Many people ask me what diet is the most effective for weight loss. From my clinical experience, I have concluded that all diets work, but only to the extent of your commitment to it. In other words, diets work only if the health and weight targets people set for themselves become the driving force for all their decisions on eating, exercising and living. This commitment to your internal targets is of prime importance; the diet plan is secondary.
In my practice in the last year or so, I found many stockbrokers turning up at my door. With the markets down, the recent recession seemed to have turned many a stockbroker’s attention to his personal stock: health. I got to understand what makes a stockbroker tick, and how many of them use tricks of their trade to succeed at weight management. One of my clients—stockbroker Rajesh, let’s call him—showed me that successful weight management needs, first and foremost, a high level of commitment and a steady game plan. Here is how he applied the rules of his working life to his weight-loss plan.
A mission or a set goal recruits the deepest powers of the brain and helps a person to experience their goal at an emotional level even before they achieve it. When the brain believes that you mean business, it easily persuades the body to attain its mission. Half the battle is won at this stage. Most people come in seeking clarity from me rather than knowing what they want. They always have ready excuses about why they just can’t lose weight. But Rajesh was very clear about what he wanted even before he stepped in to meet me, and backed it up with the resolve to accomplish it. I wasted no time with him: Our meetings were crisp, to-the-point and effective.
Your goal may be to lose a couple of inches or a few kilos, but it helps tremendously if you frame your mission as clearly as possible: “Three months from now, on such-and-such date, I will wear my size 30 jeans”. That’s a sight you can visualize, and work towards.
Clarity of thought
On the money: If you’re never careless with cash, why care less about your health?
Rajesh had a clear idea of what he could or couldn’t do. This made it easier for me to customize diets for him. In turn, he adhered to a programme because he had agreed to the agenda in the first place. As a nutritionist, I can work around the demands of a client—that he or she cannot eat dinner at the ideal time, that he or she has to eat out twice a week for work, and so on. But if someone doesn’t recognize their limits, failure is inevitable.
After our first meeting, Rajesh put his health plans into action at once. The first thing he did was to make a shopping list and buy every single thing on it. Procrastination is the enemy of success, and an excuse in itself.
Rajesh breezed through obstacles. For him, unexpected and time-consuming family obligations which interfered with his diet plan were to be dealt with in the best possible way, and that was that. No grumbling, brooding, worrying, complaining about how impossible it was to stick to the plan. He’d just move on and get on with the plan from where he left off.
I realized early in my dealings with Rajesh that it was I who needed to be on my toes to deal with someone for whom split-second decision-making skills were so honed that they were a reflex action even when it came to learning weight management and taking health decisions. Rajesh was always well prepared for each meeting. I was always answering long lists of questions, having to go back to my hefty nutrition texts for reference, to review and refresh my learning as well.
Rajesh maintained his appointments like clockwork. This made it difficult for me to cancel on him. Lasting weight loss can be best achieved when the intellect is involved. A programme followed mechanically is a diluted one and offers slipshod benefits. So if you have a weight-loss target to meet, try attacking it like a sharp stockbroker and you should reap the rewards.
Madhuri Ruia is a nutrition specialist, functional health and Pilates expert, and founder, HALF, Mumbai’s first functional health studio. This is the first of her fortnightly columns on weight management.
Write to Madhuri at firstname.lastname@example.org