Everywhere you turn, someone is telling you the best and the easiest way to lose weight and keep it off. If only we could wave a wand or take a magic pill to be at our healthy weight. However, the best way and the most sustainable and healthy way to lose weight is by eating healthy - eating whole, natural foods and drinking pure filtered water. Slow and steady wins the race and keeps you from the cycle of yo-yo weight loss and weight gain - 10 pounds down, 10 pounds (or more) back up again.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, many people find that drinking enough pure, filtered water can often be one of the hardest things to do. Water hydrates the body, flushes the toxins that accumulate in our fat cells, and helps our organs function better and helps with digestion. Lack of proper water intake will slow digestion, decrease fat metabolism and make you feel as if you are bloated and tired. Very often, your body’s need for water is mistaken for hunger - people are eating when they should be drinking water to rehydrate their body.
Well planned goals can help put your thoughts into action. But make sure they are realistic. Thinking that you can lose 40 pounds before the end of summer is unrealistic, unhealthy, and can undermine even the best of efforts. Focus on what is attainable and relevant to you. Goal setting isn’t always about the number on the scale in the morning. Examples of non weight related goals can be setting a distance or time for walking around the block, or climbing stairs, or even as simple as challenging yourself to drink 4 glasses of water before lunch. Remember that goals require re-assessing and adjusting from time to time, especially when you are accomplishing them.
It’s ok to dream big, but you need to be realistic as well. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day. The weight you are trying to lose didn’t just appear overnight. You probably gained this weight over a period of time; over many months and more than likely, many years. Just by deciding you are going to lose weight, doesn’t mean it’s just going to happen. A healthy weight loss is 1 - 2 pounds a week, so if you are trying to lose 40 pounds, you will need to be realistic that this will take 20 - 40 weeks to achieve in a healthy, sustainable manner.
Avoid the naysayers! When you are losing weight, you want people around you who are going to support your new lifestyle, not try to find ways to undermine you or talk you out of it. Having an accountability partner is beneficial and very supportive to achieving any life change. If you don’t have someone close to you, there are many online forums that provide accountability and support.
Celebrate! Not just the final result, but the little victories along the way. Did you park your car at the back of the parking lot and walk a little further into the office this morning? Did you choose to eat an apple or a handful of almonds for a snack instead of reaching for a candy bar or chips? Good for you! Reward yourself with something that makes you feel good - ask your partner for a foot rub, or a back rub. Schedule a manicure or pedicure, or even just make time for a wonderful bubble bath with candles. Celebrate - you deserve it!
This is a huge no-no. Skipping meals and depriving yourself of food may initially cause you to lose some weight, but over time will actually cause you to gain weight. The reason for this, is because of our body’s natural adaptation and instinct for survival. When the body thinks it is being starved, it will store everything as fat as a natural response for survival. This means that it interprets every morsel you ingest as its last meal, and stores it away for later use. Believe it or not, you need to eat to lose weight, but that means eating whole, natural, nutrient dense foods that nourish and fuel your body and your brain.
How many times have you said to yourself, “I’ll just exercise another 30 minutes to burn off that donut?” This can become a vicious cycle and an unhealthy one as well. It takes a lot of exercising to compensate for overeating and poor food choices, so it’s not a really successful weight loss strategy. Many experts believe that healthy and sustainable weight loss is 80% nutrition and diet, and 20% exercise. Nutrition will help you lose the fat and build lean muscle, and exercise will tone those muscles and shape your healthy body.
We’ve all done it. We’ve eaten something and then looked at the empty plate or container and said, “Where did it go?” Eating is such a routine behavior that we can very often eat an entire plate of food and not taste one bite. When we eat mindlessly, we can overeat, which then leads to weight gain. Don’t sit in front of the computer or the TV, or eat in the car or on the run. Sit down and avoid distractions. Enjoy your food and make your meal a special event. Pay attention to the tastes, the textures and the aroma of the food. Savor every bite. By eating mindfully, your body and your brain will have more time to recognize and register when it is full, which will keep you from overeating.
Prepared, refined, and processed foods are essentially nutritionless, empty calorie meals. More often than not, they are filled with sugars, preservatives and other things that are toxic to your body. These ‘food-like’ substances only sustain you for a short while. Your body craves high quality nutrient dense foods, so when you eat prepared, refined and processed foods, you are not feeding your body what it needs to function optimally. This will result in you feeling hungry again in a shorter period of time, cause you to overeat and ultimately gain weight.
Setbacks are a natural part of any behavior change. Everyone who has successfully made changes in their lives has experienced some form of setback. Don’t sweat about them and give up on your dreams. Recognize those things that are potential ‘danger zones’ - things such as weddings, birthdays, holidays, etc. You need to plan how to overcome temptations and stay on track, or get back on track if you indulge. Guilt is not a healthy emotion.
With the right tools, education and support, healthy and sustainable weight loss is achievable and shouldn’t be painful. Set realistic goals, eat clean, natural, whole foods, surround yourself with positive people and reward the little things, and before you know it, you will be a healthier, happier and more active person! What are you ‘weighting’ for? Just get up and go for it!
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