The Ideal Rate of Weight Loss + Three Better Metrics for Weight Loss Success

FYI two upcoming events for you to join me:

  • Philly Mag’s “Be Well Boot Camp” Saturday, June 8, 2013,  9:00 a.m. – 3:00 pm, Drexel University. Presentations by some great doctors along with my Truce with Food™program, cooking demos and a work-out bonanza. Tickets are $25. Find out more details and register here.

AND …

  • A virtual “Angry and Gluten Free? Now What?” Master class with Gluten-Free School and me about the emotions associated with food allergy restriction on Tuesday, June 18, 8:30 p.m. It’s a free event. Details and sign-up are at Gluten Free School

Now onto … The Most Ideal Rate of Weight Loss.

The dieting bible preaches a healthy weight loss as one to two consistent pounds a week. But what if you want to keep your sanity and the weight off? That best weight loss rate, the one that preserves your metabolism and motivation, is a half-pound of weight a week. But that’s an average.

scaleJune2013

The reality is you could lose zero pounds for two weeks and then four pounds at the end of the month. While formulas make you feel in control, they often end up controlling you. As Brandon Mentore a Truce with Food™ bonus instructor explained, “There are too many factors that play a role in weight to measure weight loss weekly. Weighing yourself multiple times a week is like holding a magnifying glass to the ocean. Zoom out and go with a monthly overall goal. Set it and forget it; we’ll see you in 30 days. Losing weight is not an equation but conducting an orchestra of diet, exercise, healing and lifestyle adjustments.”

You see, weight loss is often a side effect from the body’s healing. Take the three to five pounds of bacteria inside you, known as the gut biome. Research is discovering that these bacteria play an important role in weight. In one study, researchers estimated that 20% of the effect of gastric bypass surgery is because the bacteria profile changes post-surgery. When I map a client’s weight history, some realize their weight went up a good 10 pounds after heavy or repeated rounds of antibiotics. Their gut biome is altered and will take time to rebalance.

Or consider stress. This includes the hatred-frustration-stress stew from weighing yourself too often. I spend equal time diagnosing the stresses in clients’ lives as in exploring their food choices. When they feel like that “huge weight is off their shoulders”, the mental lightness reflects on the scale. This is why you might notice a weight loss on vacation despite eating whatever you want. Your metabolic low-battery found the vacation doubled as a charging station!

Thinking about the “me” from eight years ago who had one foot cemented in traditional dieting and one foot desperate for an alternative, I’d have appreciated some sort of metrics aside from once-a-month weigh-ins. So here are three new metrics to create harmony in the body, with weight loss a side effect:

1. List the ailments you feel (i.e. fatigue, bloating, joint pain, insomnia) and then focus on progress, not perfection. Joint pain? Try going gluten-free to reduce inflammation. Bloating? Experiment with a probiotic supplement and eliminate dairy. Insomnia?  Cut caffeine by 12 p.m. and/or switch from coffee to green tea to help heal your adrenal glands. Focus on healing; these immediate results will inspire you to maintain your healthy habits.

2.” Fun and Done” trumps “No Pain, No Gain”. Are you bored of your work-out routine? Tired of eating the same breakfast? Habit plateaus mirror mental plateaus. Measure how much novelty is in your health routine. One client of mine was “unmotivated” to work-out. A closer look revealed she was uninspired. She’s a really adventurous person, so we brainstormed a 30-day challenge for her to try 20 different work-outs in 30 days. Now mentally and metabolically, she’s on a work-out adventure that’s exciting versus stressing. Or maybe you need to join in on the growing trend of  “I Wanna be a Kid Again” camps. Your opportunity to learn to be a cowgirl has arrived. A side-effect of the trip’s excitement turns the “shoulds” of getting into shape into the wonder of “could.” Feel the difference in lightness of those intentions.

3. Are your “off” periods shorter and less frequent? Learning resilience, not perfection, is a weight-loss super power. When you are “bad” or go “off-track”, measure how long it lasts.  Maybe at first you will measure your “off-track” time in days; later the interlude may only be measured in meals.  Or can you eat healthy on the days you skip the gym or work-out even though you ate a Snickers bar after lunch? If you have to have dessert, can you try to leave two bites and not eat the whole thing? As long as your getting back on the proverbial horse with more agility, your cowgirl and weight-loss dreams are happening!

Remember the one secret to all the extraordinarily successful people in life is that they have usually failed more. The sciences call it data.

A half pound a week may sound like a damper. But so is having one more precious moment of life tangled up in food guilt. By being realistic, you’ll remain optimistic. Weight loss is a physical, emotional and spiritual endeavor. Give yourself space to make it your own. Because who wants to end up average?

Be well,

Ali