Trying to lose weight can be frustrating! It’s especially frustrating when you work hard, feel like you’re suffering and sacrificing everything you love, and you lose some weight, feeling super happy about all that, but then you start to gain it back, and your happiness is sucked right out of ya and you feel like a failure. Depression kicks in and the binge eating begins! This is what I call an “emotional roller-coaster ride.” Who the hell wants to go on a ride like that? Yuck!
Studies claim that 80 – 97% of dieters actually regain all their weight back, plus some, within two to three years (read more here). Taking a bat and smashing the guts out of your scale could make you feel better, for the time being, but I have a better suggestion on how to go about all this. Instead of going on a “diet”, put emphasis on making healthy lifestyle changes, one step at a time. Forming healthy habits will not only help you lose weight but keep it off, forever. Diets suck! Lifestyle changes give lifetime results! But before you begin making healthy lifestyle changes to lose weight, there are two big things you should know:
First, have lots of patience and do lots of practice! Pick ONE thing to work on and practice that for as long as it takes you to get it right. For example, do you eat chocolate bars as snacks? Try replacing that with your favourite fruit and 3-4 organic dark chocolate covered almonds instead. (Yes, I referred to chocolate as a healthy snack for weight loss! Yes, it’s a real thing!)
Second, get it out of your head that you want to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time. It’s unrealistic! Don’t be fooled by weight loss scams. If you read the article in the link above, you’ll learn that losing weight super fast doesn’t mean you’re losing all fat. Most likely a good junk of it is muscle. A healthy lifestyle change to lose weight will help you burn more body fat while preserving precious muscle, which is not only more effective for permanent weight loss but helps to keep your immune system healthy too.
So, let’s get on with the it! Here are 10 lifestyle changes for permanent weight loss:
1. TAKE CONTROL!
If you eat too much, doesn’t matter how healthy it is, you won’t lose weight. Learn what a proper portion size is so you can control how much you eat. Don’t be scared to leave food on your plate either. I know some people struggle with this, especially knowing there are people starving in this world, but eating everything on your plate does absolute nothing to help feed others.
2. EAT LIKE A FARMER!
When I say “eat like a farmer” I mean like back in the day, before all the commercialized crap food that is available now, and when the majority of the farms raised their animals and grew their gardens in responsible ways. Go for whole foods, locally grown or raised, in season when they are fresh. In other words, “eat whole, live, and local.” Let’s get back to nature!
3. SKIP A MEAL!
Our bodies are very complex and every single day requires a unique amount of energy based on numerous factors. Some days you don’t need a lot of food. Other days you need more. Learning how to read your body based on energy requirements from daily living is a definite asset to weight loss and keeping it off. If you have a day where you don’t feel like eating 3 meals, then don’t. Skipping a meal from time to time will not damage you, and in fact, it can help keep your calorie cup from overflowing at the end of a week.
4. MOVE OFTEN!
Move your ass everyday, even if it’s only 5 minutes of stretching. Avoid sitting for long periods whenever possible. Moving is a key factor to your overall health and weight loss. If you think five minutes of walking or stretching won’t make a difference, think again. It all adds up!
Sleep helps you to reset, rebuild, and restore. It’s also anti-aging and helps to balance hormones. In general, about 7 – 8 hours is recommended. To prepare for bed, get in your jammies and shut down all devices such as the TV, computer, phone, etc. about 30 minutes before bed. Read a book, take a bath, or meditate. A healthy bedtime regime and getting your sleep is important to weight loss and keeping it off.
6. SET GOALS!
This is a huge one! Always have a goal on the go. It will help to keep you motivated. Be sure to consider everything that’s on your plate and know what’s involved in achieving the goal. Some people set goals that are “dreamy” and don’t realize what’s involved to achieve it. Then when they go to do the work, they fail as they didn’t foresee all that they would have to to do. Goals don’t have to be big. All goals count, big or small, and they are all equally important because they help change you in positive ways. Whatever you decide to do, track it so you can see progress. A very efficient and less time consuming way to track your progress is to buy a fitness monitor. These gadgets are becoming very popular, mostly because they are easy to use and give instant feedback! Humans love easy and instant!
7. EXERCISE ON EMPTY!
You don’t need to stock up on a bunch of calories before you do a workout, unless you plan to do 100 km bike ride, and even then you wouldn’t overload as you can eat while you ride. To digest food, you need increased blood flow to the digestive system. To workout, you need increased blood flow to the working muscles. As you can see, eating a meal and then working out will create a battle for blood inside your body. Who will win? Your gut will, and soon you’ll be backing up what you ate into your mouth = no fun! Give yourself at least 2 hours digestion time before you workout, and even longer for bigger and heavier meals. Your workout will be more pleasurable, you’ll have better energy, and you’ll burn more calories.
8. GO FOR LIFE!
To lose weight and keep it off permanently requires you to also make permanent changes, so your head has to be in it, for life! Some people give up to easily, mostly because they are simply taking the wrong path. There is no need to rush the change. You want to avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Slow down and give yourself time. Find a way to make the journey meaningful to you. The more enjoyable the experience, the more likely you are to stick with it. Know that it is a lifetime learning process and look at it as a healthy adventure to building a happier you!
9. MIX IT UP!
To lose weight and change your body composition means you have to be willing to mix things up. A walk at 60% heart rate for 30-60 minutes a day is not going to cut it. You have to be willing to sweat, to pant, to feel the burn. So when you go walking, throw in a few big hills, and charge up them. On the other hand, you don’t have to go hard for every single workout, and you shouldn’t. There is a lot of emphasis being placed on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training, promoting it as the best way to lose weight. While it’s a fantastic, short, and efficient way to workout for weight loss, doing it all the time can lead to over-training, burnout, and increased rates of injury, especially if you are a beginner and especially if you are doing the exact same movements over and over again (RSI – repetitive stress injury). Therefore, I suggest you mix up your intensities between high and low as well as mix up the type of movements you do. For example, you could do one day hard, one day easy. You could include heavy weightlifting, restorative yoga, and cycling at various intensities as part of your weekly routine. Variety, it is the spice of life!
10. MAKE IT YOURS!
Do fun things and eat yummy food. This will be unique to you! I can’t stress enough about how crucial this is because you have to love what you’re doing and eating if you want to do it for the rest of your life. Right? Just because people are running marathons doesn’t mean you have to do it to be fit. Just because chia seeds are being marketed as a power food doesn’t mean you have to eat it to be healthy. There are a gazillion different ways to become fit and healthy. Experiment! Find what you love – Do it! Eat it! Make it yours! This will be the ultimate key to your success in losing weight and keeping it off, for life!
There! That’s 10 lifestyle changes for permanent weight loss. It doesn’t have to be about about suffering through some brutal fitness class and starving yourself in efforts to try and lose 10 pounds in two weeks. It’s about making meaningful connections to your dream goals, to your health, and to your life. Reflect on the change, recognize your accomplishments, and be mindful about your choices. It’s about developing YOUR unique healthy lifestyle, and that takes lots of patience and lots of practice.
Make your change happen, one step at a time!