Obesity is a serious problem because it begets serious and fatal diseases. Unfortunately, companies make unhealthy foods taste better by design. Like an addict, knowing all of the facts didn’t help me initially make the necessary changes. Infact, I was obese for over 20 years. Year after year my doctors would tell me “You Need to Lose Weight”. I tried different diets and fads which worked for months then life got in the way and I started eating unhealthy again.
Yes, we know now that successful and lasting weight-loss only happens when you make a Lifestyle change. Knowing what you need to do; how do you make the necessary change? Like all problems, you need to first identify the root cause. I can point out many reasons why my weight-loss was finally successful but the one thing that made the difference was identifying my triggers. Losing weight is wonderful but if you don’t deal with why or how you became obese you may never overcome obesity.
Consequently, discovering your triggers may be problematic. I know I never wanted to give up the foods I loved and it always seemed like an uphill battle because I am a food addict, I love the taste of good foods, and I am an emotional eater. What is so difficult about overcoming all of my struggles is you need food to survive. Food addiction is not like drugs or alcohol or even smoking. Getting help for those vices are typically covered under a medical plan, there are non-profit helps groups, and society recognizes them as diseases. You can stop using drugs, drinking alcohol, or smoking and still continue to live. But you cannot stop eating food and survive.
Once you discover your triggers you then have to get rid of the excuses. I know there are many reason why you live an unhealthy life but if is up to you remove all obstacles in your way. It took me years to slowly remove my excuses and boy did I have them. Knowing why I eat and removing all the reason why I “couldn’t” put me in the “right mindset” to finally make that change and execute my weight-loss Plan.
If you have discovered, like I have, successful and lasting weight-loss is not the short-term, fast and restrictive diet we all love to hate but strive for and fail. Weight-loss needs to be a Lifestyle Change but what does “Lifestyle” change really mean? Does it mean you have to get rid of your all your favorite foods, desserts, and drinks? Does it mean you have to get off the couch and join a gym? The short answer… NO
No you don’t have to give up your favorites; shocking? I bet it is but no you don’t have to give up what you love but you do have to modify it. Depending on your goals you may either have to reduce the amount or change the way you eat food. Unfortunately, it may be healthier for you to get rid of that favorite brownie or crispy fried chicken but there are millions of healthy alternatives. It truly boils down to choices. For instance, the calories in one brownie can be over 200 calories and 10 grams of fat. To reduce your calories you can cut that brownie into twos or fours and have it over two or four days. This can help with cravings if you just have to have it. Instead of that crispy fried chicken, try grilling it, baking it with bran flakes, or simply frying it with healthier options and limiting how many pieces you eat. If healthier is your goal drink more water and make fruits and veggies the main ingredients of your meals.
No you don’t have to join a gym. Getting fit can include anything that gets you moving and increases your heart rate. My personal favorite is walking but if you can’t or just don’t want to walk you can do housework, yard-work, dance (even in your chair), skate, skip, etc.. You just have to get moving and once you get started your endurance will increase and you may want to start doing more.
Nutrition and Fitness
With weight-loss and weight maintenance fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand. To reach your goal, the key is learning how to balance the two. A lot of studies suggest strategies such as Calorie in VS calorie out. But for every report you read there may be 10 other reports that discredit that report. Who or what can you believe? You can ask your Doctor, maybe he/she knows or can refer you. If you can’t talk to a doctor, research what is the best plan for you. I can’t tell or suggest a plan because I am still learning and what worked for me might not work for you; which is so maddening. But I do suggest to start monitoring your food and modifying your calorie intake. Clearly if you are overweight or obese what you are currently eating is not the key. So try limiting the amount of food you eat. Instead of drinking four cans of soda try drinking one and drink more water instead. Adopt a fitness plan that will be easy to adjust and maintain.
Don’t panic.. There are tools that will help you establish a plan.
I successfully use Sparkpeople. Sparkpeople lets you track and monitor your food, exercise and goals. There are also teams and communities you can use for support. MyfitnessPal is another website like Sparkpeople and there are many others; you just have to pick the plan that works for you.
Wearables: Activity trackers
There are several wearables available. I use a Fitbit Surge. What is great about Fitbit is that it tracks your steps and monitors your heart-rate (useful during exercise). Another cool feature to Fitbit are the FitBit Challenges. You can challenge other Fitbit users to Daily, Workweek, or Weekend challenges. I won countless workweek challenges by increasing my steps which in turn assisted in my health and fitness.
Programs and Trainers:
I joined a program and hired a trainer but there are plenty of resources you can utilize to assist with your weight-loss. The key to remember when deciding if you want to join a program is you need to ask the important questions: Will this help me lose weight safely? Does this plan involve changing my lifestyle? Does this plan recommend fitness? Can I maintain this plan for life-time weight management?
The concept of weight-loss seems simple enough, however; it is the hardest thing I have ever accomplished. I have started and stopped “diets” hundreds of times. I remember starting my first low-calorie diet when I was 16 years old. Consequently, the problem with that diet and every other diet is the weight-loss is temporary. I never established a long-term plan for weight-loss. I finally realized losing weight is only the first stage in weight-loss, in fact, losing the weight is only half of the battle. The other half is maintenance.
Realizing diets don’t work and developing a long-term plan is not as easy as it sounds; especially, if your goal was to lose weight quickly. In addition, TV shows like The Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight-loss are so attractive because you get professional help developing a weight-loss plan and losing weight. In some instances you even get prizes while doing it. Yes the shows are great motivators; they did it why can’t you. But Let’s face it, what are your chances of getting on one of those shows? Who has the time or can afford to take off work for months, travel to a location, and only focus on losing weight. While these shows are great motivations and they teach real life lessons, you need a plan that works for you.
- Establish a method for losing the weight.
- Set-up a support team
- Establish a maintenance plan
My plan involved enrolling in a medically monitored Weight-loss program. The reason I chose this program was because it was the best of both worlds; in the first few months you could lose weight quickly but you transition into a life-time plan. I think losing weight quickly is a secret goal for many obese people like me and it is so hard to dismiss. The plan required me to make a lifelong lifestyle change, taught me about nutrition, and assisted me with setting up the maintenance plan. During the active phase (16 weeks of meal replacements) I identified my triggers and developed better ways to handle “emotional” situations. This phase allowed me to make the necessary adjustments before reintroducing food.
Setting up a support team was easy for me. My husband and I both joined the program together so that is my core. If you can find a buddy to partner with it will increase your chances for continuous success. My extended team is my Kaiser class-members, family, friends my personal trainer, and my co-workers. I included my co-workers because they can unintentionally sabotage you by offering you treats and sweets. If they know they will either help you or hinder you. It is very important to have the right support team. You cannot afford to have anyone around you that will sabotage you.
Establishing a maintenance plan began as soon as I started the program. I removed all of the food in the house; threw away all of the take-out menus; joined a gym, bought a FitBit, and hired a personal trainer. I developed healthy habits and routines that would sustain my weight-loss. Some of these habits include planning my day. If I am going out, I make sure to pack healthy snacks. If I am going to eat out, I try to review the menu before I go. My husband and I go hiking, walking, or ride our bikes on the weekends. When we travel we make sure we will have access to a gym or nature trail.
Weigh-loss can be a lifetime struggle but with a plan and support you can successfully overcome each and every hurdle. If you fall or cheat don’t beat yourself up just brush yourself off and start anew. Set attainable short-term and long-term goals to assist with monitoring and measuring your progress. Get help when you need it.