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Leyla Weighs In: The best approach to weight loss I ever learned

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| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

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One of the most important components of education and training to become a nutritionist is nutritional counseling. It’s critical for changing eating behavior and is particularly germane to weight loss. I was struck by an interesting psychological strategy used by one of my preceptors back in the day during my clinical training.

She told us:

Tell your new weight loss client, “Congratulations on reaching your weight goal! This is a terrific achievement and you should be proud of your efforts.”

“Now go eat in a way to maintain your new weight.”

Wow! To approach this as if weight loss has already been achieved is a game changer. Psychologically, it takes the effort of “dieting” to lose weight out of the picture. The challenge now is weight maintenance.

We know it’s fairly easy for most people to lose weight while following a diet, right? But the rub is in keeping it off once a healthy weight goal has been reached. According to the research, the recidivism rate for weight regain after ANY weight loss diet is over 90 percent!

And we know why: Once the weight has been lost, the “diet” is over. Most people go back to old eating patterns and behaviors. Big mistake. It’s the old eating habits that led to overweight and other metabolic abnormalities in the first place. You would be better off adopting other strategies to maintain weight like a carbohydrate budget.

Think about it. Wouldn’t you be very happy thinking you’ve already met your goal? (even though you’re only imagining it for now). This would be a good frame of mind to be in to start tackling weight maintenance.

So to anyone who is trying to lose a few pounds (or many), “Congratulations are in order as you have already met your weight goal.”

“Now, go and eat in a way to keep it off.”

To your health!

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