It’s January, the month that tops the list for focus on weight loss. The holidays are over and resolutions abound for making all sorts of changes in our health, wealth and weight.
The diet industry is acutely aware of this, but they don’t really give you much that will lead to success. Did you know 85% of diets fail? They consist of the kind of deprivation or strict control that is simply not sustainable and will often lead to a rebound effect. I remember that sort of backlash when the Atkins diet was the rage. Many lost weight fairly rapidly through a high protein extremely low carb diet, only to find themselves with an insatiable craving for bagels.
When the latest and greatest diet comes on the market, some become militant to the point that they suggest this new diet is the only way a smart person could possibly eat. A fervor builds around these miraculous solutions for weight loss. When it becomes obvious they are not working, a new and better diet comes along.
As a health coach, I study all aspects of nutrition, including weight loss. There are many factors that enter into success or failure for anyone seeking to lose weight. These are the secrets you need to know:
- You are unique. All aspects of your life story matter when you make a plan to lose weight. A one size fits all does not work with weight loss.
- The proportion of fat and muscle in your body influences the amount of food that’s right for you. Fat/muscle ratio affects your metabolic rate. Muscle is lost when weight loss is rapid.
- The number of hours you go without eating may affect your weight. You should have a minimum of 12 hours of not eating to burn stored fat and better regulate your body’s hormones.
- Learn to LOVE YOUR BODY. It’s very hard to eat healthy and take care of yourself if you hate your body. Stop criticizing your body and honor it as if it’s a temple. You’ll treat it better when you do.
- Be patient. No one gains all their extra weight at once; it is a gradual process that sometimes spans decades. When you decide to lose weight, focus on your improved eating habits and how they make you feel. Consistent healthy eating will trim the excess pounds.
What I Recommend as Essential Practices for a Healthy Weight
- Move your focus away from the scale and calorie counting and focus on eating well and eating with awareness.
- Eating well means eating simple whole foods, many organic, that you prepare at home
- Eating with awareness means consciously enjoying the experience of eating and noticing when you have had enough.
- Hydration is an important factor in weight management. You should take your present body weight, divide it in half, and drink that many ounces of water, herbal tea and other liquids each day. It not only hydrates your body, it also gives you a feeling of fullness and supports regular bowel movements.
Things to Avoid When You Want to Lose Weight
- Eating out. Cut back drastically on eating out. When I first studied nutrition, chefs in my class said they use sugar, salt, oils and butter to make food taste good. These are not weight loss helpers
- Eating processed foods. These are foods that come in packages and have multiple non-food ingredients in them. The additives may actually trigger hunger and cause you to overeat.
- Eating energy bars. These are processed foods. Marketers make them sound good for you. An apple and a handful of nuts is a much healthier choice when you want to lose weight.
- I include all forms of sweet here – refined sugar, brown sugar, and especially artificial sweeteners. Sugar gives quick energy, causing fluctuations in your blood sugar that result in over-eating.
- Just no place for soda if you want to lose weight. Especially diet soda. Switch to water so you can make your daily quota.
In my work I’ve noticed a very positive mindset in women over 50. It’s a shift from wanting to be a size 2 to a more realistic approach to wellness. It’s a wisdom about what is really important in life – not perfection, but an appreciation for still being on the planet and doing our best to feel our best. That’s the blessing of maturity.
Peg Doyle, M.Ed., is a nationally certified health coach, speaker and educator. Her practice Wellness and You is located in Westwood MA. where she supports women in identifying and addressing their health and wellness goals. Her publications include her book Food Becomes You – Simple Steps for Lifelong Wellness and audio recordings Stress Management and Beyond Cancer. Her website is www.wellnessandyou.com