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NUTRITION

Identity Based Behaviour Change – the key to long term weight loss

Do you ever wonder why, for some people, being ‘healthy’ appears so effortless?

It must be part of their genetic makeup, you tell yourself – ‘I could never be that disciplined,’ is probably your self-narrative.

Yet, the truth is that people who practice healthy behaviours day in, day out, have made this a part of who they are – their identity.  This is the key to long term success, whatever your goal.

Identify Based Behaviour Change

Transformational nutrition goal setting

Whether intentionally or not, people who get results are people who have internalised positive behaviours, they no longer have to think about doing the ‘right’ thing, it just occurs naturally.

They also do not have the mindset that they have to eat veg all day tomorrow as a punishment for eating badly yesterday.  Nor do they see the gym as a short term fix to reach that magic number on the scales.

Quite the opposite; they have identified with the ‘thing’ that gets them results.  They have BECOME the person who eats veg every day or the girl who lifts weights.  It has become effortless because it is a part of who they are.  They never ‘forget’ to add broccoli to their evening meal or have to muster up the energy to get their gym gear because it comes as naturally as brushing their teeth in the morning.

It most likely did not happen over night, however.  They identified the habit they wanted to instil and they practised it over time.  It is this accumulation of efforts that gets results.

The issue for so many of us is that we give up far too soon; the progress is not immediate and so we do not allow enough time to identify with the person we truly want to be.  We tell ourselves it is an impossible dream and end up back in the same rut.

How To Implement Identity Based Behaviour Change

Transformational nutrition self belief behaviour change

In order to believe in a new identity, we have to first believe that it is achievable – that we can be the person we desire to be.  This means pushing self-limiting thoughts aside and remembering that we are ultimately in control of how we act, react, talk and listen each and every day.

Of course, life happens.  Situations, often difficult ones, occur each day to test us.  It is how we respond to those challenges that makes all the difference.

In order to develop true self-belief, we must prove we can do it.

The most effective way is to first identify the small things you want to work on immediately that will ultimately lead you to your overarching goal.  Perhaps you need to be more active – start by increasing your steps by 500 each day.  Maybe sleep is an issue – go to bed 10 minutes earlier each night to begin with.

Decide your focus then write it down; this will be your personal contract.

Then, follow these steps:

Attach it to an existing goal

Maybe you need to remember to take a supplement each day.  Great, put it next to your kettle to take with your morning brew.

Maybe you have vowed to do 20 squats; do them while brushing your teeth.

Attaching a new habit to an existing one means that you are less likely to forget or neglect it.

Routine

Make it part of your routine by doing it each and every day.  Don’t just do it for a day or two – keep repeating over and over so it becomes ingrained in your memory.

Reward

When you have repeated the habit for an identified period of time, i.e. 7 consecutive days, reward yourself.  No, not with a huge chocolate bar!  Try a nice bath or a relaxing massage.

Monitor progress

Transformational utrition goal setting

Once you have started, begin a habit check list to positively reinforce your new habit.  You can do this on a calendar or create your own chart, whatever works for you.  Motivation will probably be high initially but this inevitably dwindles.  A visual reminder of how you have come can, however, be a powerful way to keep you focused.

If you do miss a day and the chain breaks, don’t give up.  Start again and aim to improve on your last score.  If you find that this happens regularly, however, then you may need to rethink your habit; was it too ambitious, maybe you need to strip it back a  little.  If you have never been active before and suddenly try to run 5k a day, you will find it hard to keep it up!!

It takes an average of 66 days, not 21 like some will have you believe, to make a new habit stick.  Missing one day has no log term effect if you get back on it.  It is the summation of positive action that makes it part of our identity.

Summary

Our habits are ultimately a reflection of who we believe ourselves to be.  If you perceive yourself to be someone who cannot lift a weight in a gym or who cannot cook from scratch, then you will live that out. But is this who you really want to be?  If so, crack on!!

If, however, you want to be that girl who can wear a bikini on the beach this year or that bloke who can bench three times their body weight.  Or even that parent who always has enough energy to run after their kids, then start working on becoming that person TODAY!

If you would like more advice and guidance on how to achieve your health and fitness goals, please get in touch.

Rebecca

Categories
NUTRITION

Is There a ‘Best’ Diet for Weight Loss?

So, last week we discussed energy balance and the role it plays in weight gain and loss. This week I will attempt to present you with some facts about dieting.  

Today’s weight loss industry is misleading so many of us into believing that losing weight and transforming our lives can easily be achieved through a ‘quick-fix’ fad or diet plan!  Whilst in the short term this may well work for some, I want to provide you with the evidence to demonstrate that, in reality, it is unsustainable and will not lead to eternal happiness!  

Come on…what is a life without bread or chocolate?  Certainly not one I would choose…

But what if I told you that you can, and absolutely should, enjoy all the things you love whilst achieving your body goals? 

My ultimate aim is to simplify the science, clear the fog and guide you towards a more balanced, informed approach to nutrition.  Remember that your diet is your choice so make it an intelligent one that offers a longer, happier and healthier life.

Let’s start by looking at how some of society’s most popular diets work: 

Can you see the common theme here?  There is no magical reason why intermittent fasting is better than the ketogenic diet, they all work by creating a calorie deficit.  In other words, if you eat less calories than your body is consuming, the law of thermodynamics means you will lose weight, as we discussed last week.  

For optimal health there are, of course, other things to consider such as food quality, macronutrient balance and, dare I say it, genetics do play a part – not everyone can or should be slim.  However we are ‘not slaves to our genetic set points’ (Steven Novella), we can influence our ‘fate’ through the lifestyle choices we make.

So, I hope we all agree that if you consume fewer calories than you burn, fat loss will occur.  It is merely an equation of calories in vs calories out (CICO); simple science: 

Now we have established this, I want to highlight how recent research suggests that contemporary dieting often does not work.  When a number of diets were compared over time, they all appeared to be very difficult to stick to:

Whilst these approaches do work initially, over time the weight creeps back on because people cannot adhere to their structure and/or rigidity.  In other words, they do not match our lifestyles and can lead to sporadic or ‘yoyo’ dieting.  This more often than not has a huge emotional and physical impact that over time simply isn’t worth it. 

Furthermore, a recent meta-analysis that compared high and low carbohydrate diets concluded that there was no real difference in weight loss.

The bottom line is that no single, contemporary diet has the edge over another and maintainable weight loss all comes down to adherence and consistency.  As Steve Novella puts it ‘long term weight control requires sustainable strategies, not quick fixes and not magical diets’.  

The key is to find an approach that works for you over a period of time.  Don’t restrict the things you enjoy, life is far too short for that!  In fact, research suggests that people who heavily restrict in the short term, gain more over time than those who take a more gradual approach.  This is because psychologically we always want what we cannot have so will eventually binge on our self-proclaimed ‘forbidden’ foods.  

It is all about finding a balance and giving yourself permission to love life!  

I will end with a few sensible diet recommendations: 

1. Find something that works for you and you can see yourself continuing a year from now.

2. Include adequate protein.

3. Make nutritious food choices wherever possible –follow the 80/20 rule.

4. Move more!

5. Give yourself permission to enjoy food

6. Learn to love yourself!!! 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, please leave me some feedback and get in touch with any questions  😊