Beach days, boating and barbecues — summertime is here. Then you pull out the shorts and swimsuits, and, lo and behold, they no longer button or fit the way they did the last time you had them on!
TV and radio constantly tell you about the latest fat burning, belly blasting, lose weight while you sleep products that will help you drop 10 pounds in the blink of an eye. How are we to know who or what is accurate?
Moms always say, “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.” The same advice applies for weight loss products and providers.
There is a healthy (and unhealthy) way to lose weight. Crash diets, unproven, untested “miracle” products and other drastic behaviors that create rapid fluctuations in weight are very damaging to your body. From increased insulin resistance, which makes weight loss progressively harder over time, to increased risk of heart disease, the short-term results are severely outweighed by the lasting negative impacts on your health.
So armed with all this medical information, what’s a girl to do? Just what you do with any other goal you set. You begin with the end in mind. What is my overall goal? When can I realistically achieve it?
With weight loss, it’s important to begin your journey knowing that you are making a lifestyle change. Once you are consistently making healthier decisions and living life through a series of optimal health behaviors, you will find yourself in a place of balance and well-being for many years to come.
However, arriving at this new lifestyle is a journey. Much like any journey, there are three key areas of focus.
Identify Your Destination
The first step is identifying your weight loss goal and believing you can achieve it. For many of us, the biggest obstacle isn’t genetics or the amount of weight we want to lose. Instead, it’s overcoming our mental state which often says, “I have failed before, I will fail this time” or “I don’t deserve to be happy and healthy.” We also have commercial “weight loss successes” in our face all day with bodies that we can’t possibly identify with. (Don’t forget. They have private chefs and personal trainers). To conquer this self-defeating attitude, arm yourself with daily affirmations.
In a quiet place, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and visualize what you want. “I want to be a size 6. I want to weigh 140 pounds. I want to be healthy. I want to feel more energy. I want to feel sexier. I want to be more successful.” Repeat your mantra five or six times during your morning shower and again in the late afternoon.
At first, this exercise may be challenging but continue to repeat your mantra. In four to six days, it will feel easier, even natural. This feeds positive thoughts to your brain, which sets positive actions in motion. Soon the picture of your destination will be clear in your mind.
Have a Plan for your Journey
As with any journey, there will be obstacles, detours and challenges. Having a plan helps ensure that you are able to stay on course and reach your destination. The same is true with your journey to living a life of health and happiness. We all know that “life happens” but with a well-constructed plan, you are setting yourself up for success from the beginning.
Once you know where you are headed with your new lifestyle, one of your first stops will probably be the grocery store. It is much easier to stay on track when you have planned your meals and purchased needed ingredients. That will really help with mood eating. You know the question, “What am I in the mood for today?” The answer is usually something that will sabotage your healthy day. When you go to the store, most of your shopping will be in the perimeter of the store. Those center aisles hold the processed food with preservatives and fat – not what we want in our new journey toward optimal health. Plan in color – a rainbow of color on your plate makes mealtime appetizing, pleasant and healthy! Planning your meals, supplemental nutrition, exercise and even reflection time will help you stay focused and moving towards your weight loss goals.
Identify Resources for Support Along the Way
We all face frustration and fear as we reach our most vulnerable moments in our path to a healthier lifestyle. It’s at these moments that our support system is the most critical and can help us return to our path. You may find support in your spouse, friends, walking/exercise groups or other social circles. When times get tough, these support systems will provide opportunities for people that care to help you stay focused and motivated.
There are also people who may think they are being of help to you when they say, “Just one bite won’t hurt” or “I read an article the other day that says it’s healthier to be overweight.” It’s during these times that we need to hit the playback button and repeat our mantra. Do not allow other people’s doubt to live in your mind. Stay strong!
Bottom line, your new lifestyle can be colorful, fun, filled with music and joy and all the things that make you smile. Just stay on course and stay strong to look better, feel better and become the best you! You won’t even cringe when it’s time to put on the swimsuit!
The Better Way to Lose Weight
The following are general tips for helping you lose weight the healthy way.
- Eat – Commit to eat at least three meals a day with a few snacks in between. Fruits, vegetables and lean proteins help arm your body with the nutrition it needs without adding impurities. Remember to choose color – red tomatoes, yellow squash and lots of green veggies – which will boost your immune system and satisfy your appetite.
- Drink Fluids – Staying hydrated is essential to your health and allowing your body to flush out the toxins as you move toward a healthier lifestyle. Anywhere from ½ gallon to 1 gallon of water per day. Many times we mistake thirst for hunger. If you are between meals and snack time, try an 8-ounce glass of water and see if you feel better.
- Supplement – Even the healthiest meal plan can benefit from supplements. B complex, magnesium, potassium, omega fats and other vitamins and minerals are all essential to keeping your body in optimal health. In the old days, our food was healthier and had more vitamins and minerals in it. Now, with all the processing that is done and the chemicals that are added, most food doesn’t have the nutritive value we need. Stay with organic as much as possible but always supplement your diet.
- Exercise Regularly – Even if it’s just a walk in the evening, regular exercise is a great way to improve your health. Start slow and work your intensity level up over time to ensure your body adjusts. Maintaining muscle mass is important in your weight loss journey. Maybe lifting weights isn’t for you but how about dancing? Remember as a teen how toned your arms and legs were from dancing? Put on some music and let the fun begin!