This week’s question is one that was asked and answered on my weekly newsletter.
But remember, if you want to submit a question to me, you can do so via:
2. Twitter or
3. Email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bear in mind, this week’s question is one person’s question, I’ve just broken it down into parts.
The person who asked this question identified herself as a 68 year old woman. The bits of her question are in bold.
Q: “I have great difficulty losing weight…”
What I generally find, is that most people don’t have difficulty losing weight, they have unrealistic expectations about how fast they should be losing weight.
This is usually for two reasons:
– we’re all a bit brainwashed by fad diet claims of “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days” and think all weight loss should be like that
– you might remember being able to lose weight a lot faster when you were younger and assume that you should still be able to lose weight at the same rate now.
Of course, losing weight slower is not bad in itself, as long as you stick to it.
“10 weeks ago….I went to a function had 2 wines, mainly healthy food but a dessert…next morning I had put on 3 lbs…that did it.”
Your weight fluctuates a lot day-to-day. The 3 pounds might not have anything to do with what you ate the night before.
Don’t give up wine and dessert just because of one weight reading!
“I have gone on a strict diet of one meal a day….unless in the morning I feel wobbly I have a little healthy cereal.”
Oh, you gave up wine and dessert.
And breakfast and lunch.
I have lost only 20 lbs doing that so it shows you how I have to be severe.
Yes that is severe.
But you’ve lost 20 pounds in 10 weeks which is very fast, considering you’re 68. Weight loss gets slower as we age.
You said you’ve “only” lost that much, implying you believe you should be losing weight faster than that.
I don’t think that is realistic or desirable.
And really, even if you have lost 20 pounds the real question is, is it sustainable?
Do you feel OK eating 1 meal a day (with no dessert or wine) for the long-term?
“I know many people say it must be 3 meals a day, but with me it does not work.”
Yes I can see that by cutting back to 1 meal a day, you’ve lost weight quite fast.
But speed of weight loss is not the aim here.
There’s no point losing 20 pounds in 10 weeks and then gaining it all back a few weeks later, because you’re miserable and miss regular eating.
You’ve got this far with determination, but in six month’s time, when you’re out for lunch with friends, is it going to be so easy to stick to one meal a day, say “no” to wine, or to watch while others eat dessert?
What is much more important than speed of weight loss is sustainability.
Now I’ve heard MANY people say, “I’ll do the awful diet to lose weight quickly, and then can you help me keep it off?”
But how do you switch to long-term eating, when you’ve cut back to one meal a day?
How do you re-introduce dessert and wine (not to mention lunch and breakfast), without gaining weight again?
It doesn’t work. You need to start losing weight in the way that you intend to maintain it.
In other words, think “long-term” from the beginning. Only do things that you are willing to maintain forever.
Take home lessons:
1. Have realistic expectations about how fast you can lose weight. This will depend on your age.
2. Fast weight loss is not the aim, being able to stick with your plan for the long-term is the aim.
3. You can’t switch from unsustainable to sustainable with a flick of a switch.
Rather than being severe, make small sustainable changes. The weight may fall a bit slower, but it will be gone forever (and you’ll be able to have more than one meal a day).