Let me be honest with you that weight loss is not an easy thing to achieve but with persistent effort and focus it can be achieved. The journey too can be pretty exhilarating. My weight-loss efforts for the last couple of years have been hit-and-miss as I’ve struggled to find something that works for me. Of late I’ve been hitting upon some simple concepts that really work for me. Let me be honest again: even with the concepts below, weight loss isn’t going to be easy. However at least these tools will make it a little easier, simpler and they really do work as they have worked for me. I’ve lost about 10 Kgs in the last few months which isn’t rapid weight loss but is actually a very healthy rate of loss. I recommend gradual weight loss for everyone and after losing the unwanted body fat, I’m going to focus more on building a little muscle (something I’m doing now but not my main focus area at the moment).Let’s look at some of the things which have worked for me over the years and am sure will help you in your weight loss journey –
Focus on gradual loss:
I have mentioned this above and it’s important. Too many people focus on trying to lose weight too quickly — 5 Kg in 1 month ,10 Kg in 2 months, etc. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t work because even if you are able to lose that much weight quickly, you haven’t learned sustainable eating habits that will last you a lifetime. The key is to figure out an eating pattern that will work for you for the rest of your life. If you focus on losing 1-2 Kgs per week, you will end up losing between 15 -20 Kgs per year. You have to be willing to wait for a year but as we can see a year goes by pretty fast these days.
Focus on nutrition:
Exercise is important. You have to do it and there are no two ways about it . It has wonderful benefits. If your focus is on weight loss the most important factor here is what you eat though, don’t ignore exercise by any means. If you focus on exercise and think you can eat whatever & whenever you want, you’re wrong. You have to focus on nutrition (what and when you eat) and use exercise as a way to supplement the calorie burn to get your body looking how you want it to look .Both exercise and nutrition complement each other. If you ask me they are two faces of the same coin. You can’t just ignore one and focus more on the other.
Become aware of your hunger:
This is one of the key things I’ve learnt. Many times we are not conscious of how hungry we are. We ignore our bodies because we’re too busy thinking about other things. As a result we only eat when we’re famished and that’s not a good time to eat. I have noticed that with many of my clients they don’t make healthy eating decisions when they are super hungry. Your blood-sugar levels will be too low and your body just wants a quick sugar fix — a Samosa, some white bread or a Coke/Pepsi will be much more appealing than a salad/fruit or healthy sandwich with whole wheat bread. Learn to listen to your body and be aware of your hunger when it’s in its early stages. This is a key skill to weight loss something which you don’t read about often. Always use your body’s signals to learn to eat healthier.
Eat when you’re hungry, not famished:
When you first feel the hunger, that’s the time to eat. Don’t put it off until the hunger builds itself into an insatiable monster. When you start to get a little hungry eat a snack. You don’t need to eat a full-on meal … just some fruit, some Multi grain biscuits, maybe some low-fat dairy product (cheese,yogurt or cottage cheese), oatmeal, some nuts, dried fruit, etc. Just something to tide you over until you feel hungry again or can eat a bigger meal. Keep healthy snacks at your desk or in your car or wherever you go. I have always carried and still carry my bag with any of the above mentioned items. Even during my days of working in a regular job like the most of you I packed healthy snacks for the whole day before leaving home early in the morning.
Drink lots of water:
Drinking water throughout the day helps you to eat less. Water takes the place of food in your stomach. You’ll still need to eat but if you stay hydrated you’ll get hungry less. Most of the time people are actually thirsty and not so hungry. Keep a bottle of water with you at any point of time.
Keep healthy options available:
A good trick is to clear your fridge and cabinets of all unhealthy snacks and foods. Just dump them. Then plan some healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.Go shopping for the same. Bring healthy foods to work and wherever you go. Always have some fruits and nuts (not the Cadbury chocolate kind ) and other healthy options by your side. If you do this and eat when you’re hungry you’re unlikely eat the unhealthy stuff.
Maintain Log of what you eat:
This is the first thing I make my clients do when they sign up with me. This may sound difficult to those of you who hate to log stuff or who only do it for a couple days and then stop … but it’s really not that hard once you get used to it. The reason you need to log is because most people underestimate the amount of calories they’re taking in. They don’t think the sweet tea/coffee or the little snacks with it make any difference but they really do add up. Log everything that goes into your mouth, and you’ll really see how much you’re taking in. The act of maintaining a Log makes you more aware and that awareness with the mindfulness is what allows you to eat less and be healthier.
Perhaps the greatest motivator of all is allowing others or your Own Wellness Coach to see your log. That’s why, I like using Google Docs. Whatever tool you use get a partner or a small group that monitors each other’s logs and you’ll be very motivated to eat well and exercise.The simple reason is that there is someone behind your back looking at what is going into your mouth. This one thing is that makes you consciously more disciplined. Believe me this works like magic.
Allow yourself one-two cheat meal a week :
A strict diet plan is a bad one. If you are severely restricting yourself and you feel deprived of good foods you won’t last long. Trust me, I’ve tried it many times. Instead relax a little bit, giving yourself a cheat meal or two each week. You could allow yourself to cheat a little on special occasions. It’s still the best if you can go for the healthier foods on special occasions but don’t be too strict. I always make my Sunday Lunch a cheat meal and usually eat out. I don’t bother much about what I’m eating as long as it is Vegetarian.
Forgive, and move on:
If you make a mistake or cheat more than you should, don’t give up or beat yourself up. This kind of negative thinking is why people don’t stay on diets for long. They binge and then go back to their unhealthy habits. Instead just forgive yourself for any indulgences and get back to your healthy eating plan. Look forward, not backward.
Motivation is important … maybe the most important thing. Accountability (mentioned above) is the best motivator … but I’d put inspiration at a close second. Find others who are doing what you want to do. Read success stories, magazines, blogs and books. Put up a motivational poster … Do whatever it takes to get inspired. An easier option will be to follow me on my Face book page and share your success story with me and my friends. Don’t worry if too many do not respond. At least I will be there to cheer your every step towards your goals.