Making The First 8 Weeks Count!
Starting early and strong matters in the long run! Early weight loss can predict long-term success. The Look AHEAD study followed 2,290 adults on their weight loss for 8 years and provided an intensive weight loss intervention. It described successful weight loss as losing more than 5% of body weight and maintaining it 8 years later. 
It found that:
- Losing over 3% of your body weight in the first 2 months makes you more likely to keep the weight off 8 years later.
- Losing more than 6% of their body weight in the first 2 months makes you 2.28x more likely to maintain the weight loss after 8 years (compared to less than 3% weight loss).
- In fact, 77% of participants who were successful at the 8 year mark lost over 3% of their body weight within the first 2 months.
What does this look like?
If you are 70kg, 3-6% weight loss would equal to a 2.1 – 4.2 kg weight loss across 2 months. That’s about 250g – 525g per week which is achievable and safe.
Regular check-ins with goal setting, monitoring and feedback.
Successful long-term weight loss requires long-term attention and interaction with healthcare providers. Within the AHA/ACC/TOS guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, it is recommended that comprehensive weight loss programs continue for a minimum of 1 year. 
The benefits of regular check-ins include:
- Having someone to provide accountability
- Support in identifying difficulties and problem solving
- Reliable source of information
- Emotional support
- Creating goals and strategies together
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get support and stay connected with your accountability with restrictions continuing to tighten.
Virtual consults are still available at www.thestrengthdietitian.com
Reducing Screen Time
A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis found that targeting screen time in weight loss interventions was effective at lowering at reducing BMI. 
This approach may work for you by:
- Reducing the amount of grazing that occurs in your downtime when watching shows or working.
- Limiting your exposure to food advertising. Have you noticed that you are constantly bombarded about ads from major fast-food chains, Uber Eats, and major confectionary brands?
- Increasing physical activity time and lowering sedentary behaviour.
How to realistically implement this?
- Turn screens off at mealtimes.
- Schedule in an activity or walk during your mid-afternoon slump when you are most likely going to be sedentary.
- Choose and plan healthier snacks for movie nights including air-popped popcorn, fruit, cheese and crackers.
Cognitive Flexibility & Realistic Expectations.
Cognitive flexibility is the ability to adapt our perspective, attitude and behaviour in response to our environment. It requires us to accept that we will not “perfectly” follow your diet or exercise plan and that when things go wrong, we must adapt and get back on track.
For many, maintaining weight is much more difficult than weight loss. This is because despite high effort, their bodies remain similar and they don’t feel a sense of accomplishment or success. This can lead to a return in old habits and coping strategies. Realistic expectations set you up for success. 
While rigid approaches (like cutting out carbohydrates or other food groups) can feel like a simplified approach to nutrition, it is associated with poorer weight control. A rigid, inflexible approach to dieting can make it more difficult to adapt to changes in circumstances and overcome setbacks. The “all or nothing” mentality is unrealistic and can cause individuals tog et caught up in a cycle of bingeing and restricting.
If you’d like support of a registered dietitian in transitioning to a more flexible and sustainable approach, you can contact me here.
Relapse Prevention Training
The inevitable slip ups will occur but how do we stop ourselves from giving up and falling back to our old habits.
The best ways to prevent relapse involves:
- Re-engaging and touching base with your healthcare provider to create a plan.
- Proactively anticipating challenges and solving potential problems.
- Building strategies for coping mechanisms beyond comfort eating in response to a difficult day or binge eating due to overwhelm and frustrates. Those who successfully maintain weight loss find alternate ways to cope with tough emotions and situations.
- Addressing unhelpful thoughts e.g.” I’m a failure” or “I can’t control myself around food”