Taking It Off – Part 2 – Picking a Weight Loss Program

You’d think that choosing a diet, with all the choices available, would be an easy step. You would be wrong. Being overweight my whole life, I have a lot of experience with a lot of different methods. I have joined (and quit) Weight Watchers too many times to count, and I have tried Overeaters Anonymous, TOPS, and U Weight Loss. I have tried following some diet books such as South Beach Diet and Jorge Cruise Belly Fat Diet, I have been for counseling about my weight and I’ve tried a nutritionist. I have joined various gyms over the years including Curves, Wellness Centre, Shapes and Goodlife Gym. I have also read copious amounts of “self-help” books. In the days of phone books, I used to check each year under “weight loss” to see if something was new in the city. I was always looking for something else to try in my search for “slimdom”.

So, for me, choosing a diet was difficult and to be honest, it was scary. I knew, because of the amount of weight that I had to lose, that I needed to make significant changes in my life, and I just felt that I didn’t even know where to start anymore. I felt I had tried it all and I was just such a failure at it. I really was at the point of almost having no hope left.

It’s funny how things sometimes just fall in your path. One day I was getting a therapeutic massage on my leg and I was saying to the fellow that I wish I could just lose some weight because that would probably make my mobility much better and he said, “I know someone who can help you.” My reply….”No, you don’t.” But he insisted, “Yes, I do, I know a diet coach and he can change your life.” To be honest, I found that hard to believe, but I took the contact information anyways.

I did contact that diet coach and, as they say, the rest is history. I don’t know any other way to say it other than he has had a profound effect on my life and really has changed the way I think about food. For the first time in my life, I feel free from thoughts of compulsive overeating and I no longer have an inner struggle with food. Not to say that I never have problems, I do, but not even close to what it was before.

I would have to say that coaching is not for the feint of heart. Changing my lifestyle to the degree that I have has required a level of honesty and self-reflection that, at times, was quite painful. Having to admit to a coach that I binged, yet again, or that I was troubled from something from my past, often left me drained. He often dug away at the things I wrote and challenged my thinking constantly and got me to dig deeper into my feelings. I felt at times like an onion and he was peeling away the layers. Sometimes I didn’t know where we were going with the conversations and sometimes I was frustrated and sometimes I was mad at him. But I was always learning things; about food, about a healthy lifestyle, about how to live in a society that encourages overeating at every turn, about how not to assuage my feelings with food, about how to take care of myself physically and emotionally.

Coaching was the right fit for me.

The title of this post is “Picking a Weight Loss Program”. Although coaching was my answer, I don’t want to imply that is the only way that works. Losing weight is not a “one size fits all” type of industry and there are many good diets and / or groups that can be followed. As a matter of fact, in all the ways I had tried there were successful people who had maintained their weight loss. It just didn’t work for me. I have no doubt that despite the path, we all traveled the same journey; we all ate less and moved more and learned ways to cope in a world filled with food.

If you are thinking of going on a diet, I think it’s important to choose a program based on your strengths and weaknesses and what you like and don’t like. There are a number of considerations:

  • Support – do you like to be part of a weight loss group or work with someone one-on-one or do it on your own
  • Time Commitment – do you have time to devote to meetings or frequent office weigh-ins or daily emails
  • Food – do you want your food supplied or specific menus and recipes provided or to make your own food choices
  • Exercise – is there an exercise component to the program or is that something that must be figured out separately
  • Finance – there are programs that are almost free to very expensive

Once you know where you fit in with these questions, it will help you to narrow down which weight loss method might work for you. If you try a program and it doesn’t work, decide why it didn’t, and then try something else that might be a better fit.

Diet programs can be very frustrating, particularly if it’s not the right one for you. Most of us blame ourselves when in fact we should blame the program. When you find the right diet and the right support, it will be amazing what you can do.

Your health and your emotional wellbeing are at stake. It is important not to give up. It can be done.

My next installment of Taking it Off will be about counting calories and nutrition.

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