By far the most common reason I see people put weight back on is…. Drum roll please… they stop turning up. If you stop going to your doctor, coach or whoever, then you lose that motivation, accountability and problem-solving support until your new way of life is totally automatic and the weight is likely to come back.
This journey is not just about eating well for a few months, this is about a new way of life. New thoughts, new habits, maybe new people in our inner circles. And it takes time for our habits and these other things to change. Some theorise that all behaviours that we are trying to change go through the same sequence – control by others, meaning a doctor or family is encouraging you to change, then control by yourself, meaning you are leading the change but still having to apply effort and willpower, and then finally automaticity, meaning the new behaviour is a habit, you don’t have to think about it much or even try that hard, it just happens as it is a part of your life. And until this process becomes automatic you will benefit from external motivation and support because internal willpower will fail eventually. You cannot force yourself to do something forever, it has to become automatic. So remember to aim for this.
There is no shame in needing people and keeping contact with your health professional. In fact, needing help and working together is what makes us human. If we didn’t work together humans would not have survived hundreds of thousands of years ago, it is only because we came together in tribes, worked together, protected each other, that we survived. So, stay in touch with your tribe who are the people in your life that help you survive and be strong.
A lot of the time I spend with patients it not reviewing the studies about which diet is best or type of exercise but it is simply identifying barriers to their progress and working on solutions. Simple. So please record the barriers and find someone to help you with them. And that is where problem-solving really comes in.
Of course, you can go it alone if you choose to do so but many studies and my experience has made it clear that maintaining contact with a professional is more effective than going it alone. This could be your doctor if your doctor is interested in that, or a dietician, or a personal trainer, or a health coach. But in my experience, it should be someone you are not friends or family members with but rather someone who will be honest with you and hold you to account.
So keep those catch-ups in the calendar and reminders on the phone. And if you feel yourself slipping then get in earlier. You can find an online coach through The Health Docs website to help you with exactly this but you can use anyone or any program you find helpful.