The three keys to a healthy weight for the rest of your life

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

  1. What do you want and why - assessing your situation

  2. Get the tools - nutrition education

  3. Understand how your brain works and do the work - mindset

This sounds like a great title of a blogpost. The answer to the big question right? Of course, this is a bit simplified, however, it does not have to be very complicated. Let us start from the beginning.

When you say to yourself “I want to lose weight” or “I need to lose weight” or similar things, it is important to dig deeper and understand why you have these thoughts. It could be hard to dig deep and be honest with ourselves to get the true answer. Many of us are good at twisting the truth a bit or choosing an easier explanation than the real answer. Sometimes the real answer hurts and we naturally want to protect ourselves from pain.

Did this thought come from pictures on social media and the answer is that you think you need to look a certain way to be appreciated? Did this thought come from your doctor telling you that your cholesterol is high and that you are at risk of developing diabetes? Does this thought come from a feeling of physical discomfort and wanting to be able to take part in more activities and enjoy life more?

Whatever your answer is, make sure it is the true answer. Being truly honest with yourself is a first step in making a change.

When you know what you want to accomplish and why, it is important to get the right tools for what you are about to do. Tools could mean physical items or it could mean knowledge. In this case we have a little bit of both. We have the physical food and we have the knowledge of what food would be a good choice. Unfortunately very few of us received any type of useful nutrition education in school and if we did, it may be outdated as nutrition science has developed a lot lately. It is a young science and therefore we are still learning about it.

Before the internet we would go and find information from books or from doctors, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals. Today I bet your first go-to is a Google search on the internet. There are some problems with this as it is very difficult to judge the source, accuracy, and validity of the information you search for.

Here is an example. I just googled “is it good to eat cheese every day?” Below you see three snippets of the answers I got in just the first page of hits:

But wait, the first one says that cheese could lead to high cholesterol while the second one says it could help reduce risk of heart disease and stroke?! Do you not get heart disease and stroke from high cholesterol? The third answer talks about “a healthy serving”. How much is that? Which source is more credible than the other?

This is just to prove my point that searching the internet for nutrition information can become more than confusing and in the end you feel like you know less than you thought before you started looking. This is one of a dietitian’s most important tasks. To help you understand nutrition science and how to apply it to you and how to distinguish facts from BS. When it comes to getting your tools in place, find a registered dietitian who you click with and get yourself educated. Nutrition education is much better than meal plans as having the knowledge makes you free to make your own choices.

The third step might be the most challenging one I dare to say. This step is about your thoughts, your habits, and change. Change is hard. This is the step where many at some point drive off the road or just give up. You have figured out step one; you want to be healthier to feel better and have more energy. You have figured out step two; you connected with a dietitian and took a nutrition course or had group counseling, or one-on-one sessions together.

Now in step three you will start to question your thoughts and your actions. Most of us eat for so many other reasons than being hungry or trying to stay alive. Most of us have the privilege of not having to worry about getting our next meal. No, we have ended up in a situation where we eat more than we wanted or needed, and start to feel bad or feel uncomfortable afterwards. But we do not know how to stop or how to control it. Or as I prefer to say, how to BALANCE it.

A good dietitian who works with weight management will help you with all three steps and educate and support you along the way. The steps often intermingle with each other and it is important to understand that this is a highly individual journey. Your answers to these questions will be different than mine.

What I often see is this:

  1. I want to lose weight because I want to look a certain way so other people will appreciate me.

  2. Search the internet for weight loss diets and begin a very restrictive diet which is unsustainable for a longer period of time. Lose a lot of weight fast and then stop because I cannot stand the feeling of being deprived all the time.

  3. Gain the weight back and sometimes more, and end up with extremely negative thoughts about yourself that you have no control over.

Many people keep repeating this circle over and over again.

A better choice would be:

  1. Making sure that your reason for changing is purely for your own good and from your own will and has nothing to do with other people.

  2. Get solid nutrition knowledge that you can use to make the right choices for yourself for the rest of your life.

  3. Be able to understand yourself and stay on a nutrition path that helps you become more healthy and is sustainable for the rest of your life. No nutrition path should leave you feeling deprived.

Contact a registered dietitian to help you with these steps.

Are you interested in investing in a better nutrition path for you? Send me an email on: (English, Dutch, or Swedish, whatever you are most comfortable with).

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