As I’ve shared my own weight loss journey, people have opened up to me about their own struggles and journeys where weight loss is concerned. One of the common themes is one of consistency. The weight loss efforts start off with great enthusiasm. Meals are prepped, gym memberships are dusted off and salads are consumed with gusto. The first 5 lbs shed is a cause for celebration. Then that 5 lbs becomes 10 in some cases. Then it falls apart. Two months in that 15 lbs is regained and perhaps then some. Do you identify?
Tanya’s Story: Weight loss after 50
Tanya is a Jamaican woman living in Vancouver, Canada. Tanya and I attended the same high school in Jamaica, St. Hugh’s High. We were about 2 or so years apart in school. Thanks to Facebook, we’ve kept in touch over the years. lat year I noticed from her pictures that she was looking smaller. Tanya was losing weight. To hear her tell it, she had always struggled with her weight. 2017 was an especially difficult year for Tanya. Her dad, who was back in Jamaica, was not doing so well physically. The stress of seeing her Dad’s decline and having to coordinate care for him remotely, drove her to seek solace in chocolates and the result was as expected, significant weight gain. Tanya tells her story in her own words here.
By the time 2018 rolled around, Tanya wanted a change. She had embarked on several aborted weight loss attempts. Sounds familiar? I certainly identify. I have always struggled with my weight. All. My. Life. There were times when I had lost significant amounts of weight, kept it off for a while, only to regain it all and then some. Here’s the question that Tanya was challenged with when out of desperation she confided in a life-coach about her desire to lose weight:
“Ok. So you want to lose weight. Then what’s stopping you? What’s holding you back? What’s in your way? If you want to lose weight and it’s not happening, there has to be a reason.”
Well Tanya answered that question. You’ll have to read her post here to get her full story, in her own words. The point I want to make is this: the reason why we are fat is not simply because we eat too much. It has to do with what we eat and when. Sure. But it has a lot to do with our WHY. And that WHY especially informs our seeming inability to lose weight and keep it off.
What is your story?
- Are you struggling to lose weight right now?
- How many times in the past have you attempted to lose weight?
- Were you ever successful?
- If so, why are you back here?
- Why do you want to lose weight? Be honest here.
- So why don’t you just lose the weight?
I chronicle my own journey here, the ups and downs of my weight and the place that I found myself in at the end of August 2017. I have always been fat. Like I’ve said, there have been times over the course of my life when I’ve been able to lose significant amounts of weight, and yes, I regained it all and then some. At the end of August 2017 I was horrified at what I saw in a photograph that my daughter had taken of me. I hated how I looked. And something snapped. I found a determination that had eluded me for the last two years especially. And I started the keto diet. I knew that a low-carb diet was going to be the most effective, least painful diet for me. So I started. And a year and half later, about 55-60 lbs later, I’m still going strong.
When Tanya explained how the challenge from the coach got her to stop and face some self-truths and then eventually stick to her weight loss plan, I reflected. Why has this last effort which I began in August 2017 been so successful? Why have I been staying the course this time? Why were my past efforts leading up to August 2017 so stop and start and not at all successful ? Didn’t I want to lose weight? Yes I did. So what was stopping me. Did I not want to lose weight badly enough? Was there some other answer deep inside? To be honest, I’m still not sure. What I do know though is that at the end of August 2017 I found a determination inside of me that still hasn’t died. The best I can come up with is that I really wanted to lose weight more than I wanted to continue eating with abandon.
Tanya’s formula for success
I’ve tried to distill my takeaways from Tanya’s journey to come up with the secret to her success in generic point form.
- Honesty about what has kept you from losing weight up to this point. This informs your vulnerabilities and therefore the plan you will make to ensure you succeed this time
- A decision to make the changes necessary to lose the weight
- A plan to support the decision you made
- Support to encourage and motivate
Making that Decision
I’ve found the 5 Second Rule to be a great approach to finally getting to that point where I simply decide. Making a decision is the bedrock upon which everything else is built. If you don’t make a decision, a concrete decision, chances are that you’ll falter down the road in short order. Establish a firm foundation with a decision, which is like a covenant or contract with yourself. I explain it in this video:
The Plan: KETO!
Tanya went keto to lose weight. Less than one year after starting, she’s lost 51 lbs! She’s still on the plan, and living a life full of what we call NSVs (non-scale victories) that are simply icing on the cake (really bad analogy, I know!) with this way of eating. The increased energy, the cute dress that you can now fit into, the freedom to wear what you want instead of insulating feelings and body under layers and layers, shopping regular instead of plus-size, walking with ease through busy airports, having the seat belt fit with ease, crossing legs, and so on and so on, make every day of living a gift that you can hardly wait to unwrap and get at 🙂
Why keto though? It works. Full stop. Sure you can go the calorie restriction, “balanced diet” approach. Sure you can go the “meal substitution” approach and have smoothies or whatever in place of a meal (why would you though…food is so nice!) And in going this way you’d have to deploy an awful lot of willpower and feel so much pain the process. Keto acknowledges the root of your obesity issue and deals with it there.
The Root of Obesity and Why Your Best Efforts to Lose Weight Fall Flat
Insulin resistance is at the root our issues with weight. What happens here is that the insulin you secrete in response to carbs in the body (including sugar) is not efficient and your body tries to compensate by secreting more and more insulin. What you’re left with is high blood sugar levels AND high insulin levels. That triggers inflammation all over your body, food cravings and fat storage especially around the midsection. This is exacerbated around peri-menopause when our hormone balance starts going wonky. We see best results when we remove the need for the body to secrete insulin, hence cutting carbs. The result is that our bodies burn fat for energy, cravings subside and appetites are controlled all without the need to feel pain (through depriving our bodies of food) and to deploy huge amounts of willpower (to withstand the raging cravings and appetites unleashed in the presence of carbs). Keto has really been a great plan for me. It ably supports my own decision to lose the weight I want to lose.
Support Systems: Coaches, APs, Support Groups
Tanya acknowledged the role of a weight loss coach in the initial stages of her latest and most successful weight loss journey. I think the value added by having a weight loss coach comes from knowing that you are accountable. You see, if you have that pasta or that slice of cake, it will show at your next week end. And you’ll have to look that weight loss coach, that you are paying, in the eye, and explain. Uncomfortable much!
I didn’t have a weight loss coach, but I started this journey with my then 14 year old son. Believe me, there were times in the first few weeks when I wanted a little rice. Just a little! But I couldn’t wimp out in front of my son! And he needed to lose weight. It was critical for his health and self esteem in those critical adolescent years. I needed him to win, and we wouldn’t win if we created leeway here and there. We had to stay on plan. I call him my AP, my Accountability Partner, and working together, has kept us both on track for a year and half and counting now. Thank you, Nicky.
I also took the bold and brave step of chronicling my food journey on Instagram at the encouragement of my daughter. This is another form of accountability right there. Going public provided a very strong deterrent to veering off course. Who wants to bomb out publicly, right? Thanks, Rachie 🙂
Then I discovered low-carb groups on Facebook. Those were sooooo useful! I found people with the same struggles that I had (slow weight loss), I got some great meal ideas and recipes and found comfort in seeing others’ victories on and off the scale. It convinced my that I could do this! There was a wealth of information and so many practical tips to help me remain compliant in these groups. I eventually formed my own support group. It’s free to join and shows how we do keto Caribbean style! We have men and women who love Caribbean food rocking the keto lifestyle. It’s the Caribbean Keto Tribe 🙂
Forming New Habits
Success begats success. One good decision leads to another. The almost immediate results that most people experience on keto result in a desire to stay the course. Encouragement sweetens labour. I’ve seen Tanya move from thinking that she needs to cheat on a Friday night as a reward for staying on track during the week, to treating herself with great low-carb food on a Friday instead, all through encouragement from the Tribe and simple feeling so good about herself and being in total control over her food choices. It’s possible, Folks! So many of us on this keto way of eating have replaced bad habits with good ones. We drink more water and less alcohol. We develop a love for green veggies instead of pasta and potatoes, and we make great keto desserts too 🙂 The great thing is that we are in no way deprived and we look and feel better with each passing day. Fact.
Have you made a decision yet? What is stopping you? And having made your decision, what is your plan to make good on your decision? Have you identified your support systems? There is a way!
Thank you for sharing so openly, Tanya. We are inspired by you and we have learned from you.
Subscribe to my blog here. There’s lots of great info and help available. And feel free to contact me directly if you want personalized eating plans and coaching.