty nutritious meals, with a focus on lean proteins, whole grains, and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. I can guarantee very little added sugar or salt. I can tell you that following my meal plans will help ensure you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, and you will not be throwing out food that you bought with the best of intentions, so you will definitely be saving money in the grocery store. However, I cannot absolutely promise that you will lose (or gain, for that matter) weight.
If you need a weight loss plan, there are a plethora of companies out there that focus exclusively on weight loss, such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. I'm a meal planner, and I'm really, really good at that.
There have lately been some interesting studies done that can assist you in making choices that may help you to drop some pounds. I've rounded up some of the more interesting ones I thought you might enjoy, and I'll conclude with a little bit of wisdom I've gleaned over the last few years.
And now, some wisdom I've gleaned over the years.
Love Your Body, and Your Life, Today.
18 years ago my BMI was perfectly in range with the ideal weight for my height. I look back at my wedding pictures and can't believe I wasn't happy with how I looked. Here's the thing, though- if you don't consciously celebrate you, as you are, you won't be happy when you're at your ideal weight, either. We are bombarded daily with perfectly smooth and unwrinkled, cellulite-free images of beautiful people who have perfect skin, hair, teeth, and so on. There will always be someone and something to compare ourselves with, and if we play that comparison game, we will never measure up.
Real life has given me laugh lines and stretch marks, a few grey hairs, some laproscopy scars, and unattractive veins on my legs. It's also given me 2 beautiful, intelligent, creative boys, a passion for learning, and a wide variety of interests. I live in a not-perfect home with a not-perfect husband, but it's my life, and I'm sharing it with my favorite people.
Think About Being Healthy, not About the Ideal Number.
Admittedly, I've put on some weight in the almost 18 years of my marriage. But at this point, even with the extra weight, I am significantly healthier than I was when I had a perfect BMI. I shudder to think at the diet we used to eat. I know there were significant holes in our nutrition, and my physical, emotional, and mental health reflected that. I used to get colds often, and miss a lot of work because of it. I didn't deal well with stress, as reflected with frequent migraines and cold sores. I suffered from anxiety to the point where I was prescribed medication. And in spite of being obsesed with the number on the scale, it's gone up and down and up again. No amount of dieting or obsessing stopped the movement on the scale.
Within the last few years, however, I've made it my goal to focus on making small, conscious decisions to become an overall healthier person. From the food I eat and drink, to the activities I participate in, to the peole I surround myself with, to the financial choices I make. to the spiritual lessons I'm learning, and to the online courses I've taken. My annual bloodwork and checkups confirm that I am, generally speaking, really healthy. I'm celebrating that.
You Can't Force People.
You just can't. Everyone has to come to their own place of peace, whether it's regarding their health, their lifestyle, their weight, their choices. Focus on you, and your example. Model the right behaviour, make good choices, and if you're the feeder of small children, make good choices for them. They might resist, but it will make an impression. Don't make food a fight. That may set them up for a lifetime of food issues.
Do the Activity You Love.
It's ok if what you love to do isn't the same as your best friend, or trending on twitter. If you love walking, walk. Running, run. Dancing? Dance your heart out. The important thing is to bring some movement into your life. We in the west are particularly fond of sitting, and the advances made in television, movies, and small electronic devices aren't going anywhere but forward. So make your choices consciously, and stand, run, dance, do stairs, climb ladders, hang drywall, etc. Do what you can to infuse movement into your life on a daily basis. Don't worry about how long is the right amount, or compare yourself to your ultra-fit neighbor. Make it your goal to best your own best, and let the rest of the population worry about themselves.
Scale photo from http://www.drugstore.com/sunbeam-dial-scale-model-sab-602-05/qxp309310
Fiber chart from http://www.preparationh.com/live-better/hemorrhoid-diet