One of the most fascinating aspects of my job is the discussions I have with my nutrition management clients. Every one of them has taught me something different about how people approach food and nutrition and weight loss.
My aim with nutrition management is to ensure my clients achieve a healthy, sensible and sustainable physical and mental relationship with food (with the added bonus of weight loss).
It's really important that they never feel like they are on a diet or that their life is on hold. My plan is not a six week fix and it isn't a short-term solution. It is designed to be a life-long change of attitude and approach that brings about permanent weight loss, almost effortlessly.
Of course, even though there's no point or calorie counting, there are going to be things we have to give up. There are things that we are going to have to say no to but the point of my approach is that it won't be difficult to do this. Each person approaches the plan differently so that they make it fit their life uniquely and personally.
But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, everything goes belly-up. Sometimes we fall off the wagon!
There are specific stages to changing our behaviour:
1 Denial -
We dont believe anything needs to change - we are fine the way we are!
2 Contemplation -
We are thinking about possibly making a change...maybe...
3 Preparation -
We are beginning to research some of the things we could change.
4 Instigation -
We are beginning to make a few tentative steps towards changing.
5 Action -
We are committed to making a change and have made several significant changes
6 Reality -
We have been comitted for some time and understand what it takes to maintain these changes.
Thngs have gone wrong but this is not a permanent state! It doesn't have a number because it could happen at any time!
Once we have moved past the stages of umming and ahing about making a change and we are beginning to incorporate the changes into our lives in a realistic, achievable and successful way, we may find we slip into relapse.
This is normal.
This is to be expected.
We are human.
The good news is that if you hit Relapse it doesn't shunt you all the way back to Denial. You can just slip straight back into Reality.
If you haven't reached Reality yet, then you still have some hard work to do but the hard work you have already done, in moving from denial to Contemplation, or from Contemplation to Preparation is never wasted - unless you stop moving forwards! And why would you do that? Why?
Basically, this means that it isn't all or nothing. So you've fallen off the wagon - so you ate the entire contents of your kitchen in one sitting - learn from it. Learn from it and move on.
It is vitally important that you analyse what went wrong. That way, you can avoid repeating the mistake. It's OK to make a mistake. It's OK to have a bad weekend but to continually make the same mistake over and over is just a complete waste of time. It makes you feel guilty and low. Why force yourself into that position? Analyse what went wrong, understand why you did what you did and then make sure you're prepared in case there's a next time.
This is where the weekly meetings I have with my clients are so important. What triggers one person's tumble from the wagon isn't going to be a problem for someone else. So we discuss each individual's approach to the plan and each individual's strategies for climbing back up and staying on track and seeing a way forward, with the ultimate aim of not needing me any more.
You see, diets fail because they don't teach us anything. They make us rely on someone else's rules. If we stray from their rules, we are lost. But I believe in order to successfully maintain weight loss, we need to learn what makes us tick. It's about discovering why we do what we do and finding ways to make healthy choices that we are happy to make because if we are happy to make them, we will go on making them!
The aim with my nutrition management is to enable people to become autonomous in their ability to manage their own nutrition. It isn't about following a load of rules that are set in stone, it's about a few specific guidelines that are bent and twisted and made to fit the individual's lives. This way each person finds a way to make it work for them. Without needing any more diets. And ultimately, without needing me!
My nutrition management approach enables people to pick themselves up and clamber back onto a wagon they fashioned themselves, and drive off into the future, confident and secure in the knowledge that they can sustain a healthy mental and physical relationship with food!
So, if you've fallen off a wagon recently, wherever it was headed, you don't need to stay down! You've already done the hard work, don't let it go to waste!