Every year, millions of people make a solemn oath to themselves to lose some weight. Sometimes after Christmas, or sometimes before their summer vacations, during which they’re aspiring to create a beach body to die for. All too often, these plans are short-lived, achieving marginal gains before they’re disposed of completely. This article should be of use to anyone familiar to the cycle of dieting and weight loss who’s looking for a more sustained route to slimness that won’t simply result in further weight gain.
End the Cycle
Your very first step, if you’re a serial dieter, is to break the cycle of dieting without consistent results. It doesn’t matter what the latest fad in the dieting world is, or the new tip that the media has unveiled, you should take a more holistic view of your weight loss objectives that are entirely divorced from extreme conventional dieting. Dieting shouldn’t be about torturing yourself through strange rules until you’re slimmer and then enjoying the results of weight loss. It’s about establishing a way of life that entails slimness naturally.
However, this isn’t to say that everything you learned when you were dieting does not apply. The basic facts about food that you should avoid and food that are okay to eat generally apply across the board, although you should be aware that the ‘fake news-o-meter’ is particularly high when it comes to sensationalizing the apparently sinister effects of most foods we eat. This leads us to our second step.
Trust the Right Advice
If you’re lifting most of your dietary advice from newspapers and magazines, it’s almost certain that you’re suffering from a deluge of over-information when it comes to the foods you should have in your shopping cart that’s neither reliable nor thorough. The best place for advice and inspiration, as ever, is with the experts: established nutritionists and health doctors, food science graduates and scientists who have studied diet as a career. This research is often complied with trustworthy health websites for easy browsing.
Once you’ve found a source of information you can trust, it’s time to make some mental (or physical!) notes concerning the types of food you should certainly cut out, those which you should cut down on, those you should introduce to yourself, and those you should ensure you’re eating regularly. This is old-school dieting in the sense that you’re tailoring all the ingredients you buy to your own health needs and objectives, instead of following sweeping and near-sighted advice that expects weight loss to be a one-size-fits-all problem.
A healthy diet is not all nuts, beans and pulses, greens and fruit. The odd burger here and there doesn’t torpedo all your hopes of losing weight. Weight loss, and healthy eating more generally, simply requires that you balance the types of food you eat so that each week you’re consuming a nice wholesome variety of vitamins and minerals that work their way through your body in productive and healthy ways. You’re allowed chips as much as you ought to be eating your greens; fats and carbohydrates are as important as any other foodstuff, so long as you enjoy them in moderation.
How to achieve balance? Some research on new meal types may be in order. Why not undertake some productive research online, or buy some new cookery books recommended by health professionals to be using a healthy variety of ingredients. You might find, in your journey towards a balanced diet, that eating healthy costs more money than the cheap freezer food and microwave meals you currently consume. It’s best seen as an investment and, if you’re truly tight for money, cutting out one of the priciest items of all from your shopping cart should take you over the line without too much extra expenditure.
The world is separated into two types of people: those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. It may sound a little too poetic and lack in substance to be useful advice, but it hits upon a truth, which is that plenty of people in the world only eat when they’re hungry, and stop when that hunger is satisfied. Everything else built around food; the Instagram pictures, the all-you-can-eat bonanzas, the midnight snacks and the indulgent popcorn bowls in the cinema, and it is extracting undue pleasure from the act of eating.
This is backed up by psychological studies, which suggest it’s the associations we make between food and pleasure, indulgence, and other stimuli that can really have an unspoken yet large effect on the weight people put on. A pertinent example is the phenomenon of ‘comfort eating’ – the act of gorging when in a sad emotional state in an effort to mask ill feelings. This association, between sadness and eating, is so negative because sadness and other such feelings naturally occur in life with some regularity, and as a result so too does overeating, especially of unhealthy foods. Breaking these associations might take some conscious effort, but it’s a part of setting far better-eating habits to achieve sustainable weight loss.
If you’re embarking on a new health regime, it’s always a good idea to visit your doctor, whose knowledge of your health record might prove important in determining the sort of new practices to include in your life. As well as providing some useful and personalized advice on the foods you should be eating, they’ll also know about all your past health problems and can recommend, for instance, that those with iron deficiency do not sacrifice those foods that provide a good amount of iron.
Finally, there are also forms of medication that doctors may prescribe to those struggling to lose weight by conventional means. Before visiting your doctors, research: What are the Best Probiotics for Weight Loss? Examine the examples and take your knowledge in with you to your doctor, who will be able to match the right probiotics to you without risking negative side-effects or ineffectiveness. Medication, your doctor may well assure you, is not a short-cut to weight loss. Instead, it’s a part of the jigsaw and still requires your effort.
You’ve been waiting to see if it emerges as a tip, and here it is: exercise is a sure way to encourage a change in your body shape that you’ll almost certainly be pleased with. Despite recent studies determining that the majority of weight loss is in fact determined by the food we eat, exercise still accounts for an incredibly important fraction of our ability to control our size, shape, and weight. It shouldn’t be sneered at in comparison to dietary advice. In truth, all diets should include exercise on a parallel track. It’s all about the conversation of foods not into fat but into muscle tone.
There are various modes of exercise that achieve various different goals. At the top end, you have extreme gym sessions, long runs, swims and cycles, and involvement in a sport which demands high levels of physical fitness. But at the more accommodating end, there are jogs, walks, light swimming and the occasional cycle. These are pleasant outdoor activities that don’t feel too much like extreme exercise but still teach our bodies to convert digesting food into muscle rather than fat. Take exercise seriously in your weight loss agenda, and you’ll be positioning yourself on an upwards trajectory towards sustained weight loss.
When we impose self-discipline on ourselves, we’re sometimes pitted against ourselves in a battle of ‘shall-I-shan’t-I’ when it comes to breaking with our healthy eating regime. Sustained weight loss requires sustained discipline, pure and simple, and your own brand of discipline should be robust enough to deny you indulgences, even when you’ve gone through a rough week and simply want to reward yourself with a tub of ice-cream or an unnecessary take-away. Don’t kid yourself that it’s just one slip up. You know that breaking a word you keep with yourself for the first time means you’ll do it again and again.
Alongside discipline (the kinder part) is a reward. Operating without a form of reward when losing weight is a little cruel to oneself, so you should always have in mind a series of rewards that will serve as inspiration when you’re tempted to break from your new and comprehensive weight loss regime. Taking an evening off in front of a film, heading out on a night out, or spending some money on new items of clothing are all pleasant ways to encourage yourself, perhaps when you hit certain weight goals, or when you’ve gone a whole week adhering perfectly to your regime. Discipline and reward work in tandem and as such you should never impose one on yourself without the other. Believe in yourself, and you’ll be able to achieve all the weight goals you set for yourself.
Sustained weight loss is that elusive part of dieting that so few people manage to achieve, regressing as they do to overeating or a lack of discipline after the summer holidays. If you’re tired of the dieting cycle, these tips should provide a basis from which you can achieve a permanent drop in weight alongside a healthier, more fulfilled lifestyle.