10 Unconventional Strategies for Weight Loss Success

Posted: May 15, 2015 in Nutrition information
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We’re often tempted to treat weight loss like a simple formula-based endeavor.

When we do this, cut out that, add this, and reduce that, success is inevitable – right?

In the world of human foibles and personalities, however, the picture is a little more complicated. It’s why motivation matters, why mindset matters, why the odd and unusual, shot-in-the-dark strategy can sometimes be the linchpin for a whole process.

Over the years, I’ve coached many clients who were diligent and intelligent, who showed up and gave their full effort, but some small aspect of their mindset or lifestyle became a hangup. Something – sometimes an element not even related to their health – was holding them back. The answer? We got creative, and they enjoyed the full measure of their success.

Think for a moment about the personal practices and offbeat advice that have had the most impact on you, and check out these ten unconventional ideas that may boost your weight loss momentum.

Sink your scale.

Ah, the scale…the great and powerful scale. It’s the only fixture (besides a mirror) that can put us in a bad mood just by doing its job. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked clients to stop weighing themselves so much (daily) I probably wouldn’t need a paycheck any longer.

The only thing the scale is good for on a daily basis is telling us how much the world weighs on our shoulders. What a way to start your day!

To avoid this nagging mood-crusher, one of our fitness professionals actually had his client put her bathroom scale at the bottom of her swimming pool and text him a photo of it sitting under several feet of water each morning to show him she wasn’t hyper-focused on her daily weight!

Guess what. She’s one of LTWL’s most popular success stories. The fact is, a simple scale can’t come close to measuring all the changes happening within the body when it’s finally being nourished and rested in a way that allows fat to melt off. Stop watching the scale, and start noticing how you feel.

Go on a [media] fast.

Another odd piece of advice I’ve regularly given my clients in the past is to ignore every weight loss and health message from popular media sources for at least a few months. That’s how long it generally takes for folks to truly find their behavioral rhythm for optimal function.

Yep, a media fast can be remarkably effective at simplifying an individual’s change process. Too often, the mainstream media dishes out generalized claims that are extrapolated from observational research (a type of research not well-suited for drawing cause & effect conclusions).

Headlines seem to change their tune daily (e.g. the value/danger of eggs or red meat). The back and forth effect can be flat-out confusing for a person trying to find what works best for him/her. There’s a time and place for more information from media sources, but I’ve rarely seen it work positively as people build momentum on their paths to success.

Customize your “feed.”

The power of social influence cannot be underestimated, and you can use it for your advantage. When setting up your Twitter or Facebook news feeds, take control of who influences you. Only “follow” the people and organizations that inspire you to become as healthy as you can be.

Think about how many times each day or week you open up your news feed and feel influenced, whether by friends splurging on junk food after a workout or by a healthier update from one who’s showcasing her latest hiking endeavor or backyard produce. Maybe it means unsubscribing from “sad news” sources and “liking” pages that post nothing but affirming messages.

Go off the grid.

I love it when clients want to dig into their processes and share their knowledge and progress with their social networks, but it can get in the way sometimes.

Going off the grid – abstaining from constant updates and electronic high-fives – to firmly connect with their process can solidify changes just as well as having an army of supporters “liking” every check-in at the club. Imagine you had three solid months of no communication with your electronic world. What value could that bring to your active, health-centric lifestyle? How much could the extra “me” time and focus be worth to you?

Although three months is (for most of us) an extreme goal, set a target limit for devices and stick to it. Solidify your success with some much-deserved tech-free time.

Donate your (favorite) old outfit.

I know you may like a certain outfit that brings out your eye color or accentuates your swanky fashion taste, but if it’s a size or two bigger than you want to be, shouldn’t you let someone else enjoy it?

What about donating some of your favorite clothing to someone else in need to gently nudge you into those smaller sizes? Many of my clients have made a deal with themselves to never again buy clothes in certain sizes to accommodate their mediocre progress and to donate their nicest “old” sized clothing to someone in need. All of them have told me it’s made all the difference in the world for their transformation.

Splurge on new clothes (in a smaller size).

This “unconventional” tip may not seem too different from the previous, but it is. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to spend hard-earned cash on nice clothes that don’t fit yet.

For competitive personalities, however, this turns on all sorts of change motivation. Talk about getting serious about your weight loss strategies! When there’s fresh new garb to show off, no one wants to stall on getting fit to enjoy it. Sometimes this tactic works even better for men than women! Can you say beach-bod season?

Get a manicure (or massage).

Sure, not all guys are interested in putting the “man” in “manicure,” but a little self-indulgence can go a long way. A weekly or monthly reward to make yourself feel pampered after all your hard work is well-deserved and recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle.

It shouldn’t always be a nose-to-the-grindstone game to lose weight. Self-indulgence is a great way to enjoy some much needed downtime to reflect on your hard work and dedication without using food as a reward.

Do the opposite of what hasn’t worked.

I’ve had so many conversations with clients who’ve said they’re trying various diet programs, low calorie meals and snacks, obscure pills or excessive calorie-torching exercise efforts that promise quick changes.

The hopes and frustrations are hard to distinguish, but one thing’s often certain: we probably need to completely change our approach.

When I ask, “How’s that working for you?” as Dr. John Berardi would, I’m really asking if it’s worth it to continue these efforts despite minimal or non-existent progress. Do you need to work out more or less, harder or easier? Worry more or less? Sleep more or less? In my experience, the common weight loss mentality often loses sight of how to best balance these critical lifestyle considerations. It’s okay to work hard; just be sure to rest harder and nourish better.

Eat like your life depended on it (because it does).

This is a little drastic, but what if you were ill with a life-threatening disease or even a nagging chronic condition like diabetes? Would you eat differently?

Dr. Mark Hyman has often said the best way to avoid diabetes is to eat as though we already have the disease. It seems to make sense to me. Apply that logic this week when you grocery shop, prepare dinners or pack your lunch, and pretend you’re battling a serious health condition.

If you were feeding a relative or friend who was trying to boost his/her resiliency, immunity or general health, would you even consider some of the choices you commonly do for yourself? How would you change your life to maximize wholesome nourishment and minimize suspect ingredients? These are the questions I ponder and hope my clients will (eventually) too.

Take (silly) photos.

Personally, I think it would be awesome if our members posted goofy, light-hearted “selfies” on our Facebook site to show how much fun it is to gain strength and energy while working out, living the Healthy Way of Life and transforming their futures.

Not many of my weight loss clients have been willing to do so, but documenting the visual transformation on the journey to “fit” can be so much fun.

Oftentimes, I’d show clients their membership profile photos a few weeks into their journeys to highlight how much more life, energy and humor was just waiting to shine through once they strung together enough health-minded days.

Wrinkles and bags disappear, happiness and youth are renewed, and jaw-lines and confidence become more prominent as clients adopt even basic daily behaviors. These seemingly subtle changes are often obvious to co-workers or friends but go unnoticed to the person transforming. Casting aside the camera-shy attitude can add some real fun and feedback to the journey towards success.

Measure by hours instead of days, weeks, pounds or inches.

If I asked you what “healthy” people do differently each hour compared to those who struggle, what would you say? What if you emulated exactly what those “healthy” people did hour by hour? How would your approach change?

Chances are, you’d feel less overwhelmed by the slew of changes that happen over a week’s span to simply focus on the now. Healthy people would do a few squats at their desks or walk a few flights of stairs rather than stay put during the extra seven minutes after a meeting ended early. Healthy people would skip the bun and ask for a salad instead of fries. Healthy people would take a deep breath and realize everything will be okay despite a minor stress.

Go ahead, be healthy this hour. Repeat it next hour, and by the end of the week, you will reflect on the fact you had a much healthier seven days! Be closer to “perfect” just this hour. Simply act “as if” now. Later on, when you assess your progress, you can be pleased you’ve improved more than lapsed.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. Are you interested in hearing more about unconventional and motivational practices to spur your success? Talk with one of our weight loss coaches today.

In health, Paul Kriegler – Corporate Registered Dietitian

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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