When it comes to fat loss, would you rather make immediate progress that’s less easily maintained, and have to repeat the whole process again in a few months when you have regained the weight?
Or would you prefer to make less rapid progress which you can maintain forever, so that you never have to ‘diet’ again?
When I first met 98fm DJ and family man Ray Foley, right, he was 100pc on the former approach — it’s the standard dieter’s trap.
He could easily lose a stone in a month, but it would always reappear just as quickly when he stopped following the diet.
It’s a vicious perpetual cycle that happens over and over again. Yo-yo dieting being a very appropriate term used to describe this behaviour.
I wanted things to be different for Ray this time. To lose the weight slowly but surely, but once and for all, and to keep it off forever.
My goal was to work with Ray to help him set up a lifestyle change. One that he could sustain, one that he could maintain the results of, and ultimately, one that he enjoyed too.
Rather than making Ray blindly and mindlessly follow a meal plan, we adopted a habits-based approach to nutrition, where I empowered Ray with all the tools and information necessary so he could develop new behaviours and food habits to start the weight-loss process.
My first piece of advice for Ray was ‘Don’t go gung-ho’, and instead, make small changes that he will hardly even notice. Here’s what happened...
THE RESULTS SO FAR
When I work with clients, I generally don’t go by the scales, or any sort of body composition measurements to begin with. Instead, I ask them how do they feel and how do they look in the mirror.
I asked Ray, what changes in his appearance did he see when he looked in the mirror: “My face isn’t as chubby or bloated as it used to be. I definitely don’t look as tired, ie the big black bags under my eyes are gone, and my jeans are looser… Result!”
I also asked how him how he thought the nutrition side of things were going. Was he having difficulty following it and what positive eating decisions had he been making?
“My appetite has actually increased! But in a good way. Particularly in the first half of the day. I used to eat muffins and a coffee for breakfast at 7am and nothing then until lunch.
Now I have porridge, some high-protein Greek yogurt and fruit at 7am, then something else again at 10.30am, and again just after midday. No more coffee or Danish to get me through the mornings. Now it’s all nourishing food such as oats, fruit, yogurt and eggs! The first half of the day is MUCH better, which I am proud of.”
As well as his appearance, Ray had some very positive observations to make about his overall health, namely his sleep and energy levels.
“Over the past couple of months, my sleep has vastly improved. I’m getting to bed earlier and sleeping through the night, which I struggled to do since starting on early mornings. I have more energy during the day and I’m less tired from work and after an afternoon with my kids.
“Plus my ‘willingness to train’ has gone from zero to actually going back to the gym again. I wouldn’t have had the energy to even consider this a few months ago.”
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
“I wanted MASSIVE, fast weight loss, but I’m happy with the 9lbs I’ve lost so far and kept off. I’ll be even happier with the next 9lbs, and the next nine after that. I now understand it’s not an overnight thing. I’m definitely happier to do it slowly and keep it off this time.
“It took me three years to put on four stone, so I don’t expect to lose it as quickly anymore”.
2. Routine: setting myself up for a good day
“Making decisions and sticking by them is key. My mornings are way better because of this, which helps my entire day.”
3. Support: help at home is vital
“My wife, Kate, has been encouraging me, which has been fantastic.”
4. Treats are okay!
“If I didn’t have the odd curry and glass of wine, either I or several other people around me would be dead.”
Overall, Ray has found some changes easy and some not so easy. Inevitably, there will be obstacles, but the key is consistency, time, and patience.
Ray’s breakfast and lunch routine has vastly improved and those changes alone are having good health implications.
Now that his mindset has shifted, the body is following. By ditching the traditional approach to dieting, Ray is both feeling better and looking better, while still enjoying curry and wine along the way!
Karen is a nutrition coach and personal trainer and runs monthly online group nutrition coaching programmes and hosts nutrition seminars around the country. See www.thenutcoach.com