If you are like every other yo-yo dieter out there, chances are you have started and stopped several diet plans with no success. The first week is easy. You’re full of excitement. You tell yourself “this time will be different.” The second week is ok, a little harder than the first but you’re still sticking to it. And then what happens? You bend the rules a bit and start falling back into your old habits. Why does this happen? Why do we go through this vicious cycle? I’ll tell you why. We are focusing on the wrong goal. For whatever reason, we must not perceive our weight loss as being “important enough” to achieve. So what would be “important enough” to stick to our new healthy eating habits? Your HEALTH! Nothing in this world is more important than the state of your health. Think about it, your health affects everything else in your life. Once our health is compromised we automatically change our lifestyle habits. Just look at President Clinton. Not until he had the ultimate health scare did he really change his eating and exercise habits. Let’s not wait until our bodies completely have a break down before we decide to take care of ourselves. If you feel lousy, everything you do that day is lousy.
Ask yourself, “How important is my health to me? How do I want to live the rest of my life? Sick and feeling horrible or healthy and feeling vibrant? Do I want to play golf and tennis in my retirement or do I want to spend it in the hospital?” The answer to these questions will ultimately dictate your weight and your health for the future. Any lifestyle habit that affects your health in a positive way will automatically cause you to lose weight or maintain a good healthy weight.
Follow this checklist towards health and you will see weight come off automatically.
1. Make the time to focus on health.
The number one reason people do not eat healthy or exercise is because they “don’t have the time”. But why is it that once we get sick, have a heart attack, are diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or cancer, we all of a sudden have the time? This doesn’t make any sense. We wait until our bodies have become so ill to finally take measures towards taking care of it. This is the equivalent to never getting an oil change or servicing your car and letting it completely break down before doing anything about it. Prioritize your day. What could possibly be more important than your health? Your children, yes, I agree. But guess what? If something happens to you, who will be there for your children? I know that sounds terrible but it’s true. How many times have we heard stories of young children losing parents to heart attacks and strokes? Choose health not only for yourself but for your children as well. Prioritize your day so that making healthy meal choices and exercising are right at the top.
2. Take a long hard look at what you are putting into your body.
For one week, read every ingredient of every food you eat. This could potentially be a scary experience. Some ingredient labels on packaged foods sound more like a college chemistry class than anything we should be eating. As a golden rule, if you can’t pronounce it, chances are you shouldn’t be eating it. The majority of the foods you should be eating shouldn’t even have an ingredients label. They should be vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, chicken, fish, eggs, meat. If you make 90% of your diet, fresh food, I guarantee you will significantly change your weight and your health. No time to make fresh food? (please refer back to #1). Cook more than one portion at a time when you do cook so that there are always healthy leftovers in the fridge. You can always have for lunch leftovers from the night before. Cook several portions of one meal and freeze some. A good example of this is healthy soup or turkey chili. Put a portion of chili in a small Tupperware and freeze. You can grab this when in a hurry for lunch or dinner.
3. How much are you eating?
In the United States, our perception of one portion is extremely distorted. Restaurant portions are about 3 times more than what we should be eating in one sitting. If we become accustomed to seeing this much food on our plate at a restaurant we tend to do the same when we are at home and serve ourselves. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women are eating 300 more calories a day and men 168 more calories than 20 years ago. All it takes is 100 extra calories a day to gain 10 pounds a year.
For one week, reduce your portions at lunch and dinner by half. There is no need to “clean your plate”. Most times what’s on your plate is double what you should be eating anyway. If you feel some hunger in the afternoon, add one small apple with a handful of raw nuts as a snack. Your body will quickly become accustomed to the smaller portions and you will eventually not be able to eat as much in one sitting as you did before. Remember, you have access to an abundance of food every day. You don’t need to eat it all at once.
4. Drink WATER!
Dehydration has directly been linked to several forms of diseases including colon cancer, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. Many people also mistake thirst for hunger. So it may not be that you’re hungry all day, you may just be thirsty and dehydrated. In due time, dehydration will cause a gradual gain in weight from overeating as a direct result of confusion of thirst and hunger sensations.
Take a look at what you are drinking each day.
Coffee or Soda (Diet Coke included)? The caffeine in both will dehydrate you even more and will cause you to feel hungrier during the day.
Diet drinks and sodas? The artificial sweetener actually enhances your appetite and increases food intake.
Orange Juice and other Fruit Juices? The sugar and calories can add up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per drink, which can be anywhere from 150-200 calories. Not to mention the fact that sugar eventually makes you crave more sugar.
Every person should be drinking half of their body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water each day. If you drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage during the day, the ounces of water needed increases.
5. How much do you move each day?
Your body was designed to move! Your heart is a muscle and must be worked just like every other muscle in your body. You don’t have to join a gym to move, you just have to challenge your body and your muscles each and every day. The two best time saving exercise options I always suggest to clients are:
1.Go for a walk. You can go for a walk anywhere and anytime. No time you say? Please refer back to rule #1.
2. Set up your home with some free weights and an exercise ball. You will be amazed at the number of exercises you can do with just your body, some free weights and a stability ball. If you don’t know how, hire a trainer to show you or get a good book. Get into the routine of scheduling your exercise time each and every day. No ifs, ands or buts. Make your exercise time more important than phone calls, laundry, errands or lunch dates.
Make a promise to yourself that this time will be about health, not about short term weight loss. Really evaluate how you are treating your body on an everyday basis. Is that the same way you would treat a highly valuable, expensive piece of equipment? Because that’s what your body is. There is no amount of money in the world that will buy you another one, so you might as well take really good care of the one you got!
If you are looking for a great way to get started and need some direction and a plan to stick to, click here