Eling Tsai MPH RD
Dietitian at neXendo Weight Management Center/Endocrine Associates of West Village
As a dietitian, a question I hear time and time again is, “How can I keep weight off for good?”. Depending on who you ask, the answer can range from following an intermittent fasting regimen to the ketogenic diet to a celery juice cleanse. While these “trendy” diets offer a seemingly simple and tidy solution, most people find them to be frustrating, expensive experiences that that don’t lead to lasting results.
There are several reasons why these diets can prove to be ineffective (and at times, problematic and unhealthy), which I will be addressing in a future post. But before you embark on any weight management journey, I have two simple mind shifts for you to increase your likelihood of success!
By over-emphasizing the number on the scale, we start to have tunnel vision about what success looks like. Yes, weight is an important indicator of overall diet and lifestyle quality, but it’s not the only one. Indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol, quality of sleep, and blood sugar levels are just some to consider. Or how about these: more energy to play with your children, longer walks with the dog, increased alertness at work, less joint pain, and decreasing your medication load.
By looking at the big picture (and not just a number on the scale), it’s easier to find the motivation to make significant changes in your eating behavior. Before starting your weight loss program, I encourage you to take a moment to write down some of the positive outcomes that you are looking forward to that aren’t simply a number on the scale.
An added benefit of this is that even mild weight loss can lead to you reaching some of these other goals. This gives us many more things to celebrate along the way!
“I’m going on a diet” → “I’m changing my eating pattern”
In simple terms, diets as we’ve come to know them don’t work. When we think of the word “diet’, we think of a short-term change in eating that will (in theory) lead to weight loss. For example, how many times have we heard that someone is going on a diet before a vacation or other special event? It’s safe to assume that they might have made positive health changes for a little while, but the weight came back afterward.
At neXendo, we don’t see our programs as a diet. Diets end once the first goal has been reached. We see our programs as the first step to a better relationship with food and your body that will last forever. By reframing your experience from a “diet” to a lifelong eating pattern, you’re acknowledging that this is an investment in your long-term health.
Making changes to your daily lifestyle isn’t a simple change, but it’s one that I know you’re equipped to make. By shifting from a short-term, weight-focused mindset to a long-term, lifestyle-focused one, you have already accomplished the first step to weight management success.