We, as human beings have this overwhelming problem of wanting an immediate solution to something we identify as being a problem. The only trouble with this line of thinking is that this has likely been a problem for quite some time, it’s just that you hadn’t seen it that way until just now, and when your perception changed, the guilt followed, perhaps that you did nothing to change it and have let it continue, whether it’s being in a bad relationship with a person, or with food. It takes a long time to become obese, it’s a system of bad choices and bad behaviors, sedentary living and much more, but it’s not something that happens overnight. So why do we insist on trying to find some secret magic pill or supplement, some tool that’s on a late night infomercial to zap away all that stubborn fat instantly? Surely we realize with our rational minds that this is unrealistic, and no matter what degree of hope we place into something like that, we are really only giving away our money.
To lose weight and to keep it off forever takes the same amount of time if not more, that it took to get it in the first place. For those who have developed things like type II diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, this is even more true… it will take twice as long as it took you to put that weight on as it will to get rid of it, and it’s not going to be a walk in the park. This isn’t meant to be a vacation, or a trip to the spa, this is sweat, eating new things, changing old habits and probably some tears along the way. This isn’t easy, which is why most people fall off the wagon. Many try to do this on their own, they don’t hire a diet coach, they don’t look up information online, they don’t purchase programs that will help them figure out which way to go that will fit best with their work and life schedule, so they take all that vigor, all that pent up awesome feeling to go get something done, and it fizzles out within a few weeks because you have no idea what to do now.
Here’s some things you CAN believe in, and some things you should stop doing entirely if you’re really seeking to lose weight.
- Have faith in your own abilities to lose the weight. Unless you have a diagnosed metabolic disorder, there is no reason you cannot lose the weight, no matter how long it takes to do so. Believing in yourself and in your ability to do this, is one of the biggest and best things you can do for your success in your weight loss journey.
- Research what methods will work for you. Your life’s needs and your work schedule will greatly determine how much time you have available for exercise, and how much money you make every month will determine your ability to switch out foods that are bad for you for healthier eating choices. There is no one system that is going to be perfect for everyone, just as clothing is not one size fits all, neither are diet or exercise programs. Find the one that seems the easiest for you to incorporate into your life, not the one that is asking you to change every aspect of your life for, or you won’t be able to stick with it.
- Create a network of support. Tell your friends and your family what you’re planning to do, and join some fitness forums. There are plenty of people out there who have undergone this process before you and countless who will come after you, there are some who are mid-process in their weight loss, there are some who have hit plateaus and are frustrated, and others who will help you find motivation when you find yourself flagging the most. By having a network of people who will help you stay motivated and accountable for your weight loss, you cut out a lot of the risk involved in simply quitting because it’s easier.
- Take some photos of yourself for before and after shots, keep them somewhere like your refrigerator or pantry door to remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place. If your health scare or wake up call came in the form of a blood test or lipids test, put that up there also. You can also pin photos of babies up there to remind you that you want to live long enough to see your grandchildren, anything at all that will help you have a visual motivator when you reach for something to eat out of boredom or habit.
- Listen to doctors or nutritionists when they tell you what sorts of foods you should be eating, and which portions are best. You might feel hungry at first after changing how and what you eat, but over time your stomach will shrink to allow the amount you eat to be pleasantly filling, and you’ll no longer be eating for food’s sake, but eating simply to live and use the food for fuel. There’s nothing wrong inherently with being a “foodie” and enjoying the taste of food, but as with anything else, everything should be enjoyed only in moderation.
- Don’t blame your genetics or your body type, or family’s weight issues on your own obesity. Without any diagnosis of a disorder or condition which would make it complicated for you to lose weight, the size of your bones or the genes you have inherited have little to do with your ability to lose the weight. What genetics does contribute to, is your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which can vary greatly regardless how well you eat, and keeping an eye on those are always a good idea, no matter what stage of weight loss you’re in. By accepting the idea that you can place blame onto something else for the fact that you are overweight, you’re only allowing yourself a crutch, and not taking responsibility for what is likely years worth of bad living, and it is all too easy to fall back on those excuses when you want to give up and say it failed you and not the other way around.
- Don’t let yourself get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. The battle with weight loss is a very tiring prospect because it takes so long to do it right. Though there are plenty of diets out there considered “flash” diets that will promise you’ll drop a ton of weight in a short amount of time, any doctor or nutritionist worth their salt will tell you that it is grossly unhealthy and not for long term use. So what’s the point if you can only do this for the short term, and you end up gaining it all back and then some when you have to stop? Worse, you get medical problems from a diet that is nutritionally deficient and end up with worse issues.
- Don’t find reasons to justify that extra slice of pie, or an extra helping of whipped cream on that daily latte. The key to losing weight gradually and to keep it off is to substitute things, or begin to remove things you’re used to having on a daily basis. The idea isn’t to completely cut them out cold turkey so if you’re getting that daily latte, instead of switching to simple black coffee, just forego your whipped cream on top or the chocolate sprinkles, ask them to use skim milk or a milk alternative in it. Keeping it foremost in your mind that you’re doing this for your better health means saying no to things that you enjoy, that is certain, but there are plenty of things you can do to help it along without depriving yourself of a few guilty pleasures. This just means that by eating healthier it doesn’t mean you are now allowed to justify eating more of the bad stuff.
- Don’t use things like gravies or syrups, dressings or anything else that adds needless calories and fat to your diet that cannot be used for fuel purposes. One of the biggest of these is alcohol, the higher the alcohol content, the more caloric value it has. Something to keep in mind so you don’t end up drinking away your daily allotment of calories without realizing it. By avoiding the extra things on your food that simply add to the flavor or overall taste, you’re cutting out a large portion of calories that you can use to actually be eating more food – foods that will actually keep you feeling full longer. Consider whether you’d rather have a fillet of fresh grilled fish, or that brown gravy on your potatoes.
- Lastly, don’t buy into gimmicks. That’s all they are. Whether it’s a pill, a supplement, or a product like a vibrating belt or a brush to “smooth away cellulite” they’re all just gimmicks and no more helpful to you than buying a pet rock when you wish to own a pet. You can buy lasting good information in the form of diet programs and principles, and you can find out the ways to eat that are healthy, as well as some exercises you can do all on your own, most of which are purchasable for a one-time fee and downloadable as a PDF file. Gimmicks are never going to work, but buying a plan that can teach you and help guide you can and will, be sure you place your trust in what works, not what doesn’t.