The "right way" to lose weight?
I am often surprised by some of the conversations I have with people when it comes to weight loss. Whether they are clients, patients, or other health care professionals things they say about sustainable weight loss can be a surprise, in a very concerning way. What surprises is when they have an unbending idea of what proper weight management should look like. These belief can be founded in high-quality research or based on magical fad dieting promises, either way I am always surprised. Maybe I shouldn't be, but I am. These ideals usually come when they hear about or see someone be successful with weight management in one way or another and convince themselves that must be the holy grail of weight management.
This can be low-carb, calorie counting, or the idea that avoid talking about weight, calories, or anything but the food guide is the only solution. The real truth is that they are all right, and all wrong. How is that possible? Because there is no one way that will work for all people. This is why so many people fail at diet programs: inflexible thinking and ignoring personal experience.
The "right way" to management weight, if I dare to use that term, is by approaching it with flexibility. Looking at what their experience tells them will help them along this life-long journey. A conversation about their lifestyle, life history, and relationship with food will make a great starting point as to what will be a good recipe for their success. This recipe may not agree with your rigid idea of success or may fly in the face of the research you believe in, but that doesn't matter because this about one specific person.
My experience has taught me that people can be successful in vastly different approaches, and sustain that success. How? because the approaches they use work for them and they are all very different people. Evidence around this exists in the National Weight Control Registry.
So honour yourself, your friends, your family, your clients and patients. Don't instruct a rigid system of weight management - help them use their experience to light the way. Do this by having an honest conversation with them to find out their story: where they have been, where they are, and where they want to go. This will be the guiding light as to what will be the right move forward so that you don't get sucked into the unsustainable approaches.