In my practice, one of the number one complaints people have is that they are dissatisfied with their body. Some feel they are too big, some complain they are too small. Many want to reduce their weight and develop healthier habits. That’s what we are going to address today.
Whether you’re at the point where you need to recover from long-term unhealthy eating habits, or you just want to shed a few unwanted pounds that may have crept up recently, there’s always a healthy way to reach your optimum weight.
Now I totally understand that we want it sooner than later. In today’s technology, it’s very easy to get lost in the sea of information related to “quick weight loss” or “weight loss without the effort” strategies. We all want our results to be quick, painless, and to require little effort or change on our part.
No matter how good a plan sounds, it’s important to distance yourself from the overnight solutions and, instead, focus on achieving your goals using healthy, safe techniques. Recently I stumbled across what became my “foolproof method” to get rid of a considerable amount of excess weight, and I’d like to share how I did it with you.
Before we start, I want you to know that this is just what I found to work. I am not a nutritionist or registered dietitian. I do not diagnose or prescribe anything. I am just sharing some wisdom. If you have any health concerns, please consult your medical provider before making any changes.
The first step on the road to achieving a healthy weight is to set your mind on what your ideal weight will be. The number doesn’t have to be set in stone – in fact mine changed three times along the way – just pick a realistic number you feel comfortable with. Once you understand what that number is going to be for you, do some research to find out the caloric needs that go along with that ideal body weight.
Now that you understand how many calories you will need to maintain your ideal body weight, set yourself a goal. If you want to lose about a pound a week, cut five hundred calories from the total calories you will need once you are at your optimum weight. If you want to shed a pound every couple of weeks, then just reduce your number by two hundred and fifty. What we are doing here is training your body to adjust to how many calories you will need to maintain that ideal body weight. Note that you will see the scale drop quicker at first, but it will eventually balance out to about a pound a week as you get closer to your goal.
There is no magic eating plan to go along with this. It is not a “diet.” It is a lifestyle that focuses on the way you want to eat for the rest of your life. The best way to develop and maintain that lifestyle is to take it slow and steady. Keep that in mind as you begin planning your food intake.
You know the number of calories, now take a moment and understand the nutritional needs that go with those calories. How much protein, fats, and carbohydrates do you need to have a balanced, nutritious menu each day. If you aren’t sure, there are lots of good resources available. I would suggest if you are brand new to this, find a reputable nutritionist or registered dietician. They will have the information you need to plan your daily menus based on your age, desired weight, and other needs.
One piece of very important advice I’d like to offer – if you’re affected by any type of health condition like hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes, your adjusted menu will need the input of a professional (doctor, nurse practitioner, nutritionist, or dietician). You certainly don’t want to cut consumption of foods that are effectively keeping your condition under control.
Make sure that once you have a good understanding of what the nutritional needs are, you allow for some of your favorite items as well. I recommend trying to eat as cleanly as possible. Avoid excess processed foods, sugar, white flour, alcohol, and food additives. Choose organic as often as possible. Find a balance – allow yourself a treat now and then, but adjust accordingly the rest of the day.
To help speed up your metabolism, make sure you get some good movement in your day, each and every day. That doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym and work up a dripping sweat. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you prefer to go dancing, do yoga, cycle, swim, or just take a brisk walk go with it. The important thing is that you are moving. If you like variety, mix it up. For me personally, I enjoy a mix of yoga stretches, laughter yoga, and cycling. These are things I like to do and can see myself doing for the rest of my life. Remember we are working on a lifestyle, not a “weight loss and exercise program.”
On a side note, try to eliminate the phrase “weight loss” from your vocabulary. Think for a minute what happens when you lose something – you keep thinking about it until you eventually find it! You for sure don’t want to get rid of all the excess weight and then find it again, do you? It’s a hard phrase to get rid of, but it makes a definite difference. Give yourself some grace, though, if you mess up. No one that I know is perfect, least of all me, and by giving myself grace, I’m able to keep on going.
A few more things that you may or may not find helpful –
If you are comfortable with it, find an accountability partner. When you have someone who will be there to support you, congratulate you, and even scold you when needed, it’s a much easier journey. For some people this can be very helpful. However, some people are very private about things and prefer to keep it to themselves. Do what is best for you.
Make sure you are getting good restful sleep each night. People who are sleep deprived find it much harder to release excess weight. According to WebMD, the two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and lepton. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.” “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.” That totally explains why you sometimes feel like you have the nibbles when in actuality you are just fatigued.
Our food has been gradually losing its nutrients over the years. The apple your great grandfather ate had a whole lot more nutrition than the apple you buy today – even if it is organic. Because of that, it is very difficult to get all the nutrition you need from food. It’s important to find some good, clean, healthy, absorbable supplements to go along with your daily food intake. (We’ll talk more about those another time.) Make sure the supplements are able to be absorbed by your body.
There will be times when you just feel like giving in and going back to your old habits, so plan some distractions for when that time comes. Find activities you enjoy that don’t involve food. I find if you have something that needs to be done with clean hands, it’s hard to eat and do it at the same time. Maybe look into some craft projects or take up a new hobby.
Achieving a healthy weight means doing the things you know are right for your body. If you take a moment to listen to your body each day, you’ll realize when something you’ve done or eaten is having negative effects. Tune in to your emotions, your physical feelings, and your mindset. Be positive! Don’t give up. Tell yourself you are on your way to exactly where you want to be. It’s a journey, and sometimes takes a little longer than you’d like, but it is so worth it when you get there.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.