June 15, 2023

The Truth About Weight Loss: What Really Matters in Your Health Journey

Photo of Justine Friedman, Registered Clinical Dietician and Mindset Mentor
Justine Friedman
Registered Clinical Dietitian and Mindset Mentor

I may be unpopular for saying this - and that's ok - but it must be said.

The answer to feeling uncomfortable within yourself and your body may logically seem to be to lose weight.

BUT is that really what’s going on?

Yes, I hear that your clothes aren’t fitting you the same anymore (or maybe not at all), and you don’t recognize yourself when you look in the mirror. But does this mean that weight loss will be the magic answer?

Or is there more to this dance?

We are constantly bombarded by solutions to the most painful problems we have. And most of the time the promises offered neither solve our pain, nor do they bring the relief we are looking for.

Just eat this and you will lose weight
Just do this exercise and you will get a 6-pack in 10 days
Take this pill and you will be carefree

A quick result with minimal effort is what this instant generation craves.

But the truth is that anything valuable in life generally comes from hard work and dedication to show up consistently day in and day out to get to your goal.

The two main words I emphasize with my clients are those of CONSISTENCY & COMPASSION.

I believe these are the keys to building habits and a lifestyle of health and well-being.

With consistency comes reward - as long as we are putting into place the habits that are best for us - and this may look different for everyone.

Regardless of what you choose, the habits that you decide on, first need to make sense for you and before you choose to keep them for good, I suggest testing them out and being curious about how they fit into your life and feel in your body.

Big declarations like “I will never eat carbs again” may seem like a good idea today when you hit the pit of self-loathing, but when your blood sugar dips, your hormones are all over the show, and you are stressed out and then tuck into a chocolate bar or packet of crisps, the result leaves you feeling angry & guilty for breaking the promise you made to yourself.

So before you toss the carbs out the window, and go on a 16:8 hour intermittent fasting regime, ask yourself, can I do this forever and how would it feel to give it a try and test it out first? (Disclaimer- I am not suggesting intermittent fasting or low-carb diets!)

That brings me to the next important word COMPASSION.

Being hard on yourself may feel like the best way to get to your goal, but has it really worked for you?

Think about what happens if your kid makes a mistake. Do you “let them have it” stating with actions and words how disappointed you are in them? Does this build them up and get them to behave differently in the future? Or can you guide them better and help them to learn from their mistakes so that they can do better - not perfect - next time around?

You are no different.

The little “you” within you needs the same kind of encouragement and understanding. After all guilt and self-hatred rarely result in weight loss (unless you have an active eating disorder and if so please seek professional help)

Being compassionate does not mean being weak….it doesn’t mean that you will allow yourself to eat whatever you want whenever you want because you are feeling “sorry for yourself”.

NO... it means understanding what you have the capacity for each day and tailoring your expectations on that day to what you can manage.

So on a day that you have good energy, it may mean enjoying more aerobic exercise and tackling more things on your to-do list.

And on a day that you- woke up after a poor night’s sleep, feeling hormonal and your kid is sick-you may move your body gently- or not at all, take care to have nourishing foods around, and do a few less demanding tasks.

So back to the elephant in the room: Your weight!

Is it ok to want to lose weight- yes of course.

Is it possible that making that the focus of your efforts and thoughts is causing you to make poor choices and try crazy eating plans that are unsustainable?

Can we agree on a yes to that too?

So how DO you feel better, manage your weight, AND achieve it without over-exercising, feeling restricted, hangry, anxious, depleted, starved, and avoiding all the foods that bring you pleasure?

One small step at a time. Winning a marathon doesn’t happen with a giant leap, and your life is not the 400m sprint.

Let me map it out for you and give you the gems from the process that I personally use and that my clients get the best results from.

  1. Choose a goal unrelated to weight e.g. more energy, less moody, better sleep, reduced cravings, less bloated.
  2. Look at when you feel this way naturally and focus on identifying the behaviors associated with that outcome e.g. when I read before I go to bed, I sleep better or when I have more protein with my lunch I don’t need to snack as much in the afternoon or when I am better prepared with food and stop working when I feel a bit hungry to eat I am less moody and hangry.
  3. Actively implement this in your schedule and repeat it daily
  4. Next, choose a new habit that you want to include - most people choose to drink more water. I often hear, “I will drink 2lt every day!”- is this realistic? If you are only drinking a glass a day right now, then aiming for 8 is a far reach. Focus on having 1-2 glasses extra each day for a week and when you are doing that with ease then increase the number again.
  5. When you reach your small goal, rave to yourself! Give yourself a big pat on the back. This positively reinforces that you succeeded in doing what you promised yourself that you would. And just like a kid who thrives on positive reinforcement, you will be more likely to repeat this behavior.
  6. What if you don’t do what you set out to do? Instead of jumping to judgment and criticism, get curious and ask yourself what happened that made you drop the ball. By observing what transpired you can pay attention if similar situations arise in the future. That way you’ll be able to prevent repeating the same mistake- and if you do- practice this again- it may take time to get it right. If you keep slipping on the same area- then maybe it’s the wrong thing for you to be trying to do- in that case, choose something else.

You don’t have to do this alone! If you feel stuck and don’t know where to start - reach out and work with someone (like me) who can tailor-make a plan of action that will support you.

It must be realistic and this may mean taking weight loss goals off the table in the beginning while you focus on creating a lifestyle that supports your long-term health goals.

Looking for support? Get in touch and let's chat over a free 15-minute call where you'll come away with a better understanding of your next step.

Schedule your free consultation here.

Photo of Justine Friedman, Registered Clinical Dietician and Mindset Mentor
Justine Friedman
Registered Clinical Dietitian and Mindset Mentor
Justine is a seasoned Clinical Dietician with over two decades of experience in private practice. Holding a Bachelor of Science from WITS and an Honorary Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from UCT, she is both South African qualified and Israeli licensed. Justine's journey into nutrition was deeply personal, stemming from her own battles with weight management, emotional eating, and adapting her diet post-40 to meet the changing needs of her body. This personal connection to her field fuels her mission to empower clients to forge a harmonious relationship with food and their bodies. Understanding the complexity of diet, hormones, gut health, and eating habits, Justine brings empathy and expertise to her practice. She is dedicated to helping individuals overcome the cycle of dieting and self-sabotage by fostering a profound understanding of their own bodies. Justine's approach is grounded in the belief that knowledge is power—by understanding your body, you can work with it, not against it, to achieve lasting health and wellness.