Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will tell you, we find what we lose, particularly when it comes to unwanted kilos.
This article discusses the indispensable, fundamental behavioural changes required in anyone seeking a happy, healthy and permanent solution to weight elimination.
1. Choose Differently
You have all the resources within you to change your life. Your focus and commitment will be the only determinants to what you can do, be or have. Consciously choosing differently makes perfect sense. Even intelligent people sometimes act in perplexing ways, for instance when expecting a different outcome from an unchanging input. This being the case the question becomes: Why does one fail to change the approach? Losing weight like anything else in life is about choice. You can choose today and then continue to choose everyday to change your habits.
Choose differently tip: You are in control. It is your choice. Even though right now you may feel ‘slaved’ to food, which may lead you to believe your ideal body, is unattainable or a ‘lost battle’; you can instead choose to imagine that the battle can be won. Once you’ve done this have pen and paper ready to write away, immediately after you’ve asked yourself the following question: “How will I lose x kg in x weeks?” Be both specific and realist with your question (aim for about 1kg a week). Commit to writing down at least 20 different ways or things you can do in order to achieve your goal. This is significant, as it has been scientifically proven that the last 5 are often our best ideas! And this approach works for more than just weight loss.
2. Improve your Self-Image
How you see yourself will shape your reality. The great news is that you can change your reality by choosing to see yourself differently. Often we carry such negative perspectives of ourselves. Before you can change your perception of yourself, learn to accept yourself the way you are right now, no matter what. Be grateful for what you do have. Given you are reading these words, it is very likely you possess a well functioning body (slight imperfections aside) you have been blessed!
One of the keys to permanent weight elimination is to see yourself the way you want to be. It is all too common for the person who sheds 20kg to put it all back on because on the outside there has been a transformation, but inside is still occupied by the old 20kg heavier self.
Choose differently tip: Spend five minutes everyday entertaining your imagination. Imagine daily what you will look like at your ideal weight (from all angles) this is not a static picture — really daydream. Feel how you are going to feel within yourself, how you will interact with others as a result of your changed self and so on. See it all in detail. Scientific research shows such practices help change your ‘body’s thinking’, having the power to positively influence your food and lifestyle choices towards better eating and increased physical activity as well as improve your own physiology.
3. Change your Self-Talk
I am slimmer everyday is your new mantra. When you used to affirm to yourself: “I am fat”, “I am ugly”, “I am disgusting”, “I hate my body” guess what you are getting more of? FAT, UGLY, DISGUSTING! Which is NOT what you want more of, is it? We get more of what we focus on. What better opportunity to choose differently!
Choose differently tip: Counter every negative thought with “I am slimmer everyday”. This statement is true regardless of your what your scales currently tell you and when you start to believe it, you consciously and subconsciously begin acting accordingly.
4. Reduce Stress
Stress most often affects our ability to care about what we eat as well as our desire to plan to eat healthily. We tend to use food for comfort, ‘stuffing’ feelings, emotions and insecurities down with each mouthful.
This is one side of how stress keeps you fat. The other of course is the physiological impact stress hormones have on insulin and blood sugar levels making things like food cravings, unbalanced appetite, fluid retention and the almost impossible task of losing fat under such circumstances a direct consequence of the stress response.
Choose differently tip: Try this right now. Wherever you are sit comfortably and focus solely on what you are about to do. Take a deep, slow breathe in. Let the air expand your tummy, until it is fully expanded. Once that is done, hold that breath and slowly count to 5. Then gently exhale completely. Repeat this breathing process 5 times. Once you are done you will feel completely relaxed and energised. Practice throughout your day. You can even supercharge this exercise by concurrently seeing in your mind the stress melting away with each breath, to be replaced with your ideal situation or circumstance — the more you focus on what you want (followed by positive action) the sooner it will be yours!
5. Find a Hobby
What a better way to de-stress than to do something you truly enjoy! A healthy hobby can do so much for you. It can serve as an alternative for emotional or compulsive eating because you have a something else to turn when feeling vulnerable. All of a sudden you have a better option to ‘distract’ your mind. Use it!
Choose differently tip: Find something you truly enjoy and begin doing it. It can be anything from painting ceramics or dancing classes to reading and origami. One amazing benefit of pursuing a hobby activity is that you develop skills transferable to many other areas of your life. The bottom line: HAVE FUN!
6. Make Good Sleep a Priority
Clear your mind. As a society we let our lives be driven by our own and other people’s deadlines, worries, anxieties, insecurities. Our misguided and often negative thoughts gain momentum in the playground of our minds — The result we don’t sleep or we sleep poorly and this has a negative impact in every other aspect of our lives. The great news? All that is required for a positive change is a change in perception.
Right here is a good place to start: Deadlines can be postponed, for those that cannot other opportunities will arise; for all the rest, which generally revolves around worry, the following is a great reminder: “There is no need to worry. Why worry about something you cannot change? If you cannot change it, there is no reason to worry about it. Similarly, why worry about something you can change (or control)? If you can change it there is no reason to worry about it.
Now you’ve eliminated all of the things you could worry about, there is no reason to worry”. How true this is… And if you are sitting there thinking — “This is ridiculous, it can’t be that simple.” You are an intelligent person, I challenge you to think again. This change in attitude will be the best investment you can make for your life, health and wellbeing!
Choose differently tip: Firstly, plan your schedule around ensuring you block out 8 hours to guarantee you have the time to get enough sleep — this is the priority, everything else really is secondary. Then, adopt a new outlook, realise you are a changed person and you now go to bed with a new attitude — you now know there is no reason to worry, and you begin to implement this practice right away. Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and evening (e.g. coffee, tea, colas, energy drinks, chocolate, sugar) this will help you have a restful sleep.
7. Stop Watching TV
No time for anything? Want to gain at least another 3 hours in your week? An article published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association reports that in 1997 an adult male spent approximately 29 hours per week watching TV and an adult female spent 34 hours weekly.
Whilst it is a scientifically proven fact that television viewing is a major predisposing factor for weight gain and obesity little attention is paid to this problem. The results of a 6 year follow up study on television viewing are clear: each 2hr/day increment in watching television was associated with a 23% increase in obesity and a 14% increase in risk of diabetes.
Sitting in front of the television watching fast food commercials causes you to want to eat more of those seemingly appetising foods. It also causes you to not pay attention to your body’s satiety (fullness) signals when you are eating, which leads to increased calorie consumption and inactivity all at once!
Choose differently tip: Turn off the television!!! A lot of the time spent in front of the television is watching things you didn’t really want to see in the first place. So in order to avoid wasting your precious time, get out the TV Guide on Sunday and mark down only the shows you really want to watch — stick to the plan: watch them and then turn off the TV. You will find much better ways to use the time you will gain, who knows, maybe you will even feel inspired to go for a walk.
Before you can change what you are — in other words how you look, you need to change who you are. This means a change on how you choose to look and feel about yourself and a change in how you do things. This internal change in turn triggers other changes within you and your outward habits, which are transformed to become more in line with your inherit desire for yourself: A healthy body and a healthy weight.
You will find it easier to eat nourishing foods, just like a more active lifestyle and exercise will simply become part of what you do, without having to give it much thought. Soon, your outward situation will mirror your new inward reality, when this happens, you no longer need to worry about excess or fluctuating weight: You are home.
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