What’s the hardest thing about losing weight? Your immediate knee-jerk responses are probably along these lines: going without your favorite foods, counting calories, eating a boring diet, and giving up your life to spend hours sweating away at the gym. But really, for most people, the hardest part of losing weight and keeping it off is overcoming some deeply ingrained attitudes — some myths, really, that we’ve had foisted on us for a long time.

Almost all of us first have to let go of some ideas that we’ve bought into without even realizing it. Like the idea that there’s a one-time, quick fix for most problems. Or the idea that we can just treat symptoms, which is usually quicker and simpler than identifying and correcting the underlying condition beneath those symptoms. But here at Quest Weight Loss, we advocate a whole-person, holistic approach, especially for lasting weight loss.

Putting a healthy lifestyle first

Many of us want to lose weight in order to look better and feel better, but making weight the primary focus can lead to overlooking important health considerations. There’s a tendency to focus only on calories in vs. calories out for weight-loss purposes, but there are actually a lot of processes that take place in the human body that determine how well we process and use those calories. Weight in and of itself isn’t always a good indicator of health.

Consider, for example, that many people who have attempted to lose weight but failed to reach their goal weight still live longer than those who didn’t make the same healthy lifestyle changes. In fact, weight loss — if achieved in the wrong way — can even have a negative impact on your health.

It’s also important to note that the true goal isn’t really weight loss, but fat loss. If you lose weight too quickly, without addressing any underlying health issues, you run the risk of losing too much muscle mass — and that’s exactly what you don’t want. Muscle mass is important for building strength and increasing your resting metabolism, which in turn makes it easier to lose fat and keep it off.

The best course, then, is a long-term commitment to improving your health through regular activity and a healthy diet. With this approach, slower but longer-lasting weight loss is typically the natural result. And the results are usually much easier to hang onto.

Developing the right attitude

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying, whether you think you can or think you can’t . . . you’re right. So, really, attitude is everything!

Besides taking a longer view and focusing on health primarily and weight loss secondarily, one of the best ways to keep that positive, success-oriented attitude going is by using different measuring tools. And that means using photographs and measurements instead of the scales to gauge your progress in losing weight.

Here’s an example: Suppose (after getting the green light from your doctor) you decide to take up progressive weight training. The usual result of weight training combined with a good diet is an increase in muscle mass. You likely gain more energy, your body composition will start to change, and your clothes will be looser — but you may actually weigh more. So it’s often a good idea to use photographs and measurements instead of the scale to see if you’ve made progress. Some changes may not even be visible in the mirror, so having photos to look back on will give you a visual reminder of how far you’ve come.

The best weight-loss diet

The best weight-loss diet is, of course, the one that promotes your primary goal of achieving better overall health. And, usually, weight loss follows right on the heels of such a diet.

You know, of course, that you have to cut out the junk – fast food, soda, sugar- and salt-laden snacks, processed food, and so on. But it’s not about counting calories or falling for fad diets (which can lead to missing vital nutrients or losing weight so fast it has negative effects). Rather, it means consuming foods as close to their natural state as much as possible. And most of the time, that means a low-glycemic diet.

A low-glycemic diet is one that incorporates carbohydrates that rank relatively low on the glycemic index, usually with a GI value of 55 or lower. (And you do need carbs — fruits and vegetables — for proper nutrition and to maintain energy levels.) These low-glycemic foods are digested, absorbed, and metabolized more slowly than higher-glycemic foods. As a result, the consequent rise in blood glucose is slower and the insulin spike is less, all of which is necessary in a solid weight-loss diet. At Quest Weight Loss, we develop personalized low-glycemic diet plans for all of our patients to help them meet their goals during the active weight-loss phase.

The best exercise regimen

What is the best exercise regimen for weight loss, fitness, and an overall healthy lifestyle? It’s the one that fits with your schedule and the one that you’ll keep up over the long haul. And, no, it doesn’t have to be lifting weights at the gym or even taking a strenuous exercise class.

Your exercise program can be anything that fits well into your daily routine and gets you moving around in a healthy way. Regular, moderate activity is often better than occasional, intense exercise. So find ways to add more activity into your day. This could mean taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, going for walks in the evening, or just actively gardening more. Remember, the goal is to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, not engage in activities you’ll get burnt out on after a couple of months.

Bringing it all together

So the main ingredients of successful and long-lasting weight loss are a focus on overall health (including emotional health), a healthy diet, and increased activity. Pretty simple to say, but sometime it’s not always so easy to implement and keep up with all of today’s competing demands pulling you in every direction.

That’s where Quest Weight Loss comes in to help you achieve your health, wellness, and weight-loss goals. Quest Weight Loss was designed from 14 years of experience to provide you with a comprehensive and highly personalized weight-loss solution. Every patient’s weight-loss plan is created specifically to address their unique needs and to achieve their personal health and weight-loss goals. Contact us for a free consultation today and get started on the path to looking and feeling your best!