Losing weight is very difficult, contrary to all the TV commercials. Except for those lucky types we all hate, who stay thin whatever they eat. If our parents did not gift us with genetics that allow us to eat chocolate cake whenever we want, we have our work cut out for us. There are simple reasons why we find it so difficult to lose weight, or even worse, keep gaining it. Unfortunately, to turn things around, we need to make some serious changes in the way we eat and live. And some habits are very hard to break.
1. We want instant results. It is part of our culture. We want weight loss programs and diets to work immediately, especially if we paid for it. Few diets work that fast, and we should stay away from those that do, so we give up, and move to the new one. And the cycle goes on.
Dieting starts big changes in our body chemistry, and it takes time before we can see any results. All diets will eventually work, if we are persistent and combine them with added exercise.
2. We eat way too much. Our favorite restaurants are ” Ëœall you can eat” â„¢ kind. The portions are enormous. That much food is required only by body builders, truckers and construction workers.
The trick is in stopping when we are not hungry any more, regardless of how much food is left on the plate, or how much we love it. If you have problem resisting restaurant goodies, eat at home. Buy smaller plates so that they do not look empty with smaller amount of food.
3. We eat when we are bored, depressed, or just because we like it, not because we are hungry. Eating is fun, and good meals are one of great life”s pleasures, but we can enjoy it in small doses. It is not a bad idea to remind ourselves occasionally that the real purpose of eating is to replenish energy, not to fill our bellies to bursting.
4. We are eating garbage. We are too busy to cook so we depend on ready-made meals for our daily needs. Most of the time, our meal from the box contains ‘food products’, not food. They might taste great, but their nutritional and health value is often less than zero.
If you make your meals yourself, even if it is just a sandwich, you will know exactly what is in it: meat, vegetables, fruit, grains, spices. The less additives, the better.
5. We eat from our laps and in front of our TV. Most people come home after work too tired to eat at the table, enjoy the food and talk to other family members. We shovel our food into our mouth without tasting anything. Making a meal into an event, with table setting, silverware, even some candles, forces us to look at the food, taste it, smell it and enjoy it. This way, we will be full with much less food, and it will give us much more pleasure.
6. Snacking temptation. Everyone gets hungry during the day, and the easiest thing is to grab a bag of chips, a slice of pizza or a soda. To resist eating garbage, keep a piece of fruit, granola bar, even a piece of chocolate, in your bag, for emergencies.
7. We do not walk any more. We use cars, escalators and elevators for shortest distances. Then we feel guilty and pay a lot of money for a gym membership. What would be fine if we actually used it. It is much cheaper, and more effective, to use those muscles we were given for a reason for some regular activities, such as washing windows, polishing floors, walking dogs, running around with kids, biking to work.
8. Making many changes is hard. If we give ourselves too high goal, we are setting ourselves for failure. Start small: one change at the time. Start with healthy breakfast, at the table, with your family. Don”t allow any sugary stuff into your kitchen cabinets or fridge. If you are adding green veggies to your family”s meal, you can avoid objections by adding some grated cheese. You do not have to become food fascist, allow occasionally ” Ëœfast food days” â„¢ and treat your family with pizza takeout or going to a fast food place. Once a week, like a treat. Everyone will appreciate it more.
Good habits build slowly, but they do build. If you make changes slowly and are patient to see the results, you will avoid dreaded yo-yo of losing and regaining weight. And not to mention that you will be healthier and will feel much better and full of energy.