• Feet on bathroom scale

    Losing Weight is Easy. Keeping it off is hard.

    As many people are in “reset” mode with a new year and new outlook right now there is an important thing to point out: losing weight is easy. Keeping it off is hard.

    Hear me out.

    Most people know that it is effortless to gain weight: one major holiday, a celebration, a vacation, a global pandemic, eating while “binge-watching” anything, or any number of things.

    Eating is a sport for many people. Even though it is a necessary thing like sleeping and breathing, many people use it as a celebration, social activity, or an essential part of the vacation.

    golf ball at the pin
    Once you go over it can be a challenge to get back to even.

    I tend to equate this with golf – when we go over by a bit – one or two strokes, it is a real bitch to get back to even. Just one hole of a double-bogey, and it is nearly impossible to get back to par in the 18 holes. If you don’t play golf, hang in here.

    Let me with an example that more people will understand.

    Let’s say that a person has an estimated need of 2,000 calories a day. (Note this isn’t a recommendation, but an example.) If the person consumes on average 2,000 calories daily – some days are 2,100 calories, others 1,900 calories, then the weight will remain stable. (More on how we get to these numbers in this article.)

    Now let’s say this 2,000-calorie person celebrates their birthday one weekend by going out to dinner with family and going out with friends and ends up at over 3,000 calories per day for a few days. It isn’t that hard, especially if there is a delicious dessert, drinking, appetizers, and the works. Let’s say this was three days of going over their estimated calories by 1,000 calories per day or about 3,000 calories over their estimated needs for those three days combined.

    So now what? No big deal. I mean, it is estimated that one pound of fat is about 3,500 calories, so that shouldn’t even be a pound of weight gain, right? But to make sure this isn’t the weight that remains, make sure there is a calorie deficit now of 3,000 calories to make up for this.

    people toasting at a table
    Celebrating a special occasion shouldn’t ruin your plans.

    So what now? Don’t eat for a day and a half? Maybe, but no. Only eat 1,000 calories for a few days. Again, no. You need at least about 1200-1400 calories a day for essential body function.

    And besides, these extra calories may or may not show up on the scale just yet. Over by 3,000 calories isn’t even a pound of fat, right? But another dinner out later the following week? A few beers on the weekend? The cycle of over consuming easily continues.

    So, to lose weight, deploy any number of gimmicks: cabbage soup to no carbs to fasting every other day. Whatever means necessary to get the weight off. Okay, back to the goal weight.

    And so, the cycle continues – crash dieting, cleansing, fasting, eliminating food groups to get back to a goal weight, and the subsequent regain when eating “normalizes.”

    You may not do this, but I assure you that with over 20 years as a nutrition expert who helps people get to their goal weight realistically, this is normal for many people. The upcoming new year, milestone birthday, family or class reunion, or child’s wedding or bat mitzvah, there is a number in mind for people. I’ve seen it all.

    So how to counter-act this. Don’t have these benders in the first place? Yes. But it is a <insert special occasion here>! Criminy, this is life! Who will skip a celebration dinner on their birthday?

    I know. I enjoy my birthday, my husband’s birthday, holidays, and especially vacations (which often ONLY revolve around eating and drinking). The key is that I don’t see these as a one-off to go all out and act like I am at all-you-can-eat buffet after being on a desert island for three months. I don’t see that starting a diet tomorrow requires the last supper tonight.

    Mentally, I give myself and my clients “permission” to eat what they love any day of the week. Seriously.

    Don’t restrict. But give yourself “permission” to have what you want without penalty.

    I don’t have “cheat days” or “cheat meals” for myself or my clients unless they insist because my philosophy is that eating is not cheating. I don’t think there should be a reward for being “good” all week. Why? Because this can back-fire and that “cheat” day can derail any progress from the prior week.

    When people restrict themselves on what is “allowed”, they often feel deprived. Then, when they are “allowed” to eat on their “cheat day” many people go all out. It can then take weeks to recover or pay attention to it in January (or April). They lose the weight, then go back to previous habits.

    So, the losing weight, when actually doing it, can be “easy”. Then staying there is challenging. This is infamous weight roller coaster.

    But if there are healthy habits all days of the week, throughout the year and that includes the treats throughout the year the weight is more likely to stay steady. If weight loss is desired, it will happen a bit more slowly, but it will more likely stay off.

    I eat the same any day of the week and all days of the year. Mostly. I don’t have a big Thanksgiving spread every week or even every month, but I enjoy eating out – whether it is a Tuesday or Friday or an anniversary.

    For me? I will make scones on Tuesday in mid-January, just because I feel like it. And then have one for breakfast over the next four days (the other four are eaten by my husband), include it as part of the big picture of the fruits, vegetables, protein foods that I eat, and not think twice about it.

    Where there is no weight gain, so no need to worry about the weight loss.

    So rather than having the weight gain, weight loss mentality, I can eat what I want and maintain a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle. I would love to help you with that too.

    How can you have healthier habits, more energy, and be at a realistic weight for you without feeling deprived? Ask me. Schedule your free 15-minute discovery call today.