It’s the second day of our weight loss journey and when our friends call up for a dessert meetup, we can’t resist the urge and land up eating more than normal. We take months together to get our body fit and ready for marathons, study for weeks together for exams or play a game of chess during every possible break to sharpen our skills before the inter-company tournament. While we take so much pain and care to prepare ourselves before such events, why don’t we even think twice before taking up some weight loss program?
Eat a cookie with your evening coffee today, do the same tomorrow and Eureka, your hand goes automatically to your cookie box the day after tomorrow! Good habits are not so straightforward and easy to follow. Researchers say that it takes 21 days to make/break a habit. Maybe this would go good with habits such as drinking water before and after your meals but not for the hardcore ones such as weight loss! Weight loss is a huge task left at your disposition and it depends on the individual’s mindset and willpower to pursue and succeed!
Right before relishing the fruits of success that come by way of physical changes, one must first prepare himself/herself mentally to dump off the unhealthy habits. Instead of aiming for a crash-diet kind of weight loss, think of a lifestyle change that can stay with you for a lifetime. Try to get into a habit that can stick with you in the future too. Once you decide to embark on your weight loss journey, shifting your thoughts about how to lose weight is the first biggest challenge. Don’t expect to witness magnificent physical changes without preparing your inner mind and thoughts.
Give me an answer to this question genuinely- ‘How many of you decide upon losing weight when you are in a clear state of mind, without any frustrations, a feeling of overwhelming body shaming or self-deprecation? Almost none! The decision to lose weight enters the mind only when you are affected by such negative thoughts and emotions. Any endeavor performed or decided upon in this state of mind will only focus on results-quick results. Hence, the weight loss task becomes a stressful affair that focuses primarily on quick fixes without caring about sustainability or health. This is destructive thinking-working on a task with a negative mindset without focusing on the positives such as better health, good quality of life, ease in performing daily activities and the prevention of health diseases; tasks performed in this frame of mind fail to succeed mostly.
Before jumping onto your weight loss goal, prepare yourself mentally by ensuring the following:
Define a workable goal: Your reason for weight loss might be anything from looking prettier or getting rid of the energy drain you suffer from dragging around your excess 15 kilograms to fixing health problems such as diabetes or blood pressure. Your goal should not be to lose weight but to fix upon smaller ones that help you succeed on your final result of weight loss. For instance, eating five portions of fruits and veggies or getting enough sleep are smaller goals that are achievable and gratifying.
Meet a dietitian: Once you are focused on losing weight please don’t google search for a diet or ask suggestions from your near and dear ones. Everyone is ready to help you, no doubt about it and the internet offers a plethora of diets and weight loss ideas, but the reason why many people fail to succeed in their decision is because they have chosen a plan that is completely unsuitable for their body type. Meet a dietitian and explain your core reason for weight loss. Once the RDN gets your goal, she will be able to come up with the best weight-loss program suitable for your body type, lifestyle, food habits and medical conditions (if any). An RDN can also help you mentally prepare yourself for the challenges ahead, guide you to overcome these challenges successfully, encourage you when you achieve smaller goals and help you accomplish the ultimate result. A dietitian/nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com would be the best guide to help you succeed and motivate you all through your weight loss journey.
Be positive: Try to be amidst positive people and those who have a positive frame of mind to approach any problem. This encourages you and keeps you emotionally healthy. Never hesitate to ask help or support when needed. You might have failed in your past weight loss efforts, but it is not mandatory that you will fail again. Don’t lose hope if you skip workout for a day or overeat a meal. It’s all in the game.
Redefine rewards and punishments: Neither food is a reward and nor is exercise a punishment. Both help to nourish your body and keep you energetic and strong. All of us need the right mix of both, food and exercise to stay fit and healthy.
Shun away from the calendar: Patience is the utmost important quality for a healthy weight loss in a sustainable way. When you set smaller goals, even daily ones such as covering 10,000 steps or eating five portions of produce and achieve them there is no need of constantly engaging with the calendar and worrying about results. Results would automatically fall in place sometime gradually.
Pick out ‘problem’ areas: Each of us have a few weak points when it comes to eating or exercising. Pick out these weak points and work over them. For instance, when you crave for something during stress, stop the craving by saying “STOP” aloud or count from 1 to 10 repetitively until the craving vanishes.
Stay away from the scale: While people regularly advice to note your weight every couple of days please don’t do so if you think that weighing scale measurements might cause negative thoughts and actions. Don’t weight yourself until you are convinced that the numbers on the scale don’t define your worth and it is your actual self who stands before these numbers.
Cheat occasionally: You are not a saint doing a penance but a human trying to work on achievable things. Don’t restrict yourself like an army man. An occasional cookie or potato wafers is not sinning. Feel free to eat something of your choice sometimes. This would motivate you even more to stay fixed on your goal and prove results.
Encourage yourself: You are your soul’s best friend. Talk to yourself. This might seem funny and people around might ridicule you for this. Do it in your personal space at the comfort of your home. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and keep imposing harder restrictions. This would become a punishment of sorts and we don’t want this! Pat yourself for your achievements until now, ponder on your mistakes and work on improving yourself to get better results.
Jot down rewards: Plan your rewards as you would plan your diet and exercise. Note it down in your food journal along with your daily food habits and exercise durations! But never make the same mistake of giving yourself a food reward. Maybe you can go for a relaxing spa or get yourself an accessory you have been eying along as a reward for achieving each of your smaller goals.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.