Friday, December 6, 2013

Mindset- contemplation, decision and action in weight loss

Frog contemplating his next meal
* Special note: I'm talking about my decision to loose weight back in May 2011 (before Paleo) so if you are here from the Paleo side of things, keep that in mind. Just glad that low-infammatory diets are more mainstream now.

 It is what it is. No regrets!

I had a lot- maybe 12 or so false starts when I was in the mind set of weight loss. I had the right mindset, but hindsight- using a calorie and/or points counting system was not working anymore for weight loss.

This was very, very, very frustrating. Weight Watchers had worked in the past, (60 pound loss, then 25 pound gain, then 25 pound loss, then 70 pound gain... 2 pound loss...)  See the yo-yo dieting here? This was over a 10 year time span and one baby and a major relationship change.

I had limited success with the Livestrong Calorie Counter , online. (about 10 pound loss, not sustained). More yo-yo.

I had a personal trainer at the gym but hid the fact that I ate emotionally. I just couldn't face it.  I walked a half marathon. I ate a LOT of cliff bars, oatmeal, and whole wheat waffles and Vitatop muffins. Yes! I had a muffin top to show for my carbohydrate fuel.
Jan 2009

I had started to contemplate other weight loss methods- Medifast, Sensa sprinkles (OMG! I tossed those nasty sprinkles out and did not try them!), and even lap band. I investigated Medifast for safety and found large clinical trials. I was okay with what I saw from the clinical trials. I waited. Not ready to try again until I knew I could be both in the right mind set and be successful.

The death of a co-worker and my health at the time combined to push me into decison and action mode.  My health coach was selling Take Shape for Life (aka- Medifast ) at our health fair. I was motivated because I was worried (rightfully so) that I was about to have a major medical issue (cardiac or type 2 diabetes). I felt physically poor and my blood work was not good.  My Take Shape for Life coach was a WW alumni. I loved that part.

What worked:
 1. I took my mind set, my high motivation, my fear about my health and I decided and acted.
2. I had no idea it would work.
2.5 I addressed the roots of the emotional eating.
3. I committed to finding another way quick if it did not.

Probably saved my life.  So, if you are struggling- and feel that mix of high motivation and decision- trying something is probably better than doing nothing. At least you can add to your  mind "data base " or a paper list of what works and what does not. And that changes over time. Age, thyroid disease, baby, relationship change, menopause (for females).

What did not work
1. Trying the same thing that was not working at the time (WW, calorie counting, whole grains), over and over again = insanity!
2. Letting go and trusting that failing was okay.
2.5 I used food to soothe.
3. Not moving quickly enough onto discovery of new methods.

Next up- mindset during weight loss, then mindset during transition, and long term maintenance.  Discuss!


  1. Karen, going primal saved my life too. You have done a fantastic job, and I SO appreciate that your message is clear, concise, and unfailing in its consistency to the same principles. You really are a beacon for me, and I'm so excited to get to meet you tomorrow! :)

  2. It's going to be fun....... :) I'm just so excited to move a few more people from my "virtual" people I know to people I know in real life that are Paleo/Primal. When I started in 2012, I knew zero people. Good to add to the tribe.

  3. Karen, you're a shining example! what works, what doesn't work, ditching conventional wisdom to find REAL effectiveness.... i'm happy for you AND glad you're sharing!

    1. Thanks, Tess. I've learned so much from your sharing, too. Some of the learning is not easy, but always worth it!

  4. I agree about the insanity part. People say that WW worked for them. How can regaining all the weight be "working for them"?? Clearly anything that makes you regain your weight fast is not the right method. I yo-yo'd for years and years like this. Thank goodness that has stopped :)

    1. Lynda- so true- although WW "worked for me" in 1998-99 in my early 30's for weight loss befor my pregnancy in 2000, it was not sustainable. I have a WHOLE blog post in my head about that word, and photos to go with it showing my grain & sugar eating ways were not "sustainable". So many people say that eliminating wheat and processed sugar is "not sustainable". Glad to have my eyes wide open. I'm with you on the yo-yo ing on the diet. So glad to be off that merry-go-round.

  5. You are a shining example of how this diet works long term.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks Betty! You have done a great job yourself. Keep up the good work and here's to a good transition and first year for you. I can't recommend enough the book "Refuse to Regain" by Barbara Berkeley, MD.

  6. Hi Karen

    Good article AGAIN !

    To me whether you are low carb / paleo / primal. The important thing is you find what works for you, how you can stick to it and the most important of all the great health benefits your lifestyle (not diet) it's a new lifestyle can bring you.

    I'm for living healthily and happily and with low carb high fat moderate protein and exercise - for me it works.

    I do enjoy reading how others are doing it's so good to pick up tips or good thoughts along our voyage in this world.

    Have a great weekend

    All the best Jan

    1. So true Jan- important to work it out for yourself and assess the method and life periodically. Feeling well and eating in your own food plan is key- IMO. :)

  7. Hi Karen! I'm coming over from Gwen's site.

    Great post! I think it's so true that everyone has to find what works for weight loss and maintenance. And I think things also often need to be adjusted over the years. Also, you cannot be successful in weight loss long term without tackling emotional issues first.

  8. Hi Karen, I'm just so glad that I finally figured out what works for me (Paleo), and am not wasting anymore time trying to figure out this weight-loss business. One of my most received messages from readers, is how to stop yo-yo dieting. When I say that they may have to do an overhaul of their entire diet and cut out certain foods for good, I never hear from them again. That makes me sad, but they have to figure this out for themselves...