While having lunch at a convention where I was scheduled to speak, I sat with a very nice, overweight gentleman. After we introduced ourselves to each other, he realized I was one of the speakers presenting a breakout session about wellness in the workplace. He asked me to give him three pieces of advice about diet. I looked him straight in the eye, and said, "Sustained weight loss takes knowledge, patience, and practice, and without patience, there is no practice." He was shocked at my answer. He said, "I thought you would say eat vegetables or drink water, like I always hear." It was then that he admitted, "I lack patience, so I don't practice. That needs to change."
I'm sure you have noticed friends who have lost weight only to regain it, and maybe that has happened to you as well. It is a difficult task to keep weight off and most people find it almost impossible. There are many reasons, but I'll address one:
You follow a diet and you put all your faith into the diet. You never acknowledge your power in the process. In time you stop the diet and begin to gain weight again. You may return to that same diet or start another one, only to stay with it for a while, and return to your old, destructive habits. How often can this happen? The answer is that it will continue happening until you realize your role in achieving a healthy weight.
Every diet you try has attributes. Each one can educate and guide you, but you must learn to stand on your own! Believe in your own power! When I hear someone say, "I'm a Weight Watcher, or I'm doing Nutrisystem, I'm back on Jenny Craig, or I've started... (insert any diet)," they have put the emphasis and belief in the product, not in themselves.
If you have dieted before you have learned that it takes a special way of eating to lose weight. But where your knowledge may fall short is how food groups work together to nourish you, give you stamina, and keeps you healthy. You may have tried many diet plans and picked what you like most from each to form your own plan. What you've done is delete the balance in the original plan and take away its original formula for success.
- Study current reports about healthy weight loss and stay away from marketers, friends, and co-workers touting the latest fads.
- Ignore the gimmicks and false advertising from the diet industry. Use common sense to decipher what is true and what is myth.
- Treat your body with respect. Eat food that will nourish you. Poor food choices will deprive you of your ideal body weight and good health. They will also cause you to eat too much because you are never properly nourished.
- Be sensible about a healthy weight and consider achieving a realistic clothing size rather than a number on the scale.
People lose patience fast and the weight loss cycle is slow. The length of time it takes you to lose weight is a learning period and will be instrumental to maintaining your new body. Often success goes beyond which food you choose to eat, and is tied to how you face challenges and change behaviors. Turn off the stopwatch and take the time to learn everything you can about how you think, act, and feel towards food.
- When you do something that makes you feel good, repeat it and continue repeating it.
- When you do something that makes you feel like you've failed, learn from it and move on.
- Ignore comments from others, for they don't know what is in your heart and mind.
- Celebrate and build on your victories along the way. There are many!
The minute you think you are "cured" of being overweight is the very moment you begin to gain weight. The skills and strategies you use to achieve a weight loss have to be practiced for a lifetime. Think of them as a muscle that needs to be exercised for maximum strength and endurance.
- When you find a strategy that works, use it often. When you practice strategies during easy challenges, you can simply draw on them during more difficult times. With practice your strategies become skills.
- Practice positive self-talk. By being positive you will be able to destroy negative thoughts.
- When you feel especially strong, practice being near food that challenges you; in time, you will be stronger than any food item.
- Practice being in social situations where your concern is how you eat; rather than what others do and think. What others eat and drink, or how they think, is irrelevant to you.
Repeat as necessary. Be healthy today in your thinking, your body, and your actions.