Some people need a solid plan for weight loss and the truth is, there are a lot of diets that work and are safe, when followed properly. However, they all come with limitations and not everyone is able to stay within those imposed boundaries, which is the most frequent reason diets fail to yield results. After all, if your mind doesn’t feel it’s right, your body won’t either.
The good news is, weight loss can be achieved without dieting – don’t expect it to be a walk in the park since staying at the ideal weight is a life-long commitment, not just an X days fitness challenge, diet and other short term weight loss plan or workout. That’s right, maintaining weight is pretty much a never-ending process and it’s as easy or hard as you make it.
1. Craving comes from the mind, not from the body
First of all, lets not mistake craving with hunger – the second one represents your bodily needs expressed in a physical manner. Craving tends to be caused by other factors like emotions and stress and it has nothing to do with an empty stomach. Whatever daily or long term problems we’re facing, food is always there to comfort us, offering immediate satisfaction. That’s what emotional eating is all about.
Cravings will soon go away, when you learn to deal with your problems and find a source of satisfaction other than food.
But let’s not ignore the social aspect of food cravings. I personally know a few people that whenever there’s food near them it somehow ends up in their mouths. There’s a bag of peanuts at the far end of the table, they’re going to get up, go to it, grab a handful and then come back to continue the conversation with you. Rinse and repeat until the bag is empty.
Living and/or working with someone who is constantly snacking (and even worse, offers you the foods they eat) can make it very difficult to overcome cravings and can even trigger them.
It is even harder than dealing with your own problems, simply because they are somebody else’s. If the person in question is a close friend or family member there may be something you can do to help them. Otherwise you can ask them nicely to avoid eating in front of you and if that fails all you can do is make a conscious effort to ignore their actions until it becomes a reflex.
I truly believe food cravings are the biggest problem that can make one’s weight loss efforts fail. Getting over them is certainly not easy, but acknowledging the problem is a very important step in the process.
2. Resolving your inner ‘workout dilemma’
It can be quite intimidating to see toned yogis and fitness enthusiasts, loads of workout routines, schedules…etc. for someone who just now wants to start improving their health. Maybe you’re already working out 3-5 times a week, but it only leaves you exhausted simply because in between these workouts you have a demanding job, kids, other family members, household chores, long commutes and social activities that combined drain your body of energy.
This is yet another media-powered mental barrier that can confuse and discourage a lot of people. Don’t feel obligated to do what others are doing. If you’re having a hard time getting to a gym (for whatever reason), you can always work out in the privacy of your own home. If your current workouts feel like they’re too intense, find new ones that are lighter – just do whatever works for you.
And, perhaps one of the most important aspects of physical activity that continues to be ignored is how you choose to spend your free time, especially if you have a sedentary job that involves standing up or sitting down for most of its duration.
The cold truth is, there’s no way to completely undo the damage of long periods in which you don’t or barely move – even if you workout regularly.
What you can do to slow down this destructive process is to take breaks as often as possible and perhaps do some light stretching to relax your muscles. And when it’s time to clock out don’t just go home and crash on your comfy couch. Instead, choose to be as active as possible and do whatever you enjoy that involves moving around. It can be anything from a relaxing walk in the park, to playing with your children and/or pets. Even those plain, boring household chores, or washing your car by hand are activities from which your body can reap benefits.
If you’re interested in this subject I heartily recommend you read this article – it will give you a better understanding on how important moderate daily activities can be for your overall health.
3. Think about food only when you have to
Keeping a food diary and counting calories are still supported by a lot of doctors and nutritionists. If they work for you – that’s fine! and by all means, don’t give up on them, but it’s hardly a surprise if they don’t. Both of them practically force you to think about food MORE not LESS, while you’re trying to solve your cravings, overeating and other similar issues.
In general, you should think about food when you’re making a grocery list, buying it, cooking it and eating it.
I see the expression ‘mindless eating’ used very often. It means you eat your meal but you’re not focused on the process because there’s something distracting you like the TV, having a conversation, an episode of ‘daydreaming’….etc., which can result in consuming more food than you actually need. But isn’t the opposite – thinking about food while you’re not eating it – just as bad? How is someone supposed to reach a balanced relationship with everything edible when they’re forced to think about it all the time?
If calorie counting and/or keeping a food diary failed to work for you, don’t feel obligated to keep doing them simply because others feel they’re useful.
4. Don’t drink lots of water (unless you feel like it)
There’s the old ‘8×8 rule’ – drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day – that’s said to be the golden rule of hydration. Long term dehydration is certainly not a good thing, but over the past few years water has become some sort of magical remedy that allegedly helps us shed those extra pounds, cures acne, detoxes and so on.
The myth saying most of us chronically dehydrated, because by the time we feel thirsty it’s already too late is still perpetuated by many health publications and experts. This statement is not supported by science (you can read this article to find out more about all those healing powers that are wrongfully attributed to water) and certainly not by common sense.
If our own sense of thirst is such an unreliable indicator, this would mean we’re all flawed by design, which is pretty hard to believe.
Let’s not forget about other foods and drinks you consume during the day that have a high water content. These also add to your total daily water intake and forcing a few extra glasses of water down your throat when you feel no need for them will pointlessly overwork your kidneys and dilute your stomach acid making digestion more difficult.
With all that being said, if you want to be properly hydrated pay attention to your thirst and don’t ignore it. It’s okay to drink plain water, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get your H2O from other healthy sources, like fruits, veggies, soups, tea and lemonade.
5. Organic, gluten free, vegan, low carb….isn’t this overwhelming?
Information is a double-edged sword and we certainly have plenty of it these days. The all-mighty Internet is kind enough to offer us everything we need to know about nutritional food profiles, diets, unhealthy foods, the healthiest foods, meal frequency and so on.
More often than not, one article is going to tell you some food is slowly killing you, while another will say exactly the opposite. A lot of health enthusiasts strongly recommend eating only organic foods but not everyone affords or has access to them. This can lead to an unnecessary feeling of guilt when you eat something that doesn’t comply with someone’s nutritional standards. So how can you truly harness the power of all the information that’s available, without getting mixed feelings of guilt and confusion?
Whenever you read about something that’s supposedly healthy, try to find a few alternative sources and more importantly look for articles that offer research and science backed claims.
Another useful method is doing something I like to call a negative search. For example if you’ve read an article with the title ‘Health benefits of [insertnamehere]’, try searching for ‘Is [insertnamehere] healthy?’. There are many ways you can spin the original title from positive to negative and viceversa – this is just an example to give you a general idea how to do it.
Once you gather enough information on a specific subject you’ll be able to form your own opinion on the matter and use it to your benefit.
If you check out our health and diets sections you’ll find answers to a lot of puzzling questions related to nutrition, weight loss and healthy eating but I highly recommend you search for more information about each subject on other websites because there’s no such thing as the perfect article that will tell you everything you need to know and/or is 100% correct. Nevertheless, there is a certain article written by Kriss Gunnars, editor at authoritynutrition.com, which offers a lot (and I mean that!) of information about nutrition, busting a few myths in the process.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this post is not exactly what you expected – there are no workout tips, nutritional guidelines and other similar advice to help you lose weight. You can definitely find this type of information if you choose to explore our site a bit which is why I offered some links where you can read more about some of the subjects mentioned above. Nevertheless, I felt like the psychological aspect of weight gain and the confusion that’s generated from an Internet saturated with conflicting health claims are commonly ignored problems despite the fact they are incredibly important.
Hopefully, this article can help you analyze your inner self, and find out the reasons that led you to gain too much weight and/or prevent you from losing it as well as find out viable solutions that can be applied in real life – for your own problems, not someone else’s.
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