WHEN you look in the mirror, do you harbour a deep desire to lose weight? You know, having that recurring thought of getting that body of yours back to the weight that you were happiest at?
Undeniably, you keep thinking about it but it stays pretty much that — just a thought. If you’re stuck in that rut, then you are just the person I am talking to.
So, what’s stopping you from taking the first step to losing that weight? Being a spectator to the consequences of your own diet and lifestyle habits is not going to get you to your destination. I understand your fear of change. Maybe you feel that you will have to give up your favourite foods and drinks, ...or you dislike exercising. The thought of all these changes can be daunting.
Truth be told, losing weight is not impossible. If you think about it, it is no different than any other areas in your life that you have resolved to change. There are many who have successfully lost and kept the weight off permanently.
Is it a miracle only bestowed upon a select few? Not at all! So, what is it that people who have successfully lost weight know that you don’t? Here is what I know:
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE
People who have successfully lost weight start with their head — by changing their overall mental attitude towards it. Instead of lamenting about what they’re missing, they focus their energy on what they’re going to gain when the weight falls off. It is this attitude that validates why they are doing it in the first place. Hence, their focus is strong and is never easily shaken by any means.
“More confident”, “disciplined” and “easier than I thought!” are the phrases many of my clients use to describe the feeling of losing the first several kilogrammes when I see them at their follow-up sessions. This drives them to achieve more.
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. In one column, write “What are the positives of losing the weight” and the other column the header would be “What are the negatives of losing the weight”. Then spend several minutes putting some thought into it and jotting down the reasons.
There’s nothing like the power of the pen and seeing it loud and clear on paper. I suggest you stick this paper some place where you can see it every day.
DO IT FOR YOU
Dig deep to find your motivation. The whole wide world can tell you to lose the kilos, but one of the most powerful reasons you can ever find for you to lose weight is to do it for yourself. Many of the overweight clients I see are selfless by nature. They put everyone else first before themselves. So it is no wonder that their weight is often the last thing they on their mind when they are busy taking care of everyone else.
It is time to take charge and stop letting other people rob you of what is important to you. If there are certain foods you feel you need to eat more to replace your usual high fat choices, go out and buy it — even if no one else in the family eats it.
When eating out with others, suggest places that you know serve the food suitable for your new eating style, instead of letting other people dictate where to eat all the time.
Lock in time for exercise into your diary like it is an important appointment and do not cancel it unless absolutely necessary. Adapt and plan your other appointments for the day around your new healthier lifestyle without any guilt. Remember, you and your wellbeing come first.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
Instead of seeing it only as a short-term measure to drop a few kilos, people who have successfully lost weight tackle smaller changes first. These are the changes that they can easily achieve and sustain. If you set your expectations too high, you are more likely to feel overwhelmed and disheartened when you find it hard to follow through.
Believe me, over time, the small lifestyle changes you manage to sustain will bring about the permanent weight loss you ultimately want to achieve.
BREAK THE HABIT
Think hard about your typical day and pick one of your worst eating habits. For example, maybe you always snack on greasy chips. Then for one week, break that habit by doing without it. For one week, snack on fresh fruits that you like instead of your usual greasy chips. Challenge yourself to think of other healthier snacks that you may have overlooked.
By broadening your choices from the usual, you may find yourself new favourite snacks. The next week, chose another eating habit that can be improved on and work it through consistently for at least one week.
As the weeks go by, you would have converted your bad eating habits to good ones. That will certainly put you in the right direction to dropping the excess weight.
* Indra Balaratnam is a consultant dietitian who believes in simple, practical ways to eating well and living healthy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org