This is the continuation in the series looking at the emotional side of the logistics of losing weight.
For some people anticipation is worse than realization. The anticipation of starting a diet might as well be like climbing Mt Everest. And in here lies the problem. First of all, don’t think of it as a diet. The word “diet” implies a beginning and an end. You’re not heading for a destination; you are on a lifelong journey. Secondly, if it feels like you are climbing a mountain, then you need to start back at the mole hills.
Get The Right Focus
Any change starts with a decision. If the change is just for a destination, like looking nice in a bathing suit or for a wedding or for a reunion, then chances are one of two things will happen. You will either not meet your goal or you will be like the 80% who regain their weight. But what if your decision is not to reach a definitive destination but rather to feel better in your clothing, have more energy throughout the day and to take of yourself. Imagine that, doing it just because you are worth it. Shifting the focus from losing weight to eating healthier changes the perspective. Making lifestyle changes to lose weight implies giving up and taking away, while eating healthier implies adding more and taking care.
Start And Stay With The Mole Hills
The second mistake that people make is taking on too much at once. In my training as a health coach the emphasis was always on making changes based on the areas where a client feels most ready and confident to begin, and to start with small, action-oriented changes. These are the mole hills that will take you down the path to taking care of yourself, while incidentally losing weight.
Examples of Mole Hills
What are some mole hills you could easily summit along your journey of taking care of yourself?
- Find a buddy who will support you. Spouse, friend, daughter or son, anyone who will take the journey with you and keep you energized and focused.
- Start grocery shopping with a list and don’t shop when you are hungry.
- Bring color to every plate through fruits and veggies. Try to get at least 3 different colors on your plate.
- Use a smaller plate, even a salad plate if you are not someone who likes fruits and veggies.
- Drink at least 2 liters of non-caloric, non-diet fluids a day.
- Shift to whole grain crackers, pasta, brown rice, and cereals. If that’s too much to do all at once then go half and half.
- Cut back on eating out. This means being aware of how many meals you purchase over the week and reducing that number. Instead, make a date night with a fun menu at home where you can control the salt and fat.
- Wear a pedometer. They do make people move more.
- Keep your treats to the end of the day.
- Watch TV less, read more. Choose your shows and then turn the TV off.
- Reflect back at the end of the day and recall what went well with each day.
- Go to bed at a set time each night and get 7-8 hours of sleep.
Any of these steps will help you to take care of yourself. You will notice a difference in how you feel. You will notice a difference in your energy level. You will gain more confidence as you realize that you are worth it and that it doesn’t have to be this huge production or insurmountable mountain. Even these changes will help boost your immune system with its daily fight against cancer cells, reduce the workload on your heart, and help your mind think more clearly, more positively. Now that’s a mindset that will take you on lifelong journey, not just a destination.
The next few blogs will focus on the most common emotional mistakes people make in their efforts to loss weight. Today will focus on how to successfully lose weight for life.
You’ve had some success with Weight Watchers or a low-fat or low carb diet, but now you’ve stalled. The novelty of losing weight has worn off and now work and home life has caused you to lose focus in your efforts to lose weight. This is a common mistake, it’s because you tried to fit your life into your diet instead of making your diet part of your life.
Mae West once said, “knowing what you want is the first step to getting it”. The top two reasons people want to lose weight is for health and appearances. Those are powerful reasons but keeping them front and center means addressing the issues that caused the weight gain in the first place.
What Works In Losing Weight
If you look at the National Weight Loss Registry that tracks participants who have lost at least 30 pounds for over a year, you’ll find that most maintain a low-calorie, low-fat diet and get an hour of physical activity – usually walking – a day. Some have kept their weight off for over 65 years and have lost as much as 300 pounds! Other findings are that participants tend to weigh themselves weekly, limit TV to no more than ten hours a week and eat breakfast daily.
How To Fit Weight Loss Into Your Life
There’s no getting around it. Examining the patterns that lead to your weight gain is essential for lasting weight loss. Yes, you’ll mourn some of those habits, but your weight will come right back on if you don’t address them. The following are the three most common causes I’ve seen for weight derailment:
- Not putting enough value in a good night’s sleep. People try to stretch the day by staying up late to finish watching a ball game, a late night show or playing internet games. Before you know it, it’s been three or four hours since dinner and those high-fat, high calorie munchies in the kitchen are soon in your hand. So not only to you go to bed full, but you wake up tired and not hungry for breakfast. Lack of sleep is associated with a decrease in the hunger-blocking hormone Leptin, and an increase in the hunger-producing hormone Ghrelin. Insufficient sleep causes weight gain. Furthermore, waking up tired is not exactly conducive to wanting to work up a sweat. At least during the work week make it a priority to get to bed at a decent hour, before you would be naturally hungry and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Develop a hobby instead of watching TV. There is nothing more mind-numbing than watching TV. And with all the food advertisements, it heightens the desire for snacking. When you mind is busy, it’s off food. Besides, having a hobby is a great way to cope with stress and boredom – the two most common reasons for non-hungry eating.
- Not believing in yourself. Losing weight is not a sprint, it’s a lifelong marathon. Anyone can lose weight quickly through a fad diet, but keeping it off means believing that you are strong, that you have willpower and that you are worth making the changes to the nonfood parts of your life that will help keep the unhealthy habits out of your life. There will always be temptations, but they also diminish in intensity. Have faith that you are strong enough to get through those moments and focus on what you are gaining.
Change Your Life And You Will Have Lasting Weight Loss Success
Losing weight begins with a strong foundation of getting to the root cause of your weight gain and going from there. It’s not a diet, it’s a new way of living your life for the rest of your life. It’s learning how to adjust your life in order to fit lasting weight loss, not fitting your life into a temporary diet.