There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to improving your health, and Brett's story is a great example of persistence combined with a customized strategy. When asked why he decided to work with a health coach he said, "You get to a point where you look in the mirror and say "I’m tired of this." It hit him after a WellCheck with poor results. He realized he had been leaving his shirt untucked to hide his stomach, and couldn't keep up with his grandkids. Brett has always been an athletic outdoorsman, so it took time to come to terms with reality. He said, "I felt like I could either give up and die young, or get serious and do something about it."
Before joining the Take Control program, Brett went through periods of losing weight and then gaining it back, often referred to as yo-yo dieting. This often happens when people try to restrict their diet so much that it's not sustainable long term. After losing weight, people go back to their old routine, and the weight comes back. It's a very frustrating cycle that can create a defeated mindset. It can also give people a false sense of knowing what to do to lose weight, when in reality the methods they're using do not work long term.
The only way to successfully achieve long-term sustainable health improvements is for each person to find out what specifically works for them (not everyone else). That can only happen by trial and error, which takes time. Brett spent much of the first six to eight months of the program ramping up his exercise, which he enjoys. He also tried changes in his nutrition like skipping seconds, avoiding late night snacking, reducing red meat, and trying intermittent fasting. Although he wasn't significantly dropping weight, he did achieve a successful milestone: he stopped the yo-yo, and with the guidance of his health coach, was beginning to identify what did and did not work in his lifestyle.
Then the pandemic hit and lockdown began. As with many of us, stress about the impact of the virus, staying home, and loss of routine became a trigger for emotional eating and missed workouts. Brett was able to get out for long walks outside, but he pulled a calf muscle and had to adjust his workouts. Exercise had always been his stand-by for keeping weight gain at bay. Rather than letting these issues derail him, Brett switched gears and started keeping a food journal. He didn't count calories, he simply journaled what and when he ate. Among other things, he noticed that a really tough time came around 4:00 pm when he would crave salty foods.
The food journal was breakthrough for Brett. He noticed a strong obsession in our culture to use food as a comfort and reward, and realized he had been doing that himself. It gave him a lightbulb moment to recognize and change his mindset. When he wanted to eat, he stopped and asked himself if he was really hungry, or if he just wanted to put something in his mouth. He began to look at food from an evolutionary standpoint, and see it as sustenance rather than reward a mental switch took place. He began to stop and ask himself, "Do I need to eat this right now to sustain myself? Am I hungry, or do I just want to eat it because it will taste good?" This change in mindset was the final piece of the puzzle that clicked in place to give Brett the sustainable weight loss success he desired.
Learning new habits take time, and a lot of trial and error. Persistence is key for success. Brett's positive attitude and persistence eventually led him to stop the cycle of weight gain and loss, and create a lifestyle that will keep him healthy and active for the rest of his life.
When asked if he would encourage others to use this program, Brett said there are so many hurdles in our society, it's really hard to take on a change like this totally by yourself. Even though he is an introvert, coach Linda surprised him. He found their one-on-one relationship to be essential to his success. He said, "Having people in your corner, I found very helpful because she gave me constant encouragement and kept me moving in the right direction." Brett said that the program gave him the confidence he needed to succeed, including being more introspective about what makes him tick with diet and exercise.