Step 1: Ditch the Diet
The first step on this journey is to ditch the diet. You know that diets don’t help you to lose weight. If they did, there would only be one and you would only need to go on it once. But how many diets have you been on during your life? How many times have you started a diet on Monday and felt great. But, by Friday, you’re already getting bored and, after all, it is the weekend and we all know that calories don’t count at the weekend, do they?
Well, you’re probably in the grip of a diet mentality.
When you’re on a diet, you deny yourself the foods you think you want to eat and as soon as you stop the diet you go straight back to eating those foods because you haven’t addressed where the desire comes from. If you stop eating bags of chocolate buttons because you’re on a diet, you still want the buttons but you’re being ‘good’ and not eating them. You’re probably saving them to eat when you’ve reached your ideal weight. Hmmm, let’s think about that one?
You know that eating food that is natural and not made in a laboratory will make you feel good and allow the pounds to drop off. So why would you eat processed food that is full of sugar, salt and fat rather than a choosing a healthy option that probably tastes better? Because we’re surrounded by food type products that contain these ingredients and people that are eating this type of food and it feels normal. Every advert on tv is for processed food and drinks, we never see an advert for an apple on tv do we?
Listen to your body, not to your mind
You know what it’s like. You sit down with a book, ready to immerse yourself in the story and then realise that you’ve got to the end of the page but you have no idea what you’ve just read?
Or you sit down at the computer to do a bit of work but can’t seem to get started.
Because all you keep thinking about is the packet of biscuits hidden in the cupboard that you keep for ‘guests’ and you can’t concentrate on anything else because thoughts of the biscuits keeps popping up.
And, as your body gets heavier, your head gets heavy with thoughts about how awful you look, how much you hate yourself for not sticking to a diet and your self-esteem plummets.
Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Would you put up with a partner or a friend who told you the destructive, harmful things that you probably tell yourself. No! You’d get rid of them so why are you hanging on to these thoughts?
In his book, The Wisdom of your Cells, Dr Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist, describes how he placed one pleuripotential stem cell, this is a cell that can become anything when it grows up, into a Petri dish, and nourished it with cell culture medium until it divided into many genetically identical cells. Lipton then split the cells into three Petri dishes and exposed them to three different environments. The environment that includes our thoughts, beliefs and nutrition.
We forget that the thoughts we have, the voice in our head is made up! We don’t follow every thought that we have, do we? If you think about winning the lottery and what you’d do with the money it can feel very real but you know that it isn’t real. You don’t go out and attempt to buy a new car with your imagined winnings. So why, if you think about eating a cake, would you feel as if you were compelled to go out and buy a cake?
Your body wants to work properly, it’s a machine designed to work properly. Your body is designed to be healthy. It’s common for people to worry about the subcutaneous fat around their body and to never think about the visceral fat around the organs inside the body. Picture your skeleton for a minute. Once you’re fully grown, your skeleton doesn’t change size, your ribs and bones are meant to keep your organs safe and there is a small amount of visceral fat helping to cushion your organs. But now think about someone who’s obese. Think about how much fat there is around the organs, squashing them and squeezing them.
Make one small change
If you have a lot of weight to lose, the prospect can feel overwhelming. You might look at the stones you’d like to shift as a huge mountain to climb and you can’t imagine how you would ever manage it. So you don’t bother.
But how about if you looked at the process as one step. At a time. If you walk from your sofa to the kitchen, it’s unlikely you’ll get there in one stride, you’ll get from here to there in a series of steps and that’s what I’m encouraging you to do with your weight loss.
How about starting with breakfast?
What do you have for breakfast every day? Do you grab a couple of slices of toast as you run out of the door or a eat quick bowl of cereal? Have you thought about what’s in the breakfast that you’re having?
Plan and Prepare
As life gets busier, it’s become easier to pick up a packet of something from the supermarket, take something from the freezer to microwave, or order a takeaway rather than cook a meal with fresh ingredients.
You might start the day off with good intentions aiming to make today the day you eat healthier. And you might be ‘good’ all day and avoid the biscuits in the office and not have crisps with your lunch.
Make sure that these meals are easy, effortless and don’t take long to make. There isn’t anything worse than planning something in the morning that seems like far too much trouble to bother with in the evening.
Without planning and preparing you aren’t really choosing your food. Of course I choose my food you might say, no one else puts it in my mouth.
But, let’s think about how you choose your food. Do you grab a sandwich and bag of crisps or a baquette at lunchtime because that’s all the closest shop to the office sells? Or because you’re really hungry by then and think that’s what you need to fill up.
Four Weight Loss Myths
On one level, you know that diets don’t work. How many diets has the average person been on and how often has the weight stayed off after the diet has finished?
People make changes when they’re on a diet that are temporary and temporary changes don’t lead to permanent weight loss. It’s far better to find a satisfying eating plan that you can live with long term, one that satisfies you and doesn’t make you feel deprived.
You can blame your genes for your eye colour but can you blame your genes for the size of your jeans?
Well, no. Sadly not. While there are some rare genetic conditions that can cause obesity, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, there is no reason why most people cannot lose weight.
We’ve all heard of supermodels drinking coffee instead of eating, haven’t we? But using coffee as an appetite suppressant is never going to help you to lose weight. And what are you putting in to your coffee? If you’re adding milk, cream or sugar to your coffee you have to take those calories in to account. Yes, you’re probably groaning, I know all that. But have you considered that a medium Starbucks Cafe Mocha can contain 330 calories! And a sachet of instant coffee can contain anywhere up to 110 calories! What’s more, you’re still going to be hungry quicker than if you’d had something solid to eat.
The idea that a calorie is just a calorie is misleading and is potentially damaging if you think think that counting calories will cause weight loss – regardless of where the calories come from.
It’s true that all calories have the same amount of energy (4184 Joules of energy), so in that sense a calorie is a calorie. But if you have 150 calories from an apple and a 150 calories from a packet of M & M’s, are they the same?