Beware The False Gods Of Weight Loss
If you want to achieve easy and healthy long-term weight loss, the thinking "I need to lose X number of pounds" does not help you. Why is that? Doesn't everyone begin any weight loss plan with the idea that they want to lose a certain amount of weight? That's true, but thinks about this. The issue is not really losing that X number of pounds. I'm willing to bet that if you're reading this, you've probably waged your own personal battle of the bulge many times. I'm also willing that you've actually WON more than your share of battles. If your goal was to lose 20 pounds, I'm willing to bet that you achieved that goal. The problem is that these were only temporary victories, correct? As soon as you reached, or came within spitting distance of your goal, you stopped following whatever weight loss plan you were on, and the weight returned with a vengeance.That's why the statement "I need to lose X number of pounds" is so dangerous to achieving long-term weight loss. The goal is not to lose X number of pounds, but to lose it and keep it off.
So, what is the key then for you to reach your weight loss goals? The key is to focus on attacking your behaviors, and not the weight itself. Now, changing behaviors, even in the cause of healthy weight loss, can sound a little daunting. However, it really isn't. when it comes down to it, changing behaviors really just amounts to changing the little habits we all do that directly affect your weight. Some of these little habits are so small, you may not even be aware of them. Nonetheless, they are important, and they are the key to achieving long-term natural weight reduction.
Treat Your Body Like Your House
Look at it this way. I think it's fair to say that most people would consider their bodies to be as important as their houses. However, when they want to remodel their bodies, what do most people do? They attack the job with no skills and no blueprint whatsoever. At best, they may rely on the latest fad diet they've read in the back of some magazine. Would you proceed with repairs on your house in the same way? In order to achieve your weight loss goals, you need to make sure you have the skills and the tools.
I mentioned that there were two false gods. I've hope I've gotten across the reason why Dieting, the "I need to lose X number of pounds", is a false weight loss god. However, why is Willpower also a false god? The problem with Willpower is that it is an inherently negative concept. The idea of Willpower is that you are forcing yourself to do something you don't really want to do. In the long-term, this is a losing strategy. Rather than relying on the unpleasantness of Willpower, you are better of relying on positive tools, like desire, perseverance, and patience. Using these, it's easy to change your habits and your body overtime.
Why We Eat So Much (And How To Stop)
If you want to achieve long-term, healthy weight loss, the first question you have to grapple with is why do we all eat so much in the first place? If you think about it, you will find that most of the time you are not eating because you are hungry. For most of us, eating when we are not hungry is one of the unconscious habits I mentioned previously in one of my previous articles. This is the exact opposite of what animals in the wild do. They only eat when they are hungry. Understanding why you are eating when you are not really hungry is a major weight loss key.
Learn Why You're Eating So Much (It's Often Not Hunger)
If you are really interested in acquiring the habits to achieve natural weight loss, one very useful exercise is to record everyday everything that you eat. As well, you will want to record when, where, and under what circumstances you are eating. Even more importantly, you will want to record how you are feeling emotionally before, during, and after you've finished your snack/meal. What this will reinforce to you is that most of the time you are consuming food for reasons other than hunger. Another bonus is that if you know you have to write down the reasons for eating before you eat, it will often give you pause, and you may not eat at all in the first place!
If Not Hunger, Why Do People Eat?
What are some common reasons people eat, aside from hunger? Some people find that they like to eat when watching television. They often don't know why, but sitting in front of the TV becomes an invitation to raid the fridge. My guess as to why people do this is boredom. I don't want to knock television, but a lot of people wind up watching the boob tube because they really have nothing else to do. The problem with television is that (shocking truth coming up, prepare yourself!) a lot of the shows are really not that interesting. So, what do you do? You grab some food to up the "fun" quotient. Soda pop is fun and colorful, and it can be pleasurable to allow your tongue to play with a bag of potato chips or candy. I'm guessing this is why a lot of junk food is made up to be so colorful and toy-like to begin with. This is also part of the reason why people rarely grab some carrots when they are raiding the fridge. Regardless, this is a habit you are going to want to break.
Food, Food, Everywhere...
Another weight loss enemy is simply how available food is. When you order a meal at any restaurant, the amount of food on the plate is usually far in excess of what you need to satiate your hunger. When that food is there, the natural habit to "finish what is on your plate" naturally kicks in. Portion size is very much an issue, particularly in western diets.
On a more serious note, another foe in the weight loss battle is negative emotions like loneliness or depression. For too many people, eating becomes a balm to sooth these negative feelings. Plus, when people do this, they usually reach for some kind of sweet, high calorie food like cake, ice cream, or chocolate. They never reach for carrot or an apple instead. Again, this is an unconscious habit. People do this without thinking.
The good news about all of the above is that all of these behaviors are learned behaviors. However, once you are aware of whatever unconscious habits you possess, you can start the work of changing them.