Is Sustainable Weight Loss Possible?
The fact that this is still a question in 2021 speaks volumes to the way in which diet culture has been normalised around the world, leaving many to associate with weight loss and the affects of fad dieting as one and the same. Well, we're here to shut this down once and for all. Losing weight safely and maintaining that weight loss is certainly possible, even if like most good things in life, it can be a little challenging at times.
Check out 7 simple steps to lose weight sustainably below:
1. Do: Eat A Balanced Diet
Although we're part of a society that has long vilified certain foods and food groups, one of the first things we need to grasp is that there is no such thing as 'bad' foods. Oftentimes, low cal options can still be high in salt and fats, whilst higher cal options may include healthy nutrients our body needs, such as oily fish, unsalted nuts and avocados. The key is to think in moderation rather than extremes and to try to have at least a basic understanding of what you eat so that you can make informed decisions.
2. Do: Drink Water
Not only is it key to hydration, but drinking water can boost your metabolism 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. This will help you to burn more calories and is a perfect cheap and simple habit you can learn to help maintain weight loss over time. To give you an idea of how powerful this can be, one study showed that drinking 1/2 litre of water about 30 mins before meals helped people to eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight compared to those who didn't drink the water.
3. Do: Have A Quality Protein Source
No, this isn't the moment where we leave a cheap plug in the hopes you buy some of our (very tasty) protein! As always, we recommend trying to get your recommended amount of protein direct from food sources. Protein is the single most important nutrient for losing weight and has been shown to boost metabolism by 80-100 calories a day, while shaving 441 calories per day of your diet. This is why the rise of 'diet protein shakes' is pretty much utter nonsense and just a name on some packaging brands use to convince you to buy. (Did we mention we HATE diet culture lol!)
4. Do: Exercise
Even if only for the mental health benefits, we'd recommend exercising regularly. The great part is that of course, it does help with weight loss too, particularly the cardio variety. It's particularly helpful to reducing belly fat but we must stress that without a change of diet, the benefits of exercise will be limited (how you gon' win if you ain't right within, remember?!). Although a weight loss aide, where exercise really adds value is in helping you to maintain any weight you have lost.
5. Do: Be Patient
One of the worst things we can do on a weight loss journey is to expect too much too soon. The key here is to try to have a long term goal that is not solely linked to aesthetics. For example, if you lose weight with the sole purpose of achieving a summer body, once you've made the achievement it can become difficult to stay motivated and keep doing the things that got you there. Whereas, if your intention all along was to live healthier, that motivation will remain despite losing weight as it's a goal linked to maintenance rather than a short terms focus on how you look. Having a long term intrinsic goal like this will also help you to be more patient and kind to yourself, which should be of great help along your journey.
6. Don't: Compare Yourself To Others
In the world of social media we inhabit, this is a concept we're all a little too familiar with. It can be a vicious cycle of Instagram, comparison, berating ourselves over having that ice cream or last slice of pizza, then waking up tomorrow to do it all over again. When we're being hard on ourselves, this can often lead to feelings of hopelessness and is a motivation killer that can often lead us to prematurely end our weight loss journey. We know it's easier said than done, but even if the answer is deleting social media apps from your phone for a period of time, it's well worth it if that time can be focused on self improvement and being kinder to ourselves.
7. Don't: Lose Weight Too Rapidly (AKA Fad Diet)
The last thing you want to do is lose weight too quickly, as the body goes into 'starvation mode' and changes the body's hormonal balance, causing it to recalibrate. In other words, your metabolism will slow and you'll store more fat. This is exactly what happens with yo-yo dieting with typical outcome being that you will end up putting on more weight than you keep off in the long wrong, along with all the mental and emotional instability that can come with it.
In conclusion, it's important that we accept that sustainable weight loss will take time and remember that age old adage, 'good things come to those who wait'. For those of us who want to, the aim is not to lose weight, but to maintain that weight loss for the long-term and hopefully the steps above will help you onto the path for just that.
One thing I'd like to add, is that as a brand on an anti-diet culture mission, the last thing we want to achieve by this post is to pressure people into wanting to lose weight. Always remember that you're enough regardless of your weight or how you look!
At jrny, we are made up of a team of Sports Scientists and Registered Nutritionists. We want to make sure that we’re not just putting up the pseudo-science you’d see on other sites. If any of our staff put anything on our blog that relates to your health, you can bet that it is backed by evidence-based science! It always will be. That’s our commitment to you.