Short term weight loss can be achieved in many different ways. I hate to hear that people are dieting, and much prefer the ‘healthy eating and exercising’ option. Diet, detox, starvation – they’re not the way to go to lose weight and keep it off.
Keeping the weight off requires discipline and changes in lifestyle and attitude. Here are seven steps that might help weight loss:
The first step in any weight loss programme or for that matter, any goal that you set for yourself, is to be accountable for your own body and your own life.
It seems as if we are always looking for someone else to blame for our problems. It has become common practice to tell overweight individuals that their condition is not a product of their poor lifestyle choices, but that they are a victim of society, their genes, their childhood, their parents – anything or anybody but themselves. The fact is, if you are overweight, it is your fault.
3 years ago I was overweight and I took action. I changed my lifestyle. I began exercising more and since then I’ve progressively improved my diet and eating habits.
You simply cannot be overweight if you do not live a lifestyle that supports your being overweight. Now, there are genetic factors that make it easier for some people to gain weight than others. There are some individuals that could eat all day long and never gain a pound, while others must be very careful what they eat and how much they eat.
If you tend to put weight on very easily, you have to be much more aware of what you are eating and how much. You must also be very consistent with your training regime. But the fact remains that if you are overweight, it is because of what you are doing, not somebody else.
So, the first thing you must do is to take responsibility for your condition and be accountable for the actions you take.
If you try to blame anyone or anything else for the results that you get, you are sabotaging yourself from the start and you will not succeed. Along with being accountable comes taking credit. When you improve your level of fitness and lose weight, take credit for it.
You did it. Pat your self on the back and be proud. You did the work. You took the responsibility so you should also take all of the credit.
Taking control of ourselves and our environment is crucial. All too often we just react to the things that are going on around us.
Instead of being in a reactive state and allowing external events and internal emotions control us, we should become more proactive and start to control events and ourselves. When we are reacting, we are not in full control of things. With this loss of control comes feelings if helplessness. For example, a common cause of overeating is emotional eating. Many of us turn to food for comfort if we are feeling stressed or depressed.
A person who has just started a diet may have a bad day at work. His or her reaction to this is to eat to provide comfort. They eat a lot more than they should and probably the wrong thing, like a carton of chocolate fudge ice cream. They now feel depressed because they gave in and ruined their diet. That is the end of the diet.
If this person were proactive instead of reactive, they would take steps to take control of the situation. They know that they tend to engage in emotional eating. They know that they are feeling stressed from work. Instead of reacting to the stress by eating, they are proactive and make an effort to stay away from food.
They may go for a run or walk. They may go to the gym to lift some weights or go for a swim. Any kind of exercise is a great cure for stress and depression. They may do housework, visit a friend or take a long bath.
The point is that they do something proactive to take control of the situation and not let the situation control them. The same proactive approach can be applied to your exercise.
There are an almost uncountable number of excuses for not exercising. And that is what they are – excuses. For every excuse, there is an answer. Do not let excuses control whether or not you exercise.
If you cannot exercise after work, then take control and get up a bit earlier so you can exercise in the morning. If your problem is trying to force yourself to take the first step out the door to run, then arrange to meet a friend, so you’re not able to back out, or set three alarms to make sure you get up!
Whatever emotion or external problem is keeping you from exercising, take control and do what you have to do to get around the problem. You are in control.
Attempting to stick to an exercise programme or diet that is too rigid is setting yourself up to fail. It is one of the primary reasons that most common diets work only in the short term. It is simply too difficult to stay with a diet that strictly limits food choices or is extremely low in calories. I hate the thought of people going on diets and starving themselves or sticking to one food type in the quest to lose weight.
I believe that diets do not work. The low daily calorie intake of many a diets do sometimes result in initial weight loss, but most people cannot maintain a diet so strict. So, the diet is abandoned and the weight is regained.
In addition, a diet that eliminates many foods is not healthy in the long run. When you follow a life long plan of healthy sensible eating, your food choices are not strictly limited. It is OK to eat a piece of cake on your birthday and the occasional fish supper. You should not have to deny yourself any type of food as long as you don’t over do it.
You just don’t want to eat the whole cake or eat cake everyday. It is not going to destroy your eating plan if you overeat a bit on your birthday or the occasional weekend. It is OK to indulge yourself on occasions.
If you make your diet flexible and varied, it will be easier to stick to and you’ll be able to do it forever. You know that you can have that occasional piece of cake or Chinese. You also know that you can’t eat them all of the time or eat too much of them, but knowing that you are not going to be denied them the rest of your life makes the plan much easier to follow your whole life.
You must also be flexible with your exercise. I believe you should make exercise a regular habit for the rest of your life. You should choose an exercise you enjoy and incorporate it into your everyday life.
Just as you can be flexible with your diet, you can be flexible with your exercise. Sure, set up a weekly training plan, but if a surprise birthday party comes up at the same time of your planned run, you do not have to cancel the party. Go to the party and run some other time. If you are travelling for a full day and cannot exercise, that is OK.
You must be consistent with your exercise, not inflexible. This is a common mistake beginning runners make. They begin to think that they must stick to their planned schedule. After a few weeks of this inflexibility, they begin to hate running and exercise. Consistency in the most important thing.
This step is closely related to the flexibility step. Consistency in probably the most important thing to remember in a lifelong, lifestyle programme.
You absolutely must stay consistent in eating sensible portion sizes of a variety of healthy foods. Use smaller bowls and plates for food, think about if you are actually hungry when you eat. Let your food digest before you eat any more.
As for exercise, you should be consistent in exercising your body on a daily basis (and include rest days). Take the stairs, go for a walk instead of taking the car, go for a cycle. Increase your activity levels in everything you do each day.
You do not have to follow a strict schedule. You do not have to completely eliminate certain foods from your diet. You do not have to eliminate food groups. What you must do is consistently follow a lifestyle that supports a healthy body and a healthy weight.
If you allow yourself to stray from your healthy lifestyle you may get off track onto a slippery slope that can lead to regaining poor lifestyle habits, regaining lost weight and a decrease in fitness. It is much easier to stay on that healthy path, than it is to try to scramble back up after you fall off.
Do It Now
One characteristic that can be common among individuals that fail at lifestyle changes is the habit of procrastination. It is very easy to say that I will start this tomorrow or I will do this tomorrow. After all, it’s much easier to do something tomorrow that it is today, isn’t it?
The problem is, tomorrow never comes. Tomorrow you will say the same thing. I will do it tomorrow. Don’t do it tomorrow, do it now.
This all comes back to the control issue. If you procrastinate you are allowing your emotions or external events control you.
You must take control and do what needs to be done now. No tomorrow, not next week, not next year. If something needs to be done, do it now. Start that lifestyle change now. Start exercising now. If you wait until tomorrow, it will never come – I guarantee it.
Think Long Term
Dieters have short term thinking. They also have short term results. Dieters want quick results with minimal effort. Sometimes they get them and sometimes they don’t. One thing they very rarely get is long term success. That is because they are only thinking short term. They are thinking that the want to lose 30 pounds by next month. They do not take into consideration the next year or the next 20 years. They do not take into consideration the adverse heath risks of losing weight quickly.
A lifestyle change is long term thinking. It is what you plan to do every day for the rest of your life. A lifestyle change brings long term results. It also requires more work both mentally and physically. And it requires more patience. It’s not about detox or diets it’s about changing your life for the longterm and for the better.
A lifestyle change will bring permanent weight loss at a sensible and healthy rate. It also brings with it higher levels of fitness and health, lower levels of stress and a higher quality of life.
You should consider the long term effects of every decision you make. There are decisions you could make that may bring you instant gratification, but will bring long term problems. Again, you must take control. Don’t let your emotions rule your intellect. Make the right decision for the long run.
If you are trying to lose weight, consciously think about what you eat and what you intake everyday.
Consider what your diet is like now, and see if you can replace any unhealthy foods, with healthier options.
Each time you eat, think about whether you need to eat it (ie are you hungry) and consider what it is you are eating and whether it will help you achieve your weight loss goal.
Set Reasonable Goals
It is important to set goals. It gives you something to work towards and also provides you with a measuring stick to judge your progress. Goals can be both short term and long term.
An example of a short term goal may be to lose 8 pounds this month or build up your level of fitness so you can run two miles without stopping. An example of a long term goal is to fit drop two sizes down or to finish a 10K race.
Both of these are reasonable and achievable goals for most people. But, a problem can occur if a goal is set that is unreasonable. If a goal cannot be achieved you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
If you currently weigh 240 pounds and set a goal weight of 120 pounds, that is most likely an unreasonable goal. A better goal weight would be 180 pounds. If you reach that goal and feel you can lose more, set another goal. That weight of 120 pounds may or may not be reachable, but set an initial goal that can be reached and maintained without drastic measures. If you reach the initial goal, you can always set another goal that is reasonable at that time.
There are also unrealistic exercise goals. For instance, beginning runners may say that their goal is to run a sub 3 hour marathon. Now, that is not an impossible goal, but for a beginning runner, it is somewhat unrealistic. A more realistic goal would be to finish a first marathon. That is a great accomplishment in itself.
Then after they finish that first marathon, set another goal depending upon how the did in the first marathon. At that point a sub three hour marathon may or may not be a reasonable goal. It depends upon where you are at the time.
Hopefully that might help you change your lifestyle for the better? (Today, not tomorrow!!)