It's reported that Adele has gone on a health kick to lose weight after a health scare. She wants to drop two dress sizes.
Her health kick has involved quitting smoking, going on a vegetarian diet with her partner and working out twice a week with a personal trainer.
So far, so good. In fact, she is reported to have lost a stone of weight (14 pounds/ 6.3kg) over the last month.
But one of Adele's friends is quoted as saying: "The weight is dropping off the pair of them and they plan to keep dieting until the end of April."
Which goes to show that even with all the best intentions in the world and all the resources to make it happen, people can still fall for the same traps.
"Dieting till the end of April" is not a good sign. Why? It sounds like this is a short term plan. Sure, Adele has lost one stone in a month, and maybe in another month she will lose another stone. Great. There will be some great photos in the papers touting her "miracle weight loss" etc.
But then what?
If she intends to stop dieting after another month, what will she do after that? The obvious answer is probably go back to old habits. And this is the disaster of dieting. It is steamrolling your old habits and lifestyle with a drastic, unnatural and (often) unpleasant new way of doing things. And if like Adele, you only plan to do it for a month, then your old habits will be back with a vengeance.
So what happens when Adele switches to her old habits? Of course, she starts to gain weight again. Lose weight then gain it back again. Does that sound familiar? Yes, it's a good old fashioned yoyo diet.
But it really doesn't have to be that way. Instead of "going on a diet" which is destined to fail, she could try for a more sustainable approach to weight loss.
Here's three things Adele could do differently:
1. Change her mindset.
Adele appears to be totally in the short term dieting mindset. She needs to switch to a more long term approach. "Is this change something I am willing to do for the rest of my life?" is a good question to ask. If the particular behaviour you are introducing is one that you are not willing to do for the long term, then you are setting yourself up for yoyo dieting.
To this end:
- Make small changes instead of drastic big ones. I prefer for people to work with their existing diet, and make modifications to that, rather than completely overhauling their eating.
- Always make sure that changes are both pleasant and realistic. If something is not pleasant for you then you will drop it at the first opportunity. I see so many people start unrealistic fitness regimes only to stop them as soon as work gets busy.
- No deadlines. I don't know if Adele has deadlines for her weight loss, but as soon as you start setting time limits, you focus on short term fixes rather than sustainable strategies
- Adjusting things as you go along - you won't always get it right the first time. On a traditional diet, you are either sticking to it perfectly or you are "off the diet". Life doesn't work that way. You have to give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them.
2. Prepare for when life gets busy.
I presume Adele's life can get very busy. It's easy to stick to a new diet when you have all the time in the world. When life gets busy however, is when the challenges start. When your work and social life take over, managing your eating is often the last thing you have time for. And most people do not prepare for busy times. They just hope for the best.
It's worth looking at your life and understanding what are the danger times and situations. For some people, when work gets busy, they don't have time to cook and have to rely on fast food. For others, they often eat out or attend dinners where they have less control over what is served.
All of these situations can be anticipated and dealt with. But if you don't prepare and just hope you'll be able to deal with them when they come up, then you will most likely revert to old habits. This is where many people's weight loss plans go wrong.
3. Take some control over her environment.
I have no idea what Adele's work environment is like, but for most people, their work environment can contain lots of temptations. The thing about temptations is that you often end up eating food that you didn't really even want in the first place. In fact if it hadn't been sitting in front of you, you wouldn't have even thought about it.
This is why it pays to try and change your environment to remove temptation.
Make it easy
Losing weight when you are 23 years old is not too difficult. Keeping it off on the other hand, can be very difficult. But only because most people choose short term diets over long term changes.
If Adele takes a more sensible, sustainable approach, she will find that her likelihood of success will be much greater.