Women lose weight, then gain it back with every new diet rage. Diets don’t work in the long run because they are based on temporary foods and food plans that are not practical in the long run. Losing weight should begin with the way you view yourself, your life, and your future. Here are important steps to begin changing your life and weight beginning with the way you think.
Ban the word ‘diet’ From Your Thinking: To most people ‘diet’ means deprivation, restriction, and foods you only eat when you are dieting. The word ‘diet’ sets you into a negative frame of mind to begin with. Diet means a temporary meal plan for a few days or weeks to take off pounds in a hurry. It reminds you of the numerous times and diets you have not succeeded at. This is what causes the yo-yo effect of weight gain-weight loss. You must give yourself a new attitude and a new way of thinking to succeed. You must let go of the past and the plans that did not work for you.
Start Thinking Health, Energy, and Activity: Losing weight should be part of an overall plan for better health. Maintaining your weight at a healthy level is one element of that lifestyle. You need to give your life style a new vision. Make a list of all the activities you could enjoy more if you lost weight and improved your health. This list could include a physical activity such as bike riding or playing with your kids that is restricted now because of your weight. Write down those things that would increase your happiness and joy in life if you could do them more easily. This might include going to the beach with your children or spouse and playing volleyball or swimming. It might be getting into an outfit you love but have grown too heavy to wear. Hang it up in your bedroom where you can see it. Envision how good it would feel to wear it again. It is important to write down the reasons why you want to change your eating and lifestyle patterns. Review them once a day to keep you focused. Give yourself a reward in the future such as a trip or new outfit. Think about the example you will setting for your children. Envision how it will improve your life and that of your family. If diabetes runs in your family, write down your goal to be healthy and to avoid the health problems that diabetes creates such as amputated limbs and heart problems. Writing down these goals and what they mean to you is extremely important to your long term success.
Think Realistic: If it took years to gain that 50 pounds, then it is going to take time to lose it. You must apply patience toward your health plan. Losing a pound a week is realistic. Losing 5 pounds a week is not. If you make your steps impossible to achieve, you will quit out of frustration. Make small changes you can actually succeed at. Giving up one or two Star Bucks coffees a week would be an example. Another might be to use skim milk in your coffee rather than rich creamers. Try low fat dressing on your salad. Take a walk with your children after dinner when you have not been doing that. Walk a block or two if that is all you can do.
A New Mindset, With Your Focus On Health Not Numbers : It takes time to lose weight and inches. At times you may lose inches instead of weight. Weigh yourself only twice a week, in the morning before you have eaten. Measure your chest, waist, hips, and thighs at the beginning of your health program and once a week thereafter. Note how far you can walk or how long you can exercise at the beginning too. Write down your new results each week as you increase that time or distance. If you write it down, you will see your success even if it is small in the first weeks.
It Begins With The First Step : Now that you have your plan, start the first step immediately. A small step forward is better than no step forward. The longer you go without that first step, the less likely you are to succeed. Enlist your kids and husband into the plan if possible. You will stick to it and have more success if the whole family is participating in the program too. If not, enlist a friend or neighbor to join you in your program. It has been shown that having a partner in your path to better health makes it easier.
Keep A Food Diary: Kaiser Permanente Health Center in their research has shown that people who record what they eat, lose twice as much weight as those who did not. Often we don’t realize how much we are eating until we write it down. The food is eaten and forgotten while we work or play. Keep a small notebook that will fit in your pocket or purse to make it easier. It will help you track when your weak periods occur and what your pattern is. Until you identify the problem, you can’t change it. If you have allergies, stomach distress, or migraines, it will also help you track what is causing those problems.
Cut Down Your Soda Intake: Soda and soft drinks are one of the reasons for the weight problems in this country. Unless they are 0 calorie drinks, they contain calories. They contain chemicals and sugar or sugar substitutes. Most Americans do not drink enough plain, pure water. Put a liter or glass of water on your desk, and drink at it while you work. Drink a glass full of water right before you eat lunch or dinner. If you tend to eat too much at meals, add a fiber supplement to your water.
Keep The Damage Down But Don’t Cut Out Treats Entirely. When you deny yourself treats and chocolate you just want those foods more intensely. It has been shown that you eat less of quality chocolate than junk chocolate. I love chocolate but I limit myself to one to two pieces a day of the really good kind. When I do that I am happier. If I eat junk chocolate, I still carve more of it. I leave my treat until the end of the day or the time of the day when I am most stressed, then eat it. I tried eating the sugar free pudding but then I still craved chocolate. When I eat a piece of the real stuff, I am satisfied. Pick your treats carefully. Only eat the ones that really satisfy you mentally. If you tend to eat a whole pie if you have it, go to a restaurant and eat a piece there. If you tend to eat a whole chocolate bar instead of half, break it in two, and freeze the other part. Put your treat in the back of the refrigerator or shelf, with lots of food in front. Having the treat hard to reach does help. Keep your treat out of sight.
Create Distractions: When you want a treat when you should not have it, wait a half hour. Distract yourself with work, chores, or a walk to get your mind off the cravings. If those around you are eating junk food, take a walk or busy yourself somewhere else until it is safe. In your head, remind yourself of the reasons why you are going to choose not to eat them. Always in your mind, say that you are ‘choosing’ not to eat that food. Do not say you can’t eat it. That will immediately set you up for failure.
Eat Slower: Americans tend to wolf down their food. It takes 30 minutes to feel full. You need to start training yourself to eat slower. Put down your fork between bites. Make an effort to chew your food and enjoy it. In Europe they take time to eat and it is much better for your digestion and your waistline. Keeping your hands busy between bites also helps. When I eat a sandwich while I am typing on my articles, I eat less and take more time eating it. Watching TV while you eat results in mindless eating.
Expect To Be Imperfect: Anyone undertaking a new diet or habit, will have times when they don’t stick to their plan and goals. Don’t beat yourself up. Let it go and focus back to the plan. Losing your way for one meal or one day does not make you a failure, it makes you human. You must pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go back to the plan. With each day and week, it will get easier to keep up your new plan. When you have a bad day, review why you want to lose weight or eat better. Review what went wrong or look at what you were thinking or feeling when you overate. Look at that outfit again that you want to wear. You must keep your eyes and thoughts on why you want to lose weight.
Order First When Dining With Friends: It seems like what your friends order always sounds better. Order first and order something that is more reasonable with calories. If you order last, their junk food with massive calories will end up your choice too. When you see them eating their high calorie meal, picture a heart and its arteries laden with ugly white fat. That will help you to feel positive not deprived. Each time you pick a healthier dish, remember you are adding a year or so to your life. Your example may lead them to order better choices as well.
Love Yourself: No matter what the outcome, love yourself. You are not diabetes or your weight. It is only one aspect of your unique personality. You are beautiful inside and let those qualities radiate outward. Remember who you are inside, striving to improve those qualities every day. We all have things about our body that we don’t like. When you look in the mirror, try to see the beauty of your heart and soul, not your superficial imperfections.