With so many people looking to make improvements to their health and wellness, we asked Katy Health Coach Brian Owen, a partner with Zion Urgent Care, to share some weight loss tips and answer a few common questions that people have regarding losing weight and getting healthy.
Q: First of all, why do so many people fail at their New Year’s resolution to lose weight?
Most people start with good intentions about getting healthy in the new year and losing weight, but they often rely solely on willpower. Willpower is not enough to create long-lasting behavioral change around weight management.
Willpower is great when it works. Your willpower enabled you to get your homework done in school and as an adult, it gets you out of bed in the morning for work, but it’s a limited power source for change. It doesn’t stand a chance against something as significant as changing your eating habits.
Issues around unhealthy eating are usually tied to something deeper than simply saying “no” to a second helping. You simply can’t white-knuckle your way to a healthier relationship with food.
You need more tools than just your willpower. You need a holistic approach beyond relying solely on a healthy eating plan.
You need things like:
- a supportive community for accountability and encouragement,
- a guide or a coach, and
- educational tools to enable you to shift your mindset and habits around food and motion.
This more robust model that I’m suggesting here is similar to what is offered in 12-step groups or therapeutic environments. Successful long-lasting changes to your eating habits (e.g., healthy foods, healthy fats, lean protein, mindful eating, etc.) and your health flows from more than just following a diet plan.
Q: How important is exercise for losing weight?
Exercise is great for stress management, strengthening muscles, and building endurance, but it’s not the most important factor in healthy weight loss. And yet every January, our gyms are full of people who think exercise is the most important component for weight loss and long-term health.
While many would tell you that 80% of weight loss is related to nutrition (e.g., fewer calories, eating adequate protein, eat healthy food, etc.) and 20% is related to exercise (e.g., burn excess calories, build muscle mass, etc.), I think this ratio leaves out the most important factor for getting healthy: your mindset.
I firmly believe that a change in mindset is THE most important variable when it comes to getting healthy, followed by good nutrition, and then exercise.
Without a shift in mindset and the tools to change your thinking and your habits, it is difficult to maintain a healthy weight over a lifetime.
Q: Why is yoyo dieting so common?
Many of my clients come to me with a conflict-driven motivation to lose weight. Maybe they had a health scare, or their doctor warned them that their cholesterol or blood pressure was too high, or they’ve learned that they’re pre-diabetic. Whatever the issue, these clients come with a sense of urgency and a desire to solve their health problems.
And while these problems need to be solved, there’s a catch. Once they start getting healthier and the problem begins to go away, so does their motivation to complete their weight loss goal.
This is the reason why so many people yo-yo diet. Their motivation is tied to the urgency of the problem.
They have a health problem that begins to disappear with the unwanted pounds, and the motivation to pursue optimal health begins to dissipate as well. They experience weight loss and then weight gain again and again. This cycle repeats itself as the weight and its related problems return.
The solution to yo-yo dieting is to focus less on solving a health problem and more on creating a healthy life.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What kind of life do I want to live?
- Where do I want to be with my health at this same time next year? How do I want to look and feel?
- What do I want to be doing that I can’t do now?
- What do I want to be different about the quality of my life?
Getting clear on your answers to these kinds of questions allows you to tap into the power of a compelling vision for your life. This will free you from the endless cycle of yo-yo dieting and propel you forward to achieve your health goals (and help you lose weight) and set you up for a lifetime of optimal health and wellness.
Q: What should I look for when considering a health program?
When considering your options for getting healthy, look for a program that meets these five criteria:
- IS IT SIMPLE?
Is it something you can do on a hard day or a hectic day? Is it something you can do when motivation is low and time is short? Does it involve a lot of prep time or math?
- IS IT SUSTAINABLE?
Is it setting up something you can actually do for the rest of your life?
- DOES IT PRODUCE LASTING RESULTS?
In other words, it not only helps you achieve your health goals but gives you the tools to move to better health and well being. Does it enable you to build healthy habits?
- IS IT SCIENCE-BASED?
Investigate the real story and people behind the “products” or system. Is there a medical review board? It is written up in peer-reviewed medical journals? Do physicians recommend it?
- DOES IT HAVE A PROVEN TRACK RECORD?
Years of testimonies and multitudes of lives affected should be something that influences your decision.
If you look for a health program that meets the criteria above or stop by Zion to get a weight management workup, you’ll have a much better chance of not just experiencing a temporary weight loss but of starting a new healthier, and sustainable weight loss and lifestyle.
Brian Owen is a health and wellness coach in Katy, TX. Prior to becoming a health coach, he served for 12 years as a pastor in Katy, TX, and 20 years as a chaplain to university students. He brings his life-long passion for transformation into the lives of his clients, helping them not only lose weight but become the best version of themselves. He saw his own health significantly improve after losing 30 lbs and learning how to maintain a healthy weight.
If you’d like to learn more about his health program, click here to fill out his intake form and set up a free health assessment. You can also email him with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him by phone at 281-638-1821.