As a Dietitian, the #1 question I receive in casual conversations is: "how can I lose weight?". This question makes me want to teleport out of the encounter, not because I do not want to answer it, but because it is almost always the wrong question to ask. Then I proceed to reframe the question first :)
If you have ever discussed weight loss with others, you will quickly realize that most of them have had success losing weight when they tried diet A or B or C. Losing weight is easy with the right resources and advice (excluding those who have a screwed metabolism). Chances are if you want to lose weight you might feel like you don't need a Dietitian, Nutritionist, Doctor, Personal Trainer or whoever declares themselves the masters of weight loss, and chances are you are right! Thanks to the internet, there are no secrets to weight loss anymore.
If you think back to the same discussions you had with people who lost weight, you will also realize that most of them have gained the weight they lost back (if not more). SUDDENLY, the problem is no longer just weight loss. The new problem becomes HOW to keep that weight off for good, in other words: permanent weight loss.
Enter lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, the problem was never how do we lose weight, it has always been how do we lose weight FOR GOOD. Riddle me this, why would anyone want to solve a problem temporarily only to keep reliving it for life. Instead of focusing on "fast & quick weight lost" we shifted our focus to "sustainable and permanent weight loss".
There are tons of effective strategies we use with our clients to create personalized and applicable habits that become a part of their lifestyle. When we integrate essential healthy behaviours into our lifestyle, we are highly unlikely to ever gain the weight we lost. It would not be possible to discuss all the strategies we researched and developed in one or even 100 blog posts. However, I will share one of my favourite strategies that you are unlikely to have heard anywhere else:
Anchoring is the act of attaching a very specific act/ritual/action (usually a healthy one) to our lifestyle. It is meant to bring us back to center (or point zero) every time we lose sight of our goals or relapse to an unhealthy lifestyle. For anchoring to succeed, we HAVE to make sure that we always carry on that specific act/ritual. The moment we stop doing that act/ritual, we lose the anchor and the effect is gone. Anchoring is meant to exist forever unless replaced with another healthy anchor. There are levels of anchoring (basic, effective & very effective). This is a flow sheet of how anchoring works:
Examples of healthy anchoring includes:
- 2 cups of water in the morning before breakfast (basic anchor)
- Balanced & big lunch (effective anchor)
- Balanced & big breakfast (very effective anchor)
Anchoring becomes useful & VERY effective when we relapse into an unhealthy lifestyle and so is really meant to save us. It gives us a starting point to focus on and allows us to remember our healthy lifestyle. It almost acts as a seed that will sprout in negative conditions and offers us hope & a positive focal point.
Note: You have to make sure the anchor you choose is one that is healthy and suits your lifestyle. For example selecting a healthy breakfast as an anchor point when you have a history of missing breakfast is a mistake.
I hope you found this post useful.
To a better you!
Mohamed Rezk, RD
Mohamed is an experienced and passionate Registered Dietitian who founded RNC in 2015 and is part of Cleveland Clinic Canada's team of experts working in the Executive Health Program. His expertise lies in designing the appropriate environment where his clients can transform their lifestyle and become better versions of themselves. Mohamed believes that the first step to growing in all areas of your life is building a lifestyle that is healthy for your mind and body. His programs has helped many people lose weight permanently and experience tremendous growth in their careers, relationships and quality of life.