By: Lindsay Martin, MS, RD
Working at Hilton Head Health full-time allows me to have numerous conversations with mostly 30-60 year old individuals striving for weight loss. Some of these conversations turn into private consultations that will then result in me digging deeper as to why one wants to lose weight as well as why and how one has not been successful in previous attempts at weight loss. I’ve got a huge pile of assessment forms in my office and case after case I observe very similar trends and habits. Let’s take a look at three of the most common things I see as well as how one can improve upon it:
1. No food in the fridge. Let’s face it, going out to eat is easy. It is convenient and doesn’t involve any grocery shopping or food preparation. You know what else is easy? Gaining weight. I hear it all the time… “I just don’t have time.” Two minutes later into the conversation… “It is so hard for me to lose weight, but gaining weight seems to happen overnight.” Cooking and getting more hands-on with your food has to happen if anyone out there is trying to lose weight AND keep it off. Plain and simple. Most restaurants provide over-sized portions, excessive salt, too much added sugar and the list goes on.
2. Majority of food and energy intake happens 4 pm and on. It is no wonder breakfast could be skipped as a result of not being hungry from a previous night of second helpings, alcoholic beverages and perhaps a decadent dessert snuck into the food plan. Ideally, the majority of food intake would happen during the morning and hours leading into dinner time. Why? When do you need the most energy? During the day. When is the ever-so powerful stress hormone of cortisol released? At night and while the day is finishing up. When should our digestive system be at rest so we have higher quality sleep? At night. Most people I work with feel much better with their food choices as well as their weight related goals when there is a solid routine of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, lighter dinner, snack—especially in regards to weight loss. Common food log:
3. Unrealistic weight goals. There is a gut-check question one needs to ask themselves once a weight loss journey begins… “At what weight can I envision myself maintaining that will allow me to follow a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle?” I know numerous people who have gone to extremes to lose 20 lbs. What happens now? How does one maintain that loss if a super low carb plan and excessive exercise got them there? Below is a picture of a guest’s recorded desire to be 145 lbs.; however, the last time that person was at that weight was 20 years ago. Set yourself up for success. If you know you feel more comfortable in your skin being 150-155 lbs. and can maintain that weight without going to extreme measures then perhaps that should be the goal weight. I’m not the biggest fan of setting “ideal” weights, but this makes sense rather than making yourself crazy.
To sum things up, I would recommend asking yourself if you fall in line with any of these habits or tendencies. If weight loss is your desire, then implement behaviors that are consistent and sustainable that allow you to enjoy the journey engaging in healthy weight loss. Enjoyable being a key part of the process—another reason why CTF and the Army community is so awesome!