When people come to see me, it’s ususally becuase they’ve tried numerous other weight loss programs without lasting success. 

Here are the main approaches people have usually expereinced,  with what I consider to be the upsides/strengths and downsides/weaknesses of each of these options.

Approach Upside Downside
1. Points counting

Weekly check in

Group support

System approach (counting points)

Strong focus on food and exercise

-Weekly check in – what about the other 6 days, 23 hours?
-Weigh-in is the only measure of result. Gain weight that week, ‘oh well try harder next week’
-little focus on mindset
-doesn’t teach you intuitive eating or getting in touch with your body’s signals as food is allocated based on your weight
-food is allocated points and you eat based on points does not take into account nutritional value of food. Eg small choc and large piece of fruit both 2 points people will likely choose the chocolate as on the surface they are ‘the same.’
-When someone loses weight counting points, they give away their power, saying points counting made me lose 60 kilograms. Yet when they invariably regain it, they take on all the responsibility and blame on themselves. Points counting works and i’m the fat lazy fuck who can’t be trusted. Never thinking to stop and question, if points counting truly worked, why do they keep stopping?
Also why does this company have a line of products,

meals, snacks, etc that they peddle? Why isn’t the program enough? Why do they re-do all their manuals each year and compel you to buy the latest version? Surely food doesn’t change that much from year to year. But you need to have the most up to date version.

-Celebrity endorsement, there is often a focus on whichever celebrity they can pay to endorse them and sell their products.

2. Shakes -quick results
-easy, quick & convenient, all you need is mix sachet with water
-most of them taste revolting / artificial chemical taste
-little variety, gets really boring really fast
-often expensive
-challenging in social situations
-staged approach often doesn’t work. The way you lose weight is the way you will keep it off. As soon as you introduce real food again people gain the weight back.
3. Personal Trainer -tailored individual approach – meet you where you’re at
-will put the body under stress / challenge (eg increase sets or reps) so that the body is challenged to change
-often only seem them once or twice per week, what about all the time in between
-if you only introduce exercise and don’t address eating its only one part of the puzzle
-often will prescribe restrictive meal plans that are challenging to follow long term
-don’t address WHY you’re overeating in the first place.
4. Joining a gym -exercise is beneficial
-paid money so feel like
-paying money doesn’t guarantee attendance /
they’re doing something AND for some people the obligation in paying means they will turn up
-some gyms have extra benefits, spa, sauna, child minding
-social aspect
results
-Joining a gym doesn’t mean you’ll attend, stats show only 10% of gym members attend regularly.
-Attending doesn’t mean you’ll work out, some people just go and be social
-Working out doesn’t mean results, some people do the same thing every time (maintenance routine) and wonder why they’re not getting results, when they’re not putting their body under stress / challenge to do new things
-people can feel intimidated and not attend
-If they fail to address WHY they’re overeating they can simply transfer the addictive behaviour to exercise. Which on the surface people scoff at “what’s wrong with that?” they ask? But anything done to excess is dangerous. Over-exercising can not just fuck them up mentally and socially by becoming obsessional and taking up too much time, but also physically resulting in injury (I speak her from personal experience) and eventually when they’re exhausted they often flip back to overeating
5. Portion control / limit what you eat
(eg Calorie counting, using a system like counting macros / micros, blocks etc)
-decrease amount of food being eaten
-routine and structure
-It’s not sustainable to eat to an external standard. I believe it’s this very approach that sets so many of us up to yo-yo diet. Where ‘good’ days are the ones where we stick to our allowance, and the ‘bad’ days are where we go over.

-For many people once they go one calorie over budget they think “i’ve blown it now, might as well make the most of it” and go full binge!

 

-The truth is some days we are hungry and some days we aren’t. Children know this inherently, but somewhere along the way we lost that. When we re-learn to tune in to our body’s hunger signals we regulate what we eat without the hassle of weighing and measuring and counting.

They don’t learn that they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want it. BUT, the trick is are they really hungry? Or are they bored / tired / overwhelmed. Because if hunger isn’t the problem, then food isn’t the solution. I believe the healthier way is intuitive eating, but learning to trust ourselves again, like we did when we were children.

-secret eating is often a thing (eg it doesn’t count if its off my kids / partners plate, eaten in the dark, eaten while standing, tasting while cooking, a work mate offers you something etc etc

-All or nothing mindset (literal feast and famine). They think they’ll never be able to enjoy food again and need to deprive themselves. So keep having food funerals and last hurrahs. Whereas if they accepted

they CAN have their cake and eat it too, but just a slice and not the entire thing, they would get there.
6. Pills / powders / potions -quick results

-how much of quick results is actual fat loss, and how much is water / muscle loss (many have a diuretic effect)
-many instruct you to change eating and exercise in concert with the supplement, how much of the results are due to this and not the supplement
-placebo effect?
-often taste revolting
-often expensive
-often celebrity endorsed
-often use ‘before and after’ pics to promote that are from people who never use the product! OR in tiny font say ‘results not typical’
-Most people who sell these products call themselves health coaches, when the only ‘training’ they have had is watching a video presentation from their MLM company. If your answer to my struggle is to sell me more of your supplements you are NOT a coach, you are a pill pusher selling a product disguised as a coach.

 

-Almost ALL pills, powders, and potions that tell you that you don’t need to change anything just ‘drink this pink drink’ and the weight will fall away, encouraging you to drink more water and

exercise. Ummmm could that be the reason people actually lose weight and the product itself is nothing more than an expensive placebo?
-That every few months there is a sudden discovery of a rare ingredient from a foreign country that holds the secrets to weight loss! Like just take this African Mango at $100 per month drop shipped to your door and your weight will just drop away.
-Or weight loss tea or coffee? Seriously?
-How the hell is body wraps still a thing in my industry? Slathering yourself in expensive stinky smelling gunk and then wrapping yourself up in glad wrap does not make you lose fat! It’s set up for you to fail so the big companies have big business.

 

-Why do we try to trick ourselves into thinking its as simple as taking a pill or supplement? How much of that is the placebo effect anyway?

The pretty pink drink or tablet or drop you’re taking is likely a placebo! The fact that you keep having success and failing isn’t on you, it’s the fact that the

‘magic cure’ doesn’t actually work!

-Supplements: It works until it doesn’t. They get results for a short while (I would argue more often due to a combination of placebo and diuretic effect) and then when they can no longer stand the supplements they quit taking them. Blaming themselves for their lack of willpower or follow through. (not the fact that the supplements tasted like garbage and probably weren’t working anyway).

7. Apps -carry with you throughout the day (everyone likely to always has phone on them)
-accountability (notifications reminding you to take action)
-structure to follow
-just because notification sounds doesn’t mean you’ll take action, easy to ignore or silence
-dings / buzzes of notifications gets annoying
-rarely very personalised, ie everyone given the same plan
-doesn’t teach you self reliance as you need to rely on the app
8. Gadgets (eg HR monitor and burn X number of calories) – gives you quantifiable data (HR, calories burnt etc) -unsure how accurate that quantifiable data is (however provided measured on the same device each time it can be comparable)
-often annoying to wear, uncomfortable, move about, need readjusting
-only work when you wear them, when you fall into excuse mode and CBF often don’t wear!
-For many it becomes obsessional, walking laps of their living room at 10pm at
night to make their step quota. Or flogging themselves at the gym to meet a calorie quota, when really what they need is rest that day.
-Using these external measures we disconnect from our own bodies’ wisdom. They are not helpful they are harmful.
-as we get fitter, it takes more and more effort to meet these quotas as our resting heart rate decreases and so we expend more and more time exercising and it becomes unsustainable.
9. Fat camp (health retreat) -focused dedicated time, no external distractions
-taken out of every day life and given time and space to focus on health
-All food is prepared and provided so no cooking is required
-time away from home to focus on self, and no need to cook or clean or work or look after kids means more time to exercise and journal
-often a team of experts running them eg nutritionist, personal trainer, health coaches etc
-often have people and tools on site to deal with the withdrawal symptoms eg yoga instructor, massage therapist, infa red sauna, float tanks etc
-taking time out of normal routine doesn’t teach you how to cope with every day life situations
-often very expensive (need to factor in travel time, and time off work and away from family responsibilties) – which in turn does not mean the skills learned are transferable to every day life situations with family and responsibilities
10. Body transformation challenges (eg 6, 8, 12 weeks) short period of time easier to commit to
-done as as group, start
-short term, why do we think making short term changes will result in long term
together / finish together mentality
-structured meal and exercise plans (take thought out of the equation)
results
-often very gruelling and intense designed to ‘kick start’ results but often translates in burning water and muscle, leaving person exhausted and overwhelmed and already dreaming of the end date when they can finally eat all the things they’re denying themselves during the challenge
-structured plans are often very restrictive and hard to follow
-The Myth Of Quick Wins: People think that you need some form of challenge to ‘get some quick wins’ to get you starting off right and stay motivated! Ummmm if you were planting a mighty oak tree would you fucking drench the soil in round-up before planting your seeds? HELL NO! You’re totally leaching the soil before you even begin. So how do you think doing a gruelling challenge where you drink shakes, and work out excessively, and celebrate the weight loss in the scale, which is basically just water and muscle and call that setting yourself up for long term success?
11. Dieting (such as keto, paleo etc) -structured meal plan and grocery lists (take thought out of the equation)
-balanced (all nutritional requirements are being met)
-For every diet there is an equal and opposite binge!
-As soon as one goes ‘on a diet’ it implies there will be an ‘off a diet’.
-It is not setting oneself up for success, but instead to be ‘on again / off again’ for life.
-Most people know what to eat, they could probably write a diet book themselves, the problem is they just don’t eat it consistently.
-They keep searching for the ‘right’ diet when really they already know what to eat and when and how much, the problem is they can’t stick to it so they assume they just haven’t found the right diet yet.
12.  Relying on a modality to save you (eg Hypnosis, NLP, Acupuncture, Reiki, Aromatherapy, EFT, Cellular release therapy) -An inside out approach, the focus is on what is going on internally.

-Other mindset coaches seem to focus on their modality. Eg I can hypnotise you to never eat chocolate again. When we lead with our modality we put the client into a box and say ‘I can fix you’ it’s kind of a power trip really AND they are not broken.

Instead the focus should be on asking questions to help facilitate the client to have their own breakthrough.

Modalities can assist, but can’t lead, the client must take personal responsibility for their own transformation.

Approach Based on the Upsides and Downsides who might each approach be for and not for?
1 For – people craving structure
Not For – people not willing to count points, weigh and measure portion sizes ie people who struggle with discipline
2 For – people who want quick results, quick and convenient meals
Not for – people who like variety, like texture and chewing their food. People on a budget.
3 For – People who want accountability and a personalised approach. People who prefer to have the exercise tailored specifically to them.
Not For – people who need help with the food side. People not willing to go it alone between sessions (unless they can afford multiple sessions per week). People on a budget.
4 For – People who like a group approach. People who enjoy the social side. People who like structured exercise (classes) or are disciplined enough to work out solo
Not for – People who may feel intimidated. People who aren’t self accountable and disciplined enough to turn up.
5 For – people who like routine and structure and their only issue is eating too much and / or too often.
Not for – Secret eaters / emotional eaters, people who there are deeper reasons going on. People who lie to themselves about what they eat. Aren’t willing to count every morsel of food, only track the ‘good’ days.
6 For – Quick results. People who want to feel like they’re making an effort (this sounds harsh, not sure how to soften it so it sounds objective, but I mean people feel like they’re taking action because they’re taking a pill etc).
Not for – Results often slow down dramatically after the frist week or two. Results often not sustainable. People on a budget
7 For -People who always have their phone with them. People who are disciplined enough to take the action when the phone dings. People who are willing to update the app regularly logging all the required data. People who feel a sense of satisfaction when they see the data and review their progress.
Not for – people who will just ignore the notifications.
8 For – People who like data and will interpret the data to help
them improve their results. People disciplined enough to wear and use and take care of the gadget (ie remember to put it on, clean it, charge it etc).
9 For – People who need a total reset. People who will do well out of their normal environment but are disciplined enough to continue these changes when they return home.
Not for – People who are on a budget. People not able to leave their everyday lives for a period of time.
10 For – People who like a set time-frame. People who like the group approach, start together / finish together. People who love structure and following set meal and exercise plans.
Not for – People who don’t do well following set menu plans. People who once they ‘fall behind’ or ‘fall off the wagon’ are unable to get back on track. People who ask questions and aren’t willing to do as everyone else is doing.
11 For – people who want to be told exactly what to eat, when and how much
Not For – People who aren’t disciplined enough to stick with it.
People who eat for reasons other then hunger such as Secret eaters. Emotional Eaters.
12

??? struggling with this one

 

 

Next article – The Bigger Why

Freedom From Dieting Masterclass.

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