Studies have shown that people who have lost weight will typically be right where they started again in five years. Obviously, the challenges of “eating clean” are extremely varied and can leave you feeling like you’re playing a bad game of whack a mole. Particularly at this time of year, who hasn’t over indulged a little over Christmas lunch or had a little too much to drink on New Years Eve? We’ve also set New Year resolutions in January, but probably won’t take them with us into February.
Turns out, losing weight and living a healthy life are less related to reactive dieting and more contingent on your general trend and attitude.
This is where Grit comes into the picture. This psychological concept was popularised by Angela Duckworth in her book of the same name. The subtitle of the book – “why passion and resilience are the secrets to success” explains how perseverance holds the key to long term success in all aspects of life, including in dietary endeavours. In my time as a dietitian, I’ve always wondered how much meaningful change actually comes from sticking to principles that we know work. Surely the tenacity to hold fast to your resolutions is just as important as the original decision to make a change!
“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.” This is how Angela explains the concept of Grit in her book. It paints a clear picture – it’s going to be difficult, and obstacles are going to present themselves like those unwelcome relatives at Christmas lunch… but when that happens, it’s really all about continuing on your journey.
Keep that insurmountable hunger (hopefully only metaphorical) to make it happen.
Let’s get into a bit of the science…
Studies looking for a way to create and maintain weight loss have shown that doing more activity, eating less calories and having more restraint (that voice that tells you not to eat the double glazed oreo topped donut when you really want to) leads to more weight loss and better long-term results – but you knew all of that already, right?
The other factor is making a long-term lifestyle change – how long you can stay consistent with your new habits. People who maintain their weight loss for more than two years are more likely to keep the weight off for much longer, which means that keeping the weight off gets easier over time.
Remember, a one size fits all approach to healthy eating does NOT exist. What has worked for me in the past may not work for you. That is why a Dietitian can help you identify the path you’re happy to walk along and be comfortable with your choices along the way. And in most cases, you’re only one tiny step away from getting it right!
Remember, it’s not a short term diet… it’s micro adjustments sustained over years of work.
Hermes is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian who has a keen interest in both weight loss and associated conditions, as well as sports performance with athletes. To begin your journey with Hermes, please call Sydney West Sports Medicine on 02 9851 5959 and make an appointment today.
Now that you have the evidence, I challenge you to find out where you stand on the grittiness scale. To determine how “Gritty” you are, click here to see how you rate on the passion and perseverance spectrum.