I receive e-mails with “HELP!” in the subject line many times per month. The story is pretty similar but it goes kinda (not exactly) like this:
I lost 30 pounds and now whatever I do – I cannot lose any more to get to my goal weight. I live on celery and water, bike 45 miles per day back and forth to work, and I count every calorie - I CANNOT LOSE ANOTHER POUND. Please help.
I know this is an exaggeration (celery and bike ride) but most of the people who e-mail me share how desperately they are working to get the weight off.
Usually it sounds to me like the person is doing every thing right. He/she is exercising, eating vegetables, and sticking to a plan. What I want to do is get in my car, drive to them, and give them a big hug.
They probably don’t want a big hug but I feel like they need one. It sucks to be working so hard and finding yourself failing at your goal. Most of us can relate to the feeling of struggle and desperation as we cast about looking for the thing that will make everything change.
We watch our male friends (and some of our female ones) - the weight seems to melt off and we have still have fat in places that you didn’t know you could carry fat. It is infuriating!
Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer but I do not that when I am working hard and failing that I need to take a break. Here are a few of the things that work for me.
1. Change of Scene - Get out of your house, apartment, job, and do something different. Is there a café you want to try? Or a park you haven’t seen? How about a drive to ANYTHING NEW. I always feel trapped in my interior dialogue until I check out something new that allows me to see that I am in a bubble.
2. Reset to a more manageable goal - I believe this is obvious. Move the goal posts and decide you did your best. Accept that you failed at the original goal and set one that makes more sense. Life is short and you can’t keep beating yourself up. Go ahead – buy the bigger shorts.
3. Meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist - I have been singing their praises for a while. Do not meet with a nutritionist. Check out this article Difference between Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Nutritionist to get an idea of what I am talking about. These professionals are trained to customize a diet for your needs. I love them and they can make a big difference in how you see food, yourself, and your goals.
4. It isn’t the FOOD - We become so obsessed with what we put in our mouth that we forget about the quality of our sleep, our exercise regimen, or our habits that have nothing to do with food. Take a break from analyzing food and look at all of your other health choices.
5. Accept that what worked before may not work now - as we age things change and it can get a whole lot difficult to get to a goal weight from your 20s. Step off the scale, embrace the wrinkles, and stop holding yourself to an impossible ideal. I mean seriously! None of us are Jennifer Lopez so stop trying to be like her. There is only one.
I hope this little rant is helpful. Please keep the “HELP!” e-mails coming and I will do my best to help. You can figure it out – just don’t beat yourself up.
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Before you get advice from a diet expert you should know the difference between a dietician and a nutritionist.