While losing excess weight is generally good for your health, taking off those pounds can be stressful.
Or, if you’re like many people, you check the bathroom scale each morning wondering why the numbers don’t drop down faster. You go to parties thinking about what you’ll be able to eat instead of looking forward to seeing your friends. You worry, you binge, you worry, you indulge sometimes, you regret, you re-resolve to lose weight, you stay strong…for a day, you feel guilty but there’s tomorrow…you’ll do better tomorrow. Haha!
The stress itself that you put on yourself could drive anyone to grab a bag of potato chips!!!
The pressure can come from external sources too. Your doctor may be telling you that you need to lose weight to help manage medical conditions. You may compare yourself to images you see in the media and feel like your body comes up short. Pressure, pressure, pressure!
But you can reach your weight loss goals with fewer distractions and less discomfort!
Try this process for shedding the pounds without the stress.
Make Your Choices Automatic
Making decisions requires effort, especially when you’re trying to resist something tempting for the sake of longer-term gains. By changing your environment and your thinking, you can make healthy choices automatic.
Wouldn’t some things go better if you didn’t overthink them, and you just did them?
Try these activities to form healthy new habits:
1. Exercise regularly, just do it. If you visit the gym each day after work for a few weeks, it will become difficult to do anything else with that time. Similarly, you could put your running shoes by the door to remind yourself to start each day with a jog through the park. Just do it. Move and stop thinking about anyone near you, just do the exercises you were planning on doing.
*Never fail to do something. Use the major muscle groups in your body to make exercise more efficient especially on days when you feel less motivated. Abs, back, leg exercises use a majority of muscles in your body and burn more energy. Be diligent about actually moving, and less about thinking about moving. Don’t let your brain and laziness get in the way. Have a pre-plan workout ready for you, and just move.
2. Create a shopping list. Keep candy and chips out of your pantry. Write a shopping list before you go to the market to prevent impulse purchases.
3. Drink water. We often overlook the calories we drink. Fill up on water instead of soda or alcohol.
4. Keep a log. Using a journal to track your behavior will help you to spot your personal triggers for overeating. That way, you can develop strategies and substitutes in advance. There’s a reason why scientists, professional sports teams, even advertising agencies gather data. Knowing and seeing patterns can work to your advantage.
Focus on Changes That Have the Most Impact
Would you rather spend your day thinking about your diet or being free to focus on the activities you love? If you make a few major changes to your eating habits, you can relax and devote the rest of your energy to other things.
Focus on these changes:
1. Eat more vegetables and fruit. Aim to consume at least 7 servings of vegetables and fruits each day. Have them handy and ready to eat. They’re usually low in calories and high in nutrients. Plus, they’re rich in fiber which makes you feel fuller.
2. Cut back on processed food. Much of the sugar, salt, and excess calories in your diet probably comes from packaged foods. Switch to natural whole foods whenever possible.
3. Control your portions. You can eat just about anything if you watch your serving sizes. Treat yourself to a few bites of cheese or a small croissant.
Develop Social Support
Any goal is easier to reach when you have partners on your side. Reaching out to others can even make losing weight seem fun.
These activities will bring you support:
1. Find a weight loss buddy. You probably know someone who’s trying to lose weight too. Team up so you can share encouragement, and hold each other accountable.
2. Go online. You may not have time to go away to a spa, but you can find a weight-loss community online. Discuss your experiences and learn from each other’s struggles and success.
3. Seek inspiration. You’re bound to lapse occasionally. When your motivation wanes, give yourself a boost. Talk to one of your role models or read a book by someone who lost weight or overcame a similar challenge.
4. Ask for help. Let your family and friends know what kind of assistance you need, whether it’s a ride to the gym or a few reassuring words. Be willing to help them out too.
Take the stress out of losing weight. Adopting healthy habits, targeting your efforts, and reaching out for support can make dieting more pleasant and successful. You’re more likely to reach your weight loss goals and enjoy your life while you’re shaping up.