Grasping the Concept of “The Course”
As you embark on a weight loss journey (and long-term control), it’s essential that you invest some thought and consideration into a phrase we often use with our weight loss clients. That phrase is “Stay the Course”.
So, what is “the course”? That’s exactly what this brief writing is about.
Most people who come to our clinics have made an important conclusion: “Diets” do not work! The word “diet” tends to inherently signal something radical, short-term and miserable. Who wants that? Nobody!
People who are seriously considering healthy, effective and lasting weight loss have arrived at this realization:
It’s time for a LIFESTYLE change … not another “diet”.
Think about that word. What does LIFESTYLE mean to YOU? Let’s dig into it. Searching through resources revealed a few definitions worth sharing.
- “The particular way that a person or group lives and the values and ideas supported by that person or group.” - Cambridge English Dictionary
- “The lifestyle of a particular person or group of people is the living conditions, behavior, and habits that are typical of them or are chosen by them.” - Collins English Dictionary
- “A way of living of individuals, families (households), and societies, which they manifest in coping with their physical, psychological, social, and economic environments on a day-to-day basis. Lifestyle is expressed in both work and leisure behavior patterns and (on an individual basis) in activities, attitudes, interests, opinions, values and allocation of income…” - Business Dictionary.com
Obviously, there are many, many dictionary resources. Frankly, you may have your own personal definition. We just chose a few to share. What’s interesting is to pick out the key words trickled through these definitions. Pay close attention to words like …
The truth is this: If you will pause and think about these words and combine them together it all starts making perfect sense. Check out this way of combining these key words into a few sentences.
Focus on your VALUES and bear in mind that you really can CHOOSE your ATTITUDE and how you ALLOCATE your time, energy and resources. Those choices direct BEHAVIOR. When sensible choices are consistently made, you will MANIFEST healthy PATTERNS (called HABITS) which will shape your personal way of doing things (your STYLE) and will result in you feeling well, looking well and most importantly LIVING well!
The bottom line is this: a “diet” is a temporary change. You shift your personal eating approach to achieve a certain outcome (typically weight loss or maybe a result like a periodic detox). Then, when the “diet” is completed you return to your previous eating habits.
It’s not rocket science that when you do this, low and behold, you end up with the same result you had before the diet. It’s called cause and effect! Do the same ol’ thing and you get the same ol’ result!
On the other hand, a lifestyle change consists of more than just DOING something different short term. It involves a change in your thinking. How you think about food. How you think about yourself. How you think about and go about adopting new and healthier habits that promote long-term weight control and wellness.
“Diets” focus almost entirely on food intake and are a temporary, single faceted change. Lifestyle shifts incorporate strategic eating plus other factors that directly affect weight and wellness
Important to keep in mind is the understanding that lifestyle shift and the journey of sustainable weight loss is rarely a straight line. After taking care of so many people in our community and, specifically, observing and coaching many through our clinical weight loss program, the more common path seems be like a popular image portraying the reality of “success”. Maybe you have seen this before …
The Path of “SUCCESS”
It’s a funny image comparing what many people THINK the path to “success” looks … if they have never trudged the difficult path to high achievement. Of course, as it relates to weight loss – and the scale going down - the path would be more accurate to view those arrows going DOWN rather than up! But the point is still the same: the journey to your goal is not always a straight line. In fact, it is rarely is!
“Staying the Course” requires that you remain focused on this reality. Time and patience are critical ingredients to forming new habits and creating healthy lifestyle shifts. Commit to letting time work for you … not against you as it possibly has in the past.
Frustrated with past attempts and ready for a way of thinking and a process of doing things that will do more than just lower your weight temporarily? Think LIFESTYLE. That is what we mean by the concept of “The Course”.