Since implementing our 6-week Weight Loss Challenge at my studio, I have really enjoyed the dramatic changes some of our clients have made and continue to make. In my 20 plus years in this business, creating this challenge is simply a culmination of all that I have learned both personally and professionally about successful, sustainable weight loss. So what is it that has made this challenge work for our clients? It's a number of things, but most important I believe is the emphasis on real life changes.
For years, people have been dieting and begrudgingly exercising all in an effort to lose weight. And one of two things happens, they either lose the weight and then go back to their previous lifestyle (which caused the weight gain to begin with) or they give up because change is not coming fast enough. Why? Because they never learn real life strategies, simply dieting strategies which is not sustainable. People need a whole different approach to weight loss. See, the thing is that people KNOW how to lose weight, but how do they sustain it? Only by learning practical strategies to change their lifestyle for good makes weight loss sustainable. It means teaching folks to be more active on a day-to-day basis in addition to formal exercise. Remember, most folks are sitting about 16 hours a day, not good. Go back a few generations when people cleaned their own homes, mowed their own lawn, walked or biked more than drove, etc. I call that active living. People MUST get back into being more active on a daily basis otherwise this horrific trend of diabetes, obesity and other weight related diseases will continue.
Next is food, look, we are a mess in this country when it comes to food. The book that best describes our food debacle is Mark Bittman's Food Matters, read it. If you don't change the way you eat after reading this book, I'd be surprised. We eat too much and too much of the wrong things. Processed foods dominate our daily intake and most people are getting their vegetables when served on a hamburger or as a garnish. People walk down the street carrying their gargantuan sugar laden or "pretend" sugar, no-foam, half-half, fat free flavor of the day coffees. It's all about quantity and rarely about quality. This needs to change and that's how I educate my clients. I tell them, "Don't say, 'No' to junk food based on just weight, say, 'No' to those foods because it's just plain bad for you. You may as well smoke a cigarette." People have GOT to be more conscious and respectful of what their body needs versus what commercials tell them they need. 95% of the clients I meet with are regularly downing copious amounts of processed, sugar laden foods. Our approach with the 6 week challenge is to simply re-think what you're putting in to your body. Diets don't teach, lifestyle changes do.
Finally, the support. I don't know about you, but before I figured out this weight thing, I did every diet in the world. But half way through the book or "class" if I had a question or felt like I was losing control, I had no one to turn to. Our program is called a 6 week challenge for a reason, change is hard, it's a challenge and striving to replace old, unhealthy habits with new healthy ones is a challenge, but we help our clients do that. We ask them questions they need to know how to answer, "So, how are you going to handle Super Bowl weekend?" "What are you going to eat on vacation?" "What are your plans when going out to eat with friends?" It's about being prepared and knowing what to do because old habits die hard.
Being successful at weight loss means getting back to basics, creating more activity in your daily life (it used to be that way naturally), eating whole, healthy foods (it used to be that way YEARS ago) and finding a solid resource for positive change. Getting back to basics, trusting what changes you know you need to make and finding the right path for you is the surest way to a healthy living weight. I'll discuss "living weight" in my next blog.
Here's to your health!