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When I worked as a trainer I’d sometimes dread going to parties because inevitably someone would pop the question, “So what do YOU do?”

Once I told them, I’d either get a. excuses as to why they’re not working out (without me asking), b. questions about whether or not broccoli is high in protein (it’s not), or c. a dietary rundown of everything they ate that day followed by the question, “Is that bad?”

At this point I’m frantically looking for the nearest exit.

Since I’m basically trapped into giving some sort of response, I’d usually say something like, “Oh, that sounds about right,” and then duck out of sight. The persistence of the person would vary depending on the amount of alcohol they had consumed, with some people following me around critiquing everything on my plate for the remainder of the party.

Good times.

Truth is, evaluating a single day or meal or even a particular food is not enough to make any kind of analysis or judgment call. For long-term weight loss success you need this one thing NO ONE ever talks about… and fewer people do.

CONSISTENCY

Eating clean some of the time isn’t enough for you to see results (for example, eating a salad after a week of fast-food binging).

Working out whenever you can get to it won’t produce change, either.

You must have a consistent plan that becomes a priority and eventually simply becomes the way you live your life. Period.

Quick fixes do not make for long-term success for the same reason. Losing 10 pounds in one week (which is mostly water, anyway) sounds seductive, but think about the steps that diet plan requires you to take and ask yourself: Can you do this for the rest of your life on a consistent basis?

Chances are the answer is NO.

You’re likely starving yourself, paying a lot of money for a pre-planned program or eating food you hate — or a combination of one or more of these options to achieve a temporary solution. (Or, if you recall the Beverly Hills Diet, you may be battling mouth blisters from eating all that pineapple.)

Once you go back to a diet you can actually live on the weight comes back. In order to lose weight and keep it off for good—which is where most diets fail—you need a plan you can do on your own 80% of the time. This leaves 20% for dessert, a glass of wine once in awhile and the occasional splurge.

No one’s “perfect” all the time—it’s simply unrealistic. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but you can’t go hog wild without paying the price.

To be consistent enough to see results plan on eating clean: whole foods (unprocessed and not pre-packaged), lean protein (chicken, fish, soy, low-fat dairy, lean meats –see my prior post on how whey protein can help), and no junk food– 6-1/2 days of the week.

For that last half day it’s fine to splurge a bit. It may not sound like much, but trust me, once you start eating clean most of the time you’ll lose your taste for greasy burgers and a plate of fries even when you “allow” yourself a bit of a splurge.

Following this plan is how I lost weight after menopause and how you can, too.

Take it a step at a time. Start by making small changes. Wait for them to become habit, then add another. This ensures each change sticks before you try something else new.

Before you know it, it’s been a month since you’ve eaten fast food. And—bonus!—the needle starts moving in the right direction!

Here are some small changes to try:

  • Switch to all organic produce (pesticides called obesogens have been shown to contribute to weight gain)
  • Boost your water intake by one glass a day… then add one more until you reach eight
  • Add a vegetable to dinner or a fruit to a snack
  • Drink green tea during the day in place of soda (do this gradually if you’re hooked on soda)
  • Upgrade your sweetened yogurt to plain Greek yogurt and add fresh berries + honey
  • Find a yoga class and sign up with a friend today
  • Stop eating two hours before bedtime (this alone can help you drop weight by eliminating a couple hundred calories—plus you’ll feel better sleeping on a nearly empty stomach)

Now take action: Tell me in the comments below about the changes you plan to make today that you can live with to get your closer to your goals.

If you like this post please forward it to your friends and blast it out on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other social networks. I would be forever grateful!

Until next time… stay fit & feisty… and ageless!

Linda