How to lose 100 lbs and keep it off sounds tedious and like a lot of work. Calm, relaxed and wholehearted aren’t necessarily the first words that would jump to mind. However they are three words I would use to describe my client Tommy’s journey in the more recent times. In stark contrast, when we first met I would have used the terms chaotic and panic.
When Tommy and I first worked together in 2019, I introduced him to the concept of calorie balance. There is much debate in our industry over the efficacy of diets, but I take a different stance. I encourage my clients to be aware of the calorie content in foods, to acknowledge they have full autonomy in choices they make, that they have unconditional permission to eat and that they choose a behaviour fully accepting the consequence. To an impatient mind, this is difficult. Any fat loss phase starts with the perspective. Many people approach fat loss with a rigid mindset. The cycle becomes chaotic eating patterns a strict diet rules a chaotic eating patterns. This is the cycle of the crash-dieter—feast or famine. All or nothing. A topic I delve into a little more in the video below with Anthony from Road Man Cycling.
Contrast this to someone committed to long-term change. A calmness on a bed of knowledge and learning based on a desire to not return to old behaviours. Tommy knew of the term calorie deficit. As such, he began to think less is more. This would leave him trying to eat unsustainably low amounts of food daily followed by an excessive blowout. Though he was learning the fundamentals of weight loss he was still thinking “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just want to lose the weight as quickly as possible” This is usually a recipe for disaster. Over time, his attitude began to change. He was losing weight quickly before returning to gain it again.
In the crash-diet mentality, what goes one way with an extreme tends to go the other way with a vengeance. When Tommy spoke on my podcast, he was open about the therapeutic process he has gone through in his private life. This helped him enormously change his outlook on many things, dieting included. Over the past three years, Tommy has lost and kept off 100 pounds. He has developed an interest in strength training. He is now doing full body weight pull-ups, and weighted dips. Far from the perfectionist he thought he needed to be, he has embraced consistency over perfection. He has had nights out as well as an extended holiday, where food plays a huge role. He has consciously worked hard at developing his own values.
Tommy’s adherence increased when he stopped trying to eat very low calories and increased them substantially.
Apprehensive at first, he saw the power in adherence. He lost weight on the higher calories because he could stay with it for the most part. His rigid beliefs subsided. He was able to fit in all kinds of delicious and satisfying foods. He wasn’t eating more food weekly. He was eating less. Because he was able to stick with the actual plan. He wasn’t falling off and trying to get back on.
More importantly, the shame that comes with the on/off mentality began to disappear.
The reasons to diet and to eat changed. They developed. They evolved. Similar to the other case studies on my blog he went from chaotic dieting to nourishing himself (and the exercise stimulus) Trading your life inside a chaotic cage devoid of any routine for life inside a cage of rigid eating rules is not a trade worth aspiring to.
Change should bring with it some level of freedom.
I could give you the nuts and the bolts of change here, but literally, any calorie calculator online will do that for you. What we want is not often the ingredients of physical malnourishment. We all know we need more fruit and protein. Instead, what we might do is explore the emotional malnourishment that leaves us living out the same extreme patterns in the first place.It is often an exploratory journey, one where your beliefs are challenged in ways you weren’t anticipating that yield change. You don’t need a “diet”. You need to create a habitual routine, on a foundation of calmness and self-awareness. Tommy’s journey has been incredible. He has changed his life immensely, by changing the perspective of long-term habit change. Our work has served as the catalyst, but you don’t undergo a 100-pound transformation without a true emotional change along the way. True transformation starts within. Amazing work Tommy. Proud to say I get to work with you.
You can also listen to Tommy speaking about his complete journey and transformation himself on Episode 146 of The Paul Dermody Podcast.