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The Best Approach to Weight Loss

Updated on August 17, 2018
Carolyn M Fields profile image

I have followed the WW/Weight Watchers program for years, from "exchanges" up to the most recent Wellness Wins program.

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Five Things

In my experience, there are basically five things you need to change for lasting weight management. Three of them are physical changes. One of them is a mental change. The third item is about emotional intelligence. We’re going to discuss these in reverse order.

Emotional

It has been said that your subconscious mind is 1,000 times more powerful than your conscious mind. I’m not going to argue the exact math here, because that isn’t my point. My point is that to be successful at anything in life, you need to harness the power of your subconscious.

And what, pray tell, is in charge of the subconscious mind? The answer is shockingly simple: emotions! So the first step towards lasting in the weight management area is to get a grip on your emotions around this issue. This is much easier said than done, yet completely doable. While I don’t have a “magic pill” for developing emotional intelligence as it’s called, I do have one short cut that may help. Develop and maintain a positive attitude.

Having a positive attitude goes a long way towards ultimate success in any life endeavor. Any time that little voice inside says, “I can’t do this,” you need to immediately follow-up with positive affirmations. Things like:

  • Yes, I can do this!
  • I’m stronger than I look!
  • This is the time I’m going to succeed!

Mental

Now that you’ve addressed your emotional state (notice I didn’t say you solved anything, you just have a plan to keep it in check), next you need to get your head in the game. This involves making good choices. What do I mean by this? Here are a few illustrations:

Bad Choice
Good Choice
I’ll start tomorrow.
I’ll take a small step forward today.
I’ll make up for the fast food burger by drinking diet soda.
I’ll pick the salad, and add a piece of fruit that I brought with me.
I don’t have time to exercise.
I’ll split up my activity into 5 minute segments, spaced throughout the day.
There’s nothing good to eat in the house.
I’ve stocked my refrigerator with pre-cut melon, fresh grapes, baby carrots, and other tasty fresh food ready to eat.
I’m at a party, so I HAVE to drink alcohol to be sociable.
When I drink a refreshing sparkling water with ice, everyone will assume I’m having a cocktail and I’ll fit in.

I could go on and on, but hopefully I’ve made my point. Start every day with an affirmation that you will make good choices. Having the appropriate resources at your fingertips is also a choice. It doesn’t magically happen. So begin your weight management journey by setting yourself up for success. This might mean restocking your pantry, or staying away from negative influences. Whatever it is that you need, that is what you should do.

Physical

The first two areas (emotional and mental) are the most difficult. They make my suggestions for physical changes seem easy by comparison. Within this area, there are three sub-categories that you will need to address:

  1. Stay well hydrated. It’s absolutely true that we can confuse thirst and hunger. For this reason I recommend following the 8x8 rule: drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Yes, you can substitute black tea or coffee for some (not all) of that. Some people start the day with a liter container of water and sip on it until it’s gone, then refill and repeat. Then you’re done. Alternatively, pick out four 16-ounce bottles of pure drinking water and number them. I recommend sipping throughout the day, rather than glugging it down.
  2. Eat smaller portions. Have you ever felt bloated and uncomfortable after a big meal? It’s not a good feeling. Instead, try eating smaller portions, more frequently. Some experts suggest eating six times a day – or three meals and three snacks. As an illustration (not a requirement), if each meal is limited to 300 calories, and each snack contains 200 calories, your total will be 1,500 for the day. Which means you will probably take off about a pound a week without changing anything else.
  3. Move around more. Of course, if you want to take of weight more quickly, then you’re going to need to burn off some stored fat by increasing your activity level. But that doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym, and sweating for an hour a day. You could do an hour of activity in five minute intervals, twelve times a day. If you are awake for 12 hours in a day (I hope you’re awake for 16, but I’m giving you four hours off), I’m sure you can manage to get up and walk around for five minutes every hour. Or do 10 minutes every two hours. You get the idea.

Putting It All Together

Here is your cheat sheet for my five point plan:

  1. Stay emotionally positive
  2. Make good choices
  3. Stay well hydrated
  4. Eat smaller portions
  5. Move around more

Granted, you won’t drop as fast as the Paleo diet, or tone up like you would with the PX 90 workout. You will, however, have a sustainable way of approaching weight management for the long term.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

How much weight do you want to take off?

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Comments

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  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thanks for the feedback Darleen! Yes, small and steady is the way to go for the long term.

  • Darleen Barnard profile image

    Darleen Barnard 

    2 years ago from Henderson, NV

    I couldn't agree more. Too many "diets" fail because we want instant results and we make drastic changes. This puts the subconscious mind on "high alert" only for us to revert back to our old habits. Small, gradual changes aren't as overwhelming and are much easier to turn into new, healthy habits. Thank you for sharing.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thanks Larry!

  • Larry Rankin profile image

    Larry Rankin 

    2 years ago from Oklahoma

    very helpful!

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Dr. Rangan,

    Thank you for your feedback. I totally agree about the subconscious mind. It is overlooked in Western culture far to often - in my opinion.

    Carolyn

  • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

    Dr Pran Rangan 

    2 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

    Thanks for sharing a well-written hub.

    Exercising regularly, eating healthy and fighting away any kind of stress help reduce weight.

    It is notable that our subconscious mind is a powerful tool, which, if employed sensibly, can help us achieve our goal.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Alyssa,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Carolyn

  • Alyssa Nichol profile image

    Alyssa 

    2 years ago from Ohio

    Great article! I love your common sense approach to fitness. I agree with you on your five points and I think it is always good to keep it simple.

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