Monday, June 20, 2011
Weight loss is not simple. It’s one of the biggest struggles some people ever face. What do you get for your tremendous efforts to change your life? People try to sabotage you. You sabotage yourself. Society tells you that it’s okay to eat a Whopper, medium fries and a strawberry shake equaling 1,740 calories in one sitting. That’s 240 calories more than a 150-pound woman needs per day to maintain her body weight. In one meal. And to top it off, if we conquer all of this and lose some weight, our own bodies fight against us.
So weight loss is not easy. But the principles behind it truly are. Simply put, 1) your desire to lose weight must be stronger than your desire to eat anything you want and to sit on the couch; 2) your head has to be in the game; and 3) you have to know what you’re doing.
1)Desire. This is the key. You have to want weight loss more than you want to be comfortable. The desire has to remain strong throughout cravings, plateaus, burn-outs, and the simple passage of time.
* To help you create a strong desire for a healthier lifestyle, make a vision board. On a large whiteboard, paste pictures of you at your desired weight. Add photos of people engaging in an active lifestyle. Choose favorite activities that you’re able to do now, but also activities that you would like to be able to do in the future. Cut out letters and create words that describe how you’ll feel when you begin to lose weight (energetic, powerful, vibrant). Add pics of wonderfully healthy foods that you plan to enjoy. Place in a spot where you’ll see it often. Spend at least 5 minutes per day looking at the board. Close your eyes and see yourself at goal weight. Picture yourself enjoying new activities and feel the feelings you’ll feel as if you’re already at your desired weight.
2)For long term weight loss to be possible, your head must be in the game. You have to recognize that you are choosing to be overweight. You choose what to put in your mouth and how often you exercise. Change your thought process. Don’t focus on what you’re sacrificing. Instead, focus on the fact you are creating a better life.
* Remind yourself daily that you’re choosing to be at your current weight. Say it out loud. Every day.
*Concentrate on what you can have – not on what you can’t have. Look at your new choices as positives. The closer human beings come to feeling deprived, the quicker they will abandon new habits. One way to not feel deprived is to learn to transform your favorite foods into healthier versions and to find new loves.
*Remember that our bodies are meant to be active. We used to have to hunt and gather our food just to survive. Remember that exercise is not a curse, but a gift that lifts your mood; enhances sleep; decreases symptoms of depression; relieves stress; enhances productivity; and oh yeah - burns calories. Exercise gives you a big bang for your buck. Take advantage of it!
3)To lose weight successfully, you have to be knowledgeable. You can sweat your butt off at the gym for six hours a week, but you won’t see progress if you’re still consuming more calories than your body needs. An acquaintance of mine was dedicated to the gym and to losing weight, but still made big mistakes in the eating area. (Scroll down to second half of article for full story).
*Know the basics. Understand that it takes 2,000 calories per day to maintain a 200-pound body weight. Study restaurant menus so you are informed. Research serving sizes and weigh meats to get an idea of what 3 ounces of chicken looks like.
*Log calories – at least for a few weeks. Even if you can’t imagine doing this consistently, logging calories is the most powerful advantage you have in the weight loss game. You will get a good picture of how many calories you’re consuming even if you do this for a short period of time.
*Get help. Fifty percent of people who sign up for gym memberships quit within six months. One reason is because they feel lost or they don’t have the knowledge needed to see results. They get frustrated or worse – bored – and quit. Hire a personal trainer – just for a few sessions. Ask questions and learn what to do and what not to do. Then, go out on your own. When you hit a plateau or feel you need additional knowledge, get a few more sessions.