10kg down so far: What I learnt about sustainable weight loss at the bottom of a tub of icecream.
Over the last 12 weeks I've been following a diet program. I've lost over 10kg so far and have no real reason to want to stop or to worry I'm going to fall off.
I've followed a lot of diets before. Some smart, some stupid, mostly complicated and always strict. I've had success on some of them but over the longer term there has always been a 'something' that has made me break them and revert to form.
The issue with me being dietless is that my natural instinct is to consume until there is nothing left but scorched earth and ashes. While a lot of fun this is generally not a great idea for anyone particularly a fitness professional.
The various diet plans I have followed were all supposed to be perfect and optimum in some way. The fastest weight loss possible (V-diet). The healthiest weight loss possible (Bulletproof diet, Warrior Diet). The least miserable weight loss possible (Ketogenic diet). Even the diets that were designed for health, performance or anything else were still meant to be 'perfect and optimum'. As such there wasn't a lot of room for my default suicide by doughnut strategy. These non weight loss diets were more sustainable but every slip up would earn me a few extra pounds on the scale and then the diet would then maintain the new weight until the next slip up. All the while the scales tipping heavier.
My current plan's clean days are strict. I won't pretend they aren't. Lean protein in high quality, lots of low carb veggies, a few items of fruit and a small amount of nuts. Pretty basic and as close to inarguable as anything involving nutrition ever can be. The biggest difference is the days off.
Every time I hit a new lowest weight I get a cheat day. My next is at 216 then 214, 212, 210 and so on.
Now for full disclosure the diet program does recommend moderation on your days off but as previously mentioned moderation is always my issue. I can do strict and I can do pizzapocolypse but I can't really do the massive grey area in between. I know I have issues with food and overeating and don't know how to permanently fix this.
So I didn't bother.
My days off have been awful. Really gleefully dreadful. I've just let myself go and eaten the things I've been craving over the 'diet days'. The funny thing is that despite the weight rebound after a day off these days off are still only falling every 7 to 12 days apart and honestly two pounds (just under a kilo) weight loss every 10 days is still actually pretty good.
Pretty good is what I learnt at the bottom of a pint of Phish Food. Of course this diet might actually be 'optimum' if my days off were just higher calorie versions of my other days instead of an impression of a swarm of diabetic termites. Of course it would be healthier not to ever touch sugar or vegetable oil ever again of course I would lose weight faster that way.
I always look for perfect in everything and as a result often achieve little to nothing. Pretty good has been working pretty well at a pretty good rate.
The way I'm doing it is pretty good instead. I really don't mind that the blow outs are fairly infrequent but apparently I do need them to maintain my sanity and sunny disposition (this is a joke on account of my being a nasty piece of work). Anyway, I love food, I love eating too much too quick, I love eating until I'm unable to. This approach isn't perfect but it is working pretty well and I see no reason why it won't continue to work for awhile yet.
Obviously if you are a super dedicated physique competitor type disregard this and do your thing. If you can do optimal then do it but if you can't do optimal then don't be afraid of pretty good.
If you are using "I can't eat X,Y or Z" or "I have to be allowed to eat X,Y or Z" as an excuse to do nothing on the grounds that the perfect diet is impossible for you or if you are using not knowing what the perfect diet actually is to do nothing then again this is an excuse.
Make some changes and find something that works. It won't be perfect and that's okay. Your issues will probably be different from mine but they can be worked around somehow just the same. Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good.