How to lose weight now...and keep it off!
My own story
This short article is intended for those who are in the same situation as I was. I simply aim to share the experience I had personally in my battle with losing weight and keeping it off.
Important: See a doctor if you feel you have a more serious eating disorder. Always consult medical professionals about your weight-loss concerns before embarking on any weight-loss programme, in order to establish your own, specific medical condition. There may be a better way for you, but this how it was for me!
Why, Oh why me?
Why, oh why, is it so difficult? And why, oh why, me?
What cruel, twisted mind cursed some of us miserable beings with the wretchedness of being overweight?
Some people are comfortable and happy with their 'over-weight', but it just wasn't like that for me.
There are very many reasons and combinations of reasons causing some people to become overweight. Some people are comfortable and happy with their 'over-weight', but it just wasn't like that for me. I would like to share my own personal battle with being overweight and how I managed to finally lose the extra kilos and have since then managed to maintain my lower weight over a period of time.
Some people become overweight due to psychological/emotional reasons and the weight cannot be effectively lost until the underlying reason for overeating is established and then addressed. This may be one of the most important parts of the weight-loss programme; Identifying the true cause of gaining weight or overeating.
Fortunately, I didn't have any serious medical condition that was causing me to gain weight. It turned out I was simply an emotional eater, quite addicted to certain foods, with very little will-power to resist temptation. I would join in eating with others at any time, whether I had eaten already, even if I wasn't hungry. I had always been overweight, even as a child, so I had no interest in any type of physical activity. School sports lessons hd always been a sourse of great anxiety for me, and I dreaded the days on which I had switch into a sports kit, where everything would be revealed!
If you recognise your own story reflected here, then you may be interested in how I overcame the addictive eating habit I had formed, since childhood.
Naturally, in any weight-loss regime or eating disorder, the first step is to visit a medical professional and ascertain there are no underlying medical issues causing the extra weight.
Let the battle commence
Mmmm...Tasty Vicious Circles
Round and round..in circles
If you really want something badly enough, you can achieve it!
Being overweight (and not being happy about it) will NEVER raise your confidence levels, it will only lower them. This lowering even more will lead to you more overeating and so the circle is perpetuated. The vicious circle. NO WIN= NO WIN.
Analyse what you are doing that is keeping you overweight and then CHANGE THINGS. Don't let a minor issue like food bring you down..
In the great scheme of things food should really be a minor issue. Yet when you are overweight, food, and the avoidance of it, becomes one of the major issues in your life. Think of all the energy (not calorific energy, unfortunately) we use thinking about, worrying about, feeling guilty / depressed etc. about food! It's almost immoral! It's not worth it.
Several years ago!
What have you got to lose? (Apart from weight!)
Be honest with yourself and try to identify what food means to you. Is it really that important? If you need help to do this, then you should seek professional help. If you are SERIOUSLY overweight, then you MUST seek medical advice. Your local doctor will advise you on how best to deal with your particular issue, or at least be able to refer you to another professional in the appropriate field.
If, however, you only have up to approximately 10-15 kilos to lose, then there is a possibility you can 'go it alone'. But if there is any help out there, why not go for it and ask for professional advice anyway? What have you got to lose? (Except a few kilos?)´
Time on Big Ben, London.
A matter of time
No crash diets or starvation diets!
It is so, so annoying to have to come to terms with this next point, but it has to be said; this will take time!
You have to also face up to the painful fact that, the same way it TAKES TIME for you to gain those extra kilos effectively, then it will also TAKE TIME for you to lose them EFFECTIVELY.
Crash dieting/ starvation might seem a faster, more efficient way to get you kick-started into losing your unwanted weight, but the sad thing is it just DOES NOT WORK.
From what I have understood after a bit of research is that there is one major physiological reason for this. You cannot trick your body. Your body is built for survival, in spite of our relatively low-risk life-styles. This means that when you go into starvation mode for a two-week concentrated effort to lose a few pounds, your body panics, as it realises there is not enough food being ingested to sustain itself for very long. (It hasn't yet heard of "crash diets" so it can't be blamed entirely). The body's logical reaction is to assume there is something terribly wrong (and there is... with your head!) and food supplies are scarce. The body goes into self-protection mode and reduces the amount of calories it uses. It becomes VERY POSSESIVE of the calories (ie. your fat) it still has. Yes, that very same fat you are trying to get rid of so drastically. Remember, your body is like a finely tuned piece of machinery, sensitive to all the abuses you subject it to, yet it stoically attempts to save you from yourself and ensure your survival, as far as it possibly can.
Do Crash diets really work?
Something else I understood over the years is that even though you will, inevitably, lose some weight if you crash-diet, you will not be able to maintain the 'crash diet' for very long. I certainly couldn't. My brain became so bored and anxious for food that I had a psychological reaction to binge as soon as I achieved my goal weight. When this happens, your body is so relieved to be back to 'normal' (or at least what you had trained it into believing was 'normal' for you) that it becomes protective again and takes on the new intake of calories with great enthusiasm, thus you immediately regain the weight you lost. The circle is closed again. The vicious circle, that is. Oh dear, here we go again.
Say NO to crash diets and starvation modes. They just don't work!
to Crash Diets
to Fad Diets
to Starvation modes
How do other people deal with food?
In my experience, people who are overweight have a different relationship with food than others who are of a 'normal' healthy weight. Usually, people of a normal, healthy weight really enjoy eating food too, but they also enjoy LOOKING FORWARD to eating food. (They do not actually have to BE EATING IT necessarily. They can enjoy PLANNING what they or the family are going to eat, even SHOPPING for it and COOKING it, People who are of a 'normal', healthy weight can even enjoy WAITING TILL THEY ARE HUNGRY before eating so they enjoy their food more! Sometimes these average-sized' people prefer to eat in company, sharing the eating experience with others as a social event, unlike many overweight people who often tend to prefer eating on their own, making eating a purely personal experience.
Friends can help.
Find a 'buddy'
One of the best 'tricks' or 'tips' I personally have found most useful is to observe or 'monitor' a close friend or member of the family whose weight and health you aspire to and then to follow their dietary pattern as closely as possible. They don't even have to know that you are doing this, and it's probably more useful for you if they don't! Then you will really start to assimilate what it s like to have a 'healthy' relationship with food.
You will probably find they adhere to set meal times avoiding snacking. In fact you may notice their food eating behaviour is EXACTLY what you have been told to do do lose weight. They do all these things naturally, subconsciously and even better, they don't even consider themselves to be 'dieting'.
People who are at a healthy weight use expressions like
Healthy="OH, I couldn't possibly eat that now, I'm not hungry!"
Me ="What has hunger got to do with it? I fancy some!"
Healthy="I'm afraid I've already eaten"
Me= "That's ok... I'll just eat again!"
Healthy="I don't like it with mushrooms in, I'll pass."
Me="I'll pick the mushrooms out and eat the rest, no problem!"
Do you notice the great difference in attitude to food here?
Are you scared of being hungry?
Overweight people often have a FEAR of being hungry as if it were some dreaded condition to be avoided at all costs yet I have noticed that many 'averagely-sized" people take hunger as a pre-requisite to eating.
Overweight people have only to observe how averagely-sized people behave in respect to food and follow their example.
A great mantra could be "If you want to be size XYZ, then eat like a size XYZ!"
Step 1. Identify your triggers
One of the most helpful strategies for me in my battle with the bulge was to take time to analyse what were the most recurrent factores that triggered my bad eating habits. Once I had established these 'triggers', I was then able to deal with specific areas of my behaviour and take control again of my food. I was determined not to let something like a bad day at work end up meaning a bad day for my new eating habits, leading to more weight gain and more guilt!
I became committed to breaking that circle!
Take a short while to answer the questions in the poll below
STEP 1: Identify WHEN and WHY
I usually overeat when :
Many years later but also many kilos lighter!
CHANGE YOUR WAYS
There is one main conclusion to be drawn. Crash/Starvation diets DO NOT WORK. Fad diets DO NOT WORK. Short-term miracle weight loss products DO NOT WORK. You may not like the news but you have to change your ways. After acquiring bad eating patterns, it is a very difficult thing to unlearn bad habits and re-learn new, healthy habits. However, as long as you believe it is worth it, you will manage to do just that.
Healthy eating patterns together with a reasonable daily exercise routine is the only way that leads to permanent healthy weight maintenance.
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE COMMENT BOX BELOW AND SHARE YOUR WEIGHT LOSING PROBLEM WITH A SYMPATHETIC LISTENER!
Thank you for answering the questions in the poll, which will help you to identify key areas to focus on.
I hope some have found this useful and a little inspirational. If I can lose weight and keep it off, then literally ANYBODY can! In follow-up articles I will go into greater detail about other strategies that helped me to lose weight and keep it off.