Permanent Weight Loss & A New Identity

I’m willing to bet most people discover losing weight isn’t complicated once they do it. It may not be easy, but it’s far from the most difficult undertaking in life.

Certainly there are unique individual circumstances, but for the most part, it’s a matter of maintaining a calorie deficit.

Yet all too often, people lose a bunch of weight, hold it off for a few weeks to months, and later gain it all back (or end up heavier than they started).

What’s happening here?

Yo-yo dieting is the term to describe this back and forth. It’s the cycle of repeatedly losing and gaining weight.

For those who struggle with it, yo-yo dieting can be incredibly frustrating and demoralizing. Just imagine how disheartening it is to finally reach the healthy weight you’ve been dreaming of, only to see that success vanish in a few months.

This back and forth weight loss isn’t only stressful on your mind. It can become stressful on your body, leading to some possible unproductive consequences.

Yes and no.

Technically, diets work great. Most people who go on a diet lose some or all the weight they hoped for. However this ignores an important point…do they keep the weight off?

If you maintain a healthy weight for just a few months, did that diet truly work? Sure, you received some benefit. A short time at a healthy weight gives your body a momentary break. But zooming out, it’s more of a blip on the radar.

So in this sense, diets don’t work. In order to receive the full, lifelong benefits, the results of your diet (i.e. weight loss) must be maintained…lifelong.

For whatever reason, most people can’t sustain this. Probably why you may have heard the phrase “the best diet is the diet you can stick to.” It really doesn’t matter if you eat keto, low carb, vegan, etc. If you can’t stick with a diet that keeps you lean, it’s useless.

For starts, don’t put so much attention on the diet (especially extreme diets). It is a major factor, and you should generally eat well, but it’s still just part of the pie.

You want the whole lifestyle to go with it. That means exercise, sleep, stress relief, good habits, and mentality. And it’s that last variable I want to emphasize.

Mentality is not commonly discussed regarding permanent health improvements. Specifically, changing your mindset to identify yourself as a healthy person, athlete, etc. So someone who previously maintained the identity of an average Joe who tries to diet and exercise, would now view themself as a health-conscious fitness enthusiast.

In practice, healthy people look at something like fast food as poison. Only to be tolerated once in a while, if at all. Whereas the average Joe avoids fast food solely because they’re on a diet. Anxiously awaiting the conclusion of their diet to eat it again.

See the difference? It’s subtle, but restructuring our identity brings forth the world in a different light. With it, the changes in behavior and thinking that are essential to living healthy, permanently.

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Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Providing people control over their health and weight with the lifestyle tools they’re missing. Disciple of MBSC.