It’s a fresh new year.
This means that everywhere all around us is the idea of new chances, and clean slates, and starting from scratch.
I keep reading articles, again and again, about how to lose weight in the New Year. How to get in shape and stay in shape.
Heck, I have written them myself.
But after talking with a friend this weekend about her difficulty losing weight, and the sadness and frustration that comes with it…I really started thinking about what it takes to make changes that you can stick with forever.
In all of the fad diets, and new plans, and even in the programs that ship food to your door, there is something missing.
Here it is: weight loss is not just about the physical, it’s about the emotional.
Anyone can start a diet. Anyone can get some sort of exercise. Anyone can pop a pill and hope for the best.
The trouble is that somehow it’s just not working. In fact, in America and many other countries, we are getting fatter instead of healthier.
I believe that any weight loss journey can only be truly successful if we take our hearts and minds into account, not just calories we consume or the numbers on a scale.
We have a relationship with food, and it’s a complicated one.
Here are a few things that I think it is important to consider when trying to lose weight…
Know Your Motivation:
Are you trying to lose weight for someone else? Are you doing it because your significant other, or a family member, or a friend has suggested that you should? Have you let the media or Hollywood convince you that all of the beautiful people must be a size 2? This may seem like okay motivation to get you started, but it will not sustain you.
ALL changes that you create in your life need to come from you, not happen because of outside influences. I once tried to lose some weight to impress someone I was dating. It worked in the very short term, but then I gave up and felt worse than before. I had not only failed my diet, but also failed to live up to the ideal that I thought someone else wanted.
Real change will come when you finally decide to do it for you, not because you feel pressured by someone else.
You Are Not Alone:
No matter what plan you embark on, it is much more difficult to succeed if you feel like you are on your own. This is why diet plans with group involvement tend to be more successful.
However, you do not need to join a paid diet group to get the support that you need. Start by enlisting and family or friends that you know you can depend on. Let them know your goals, and your roadblocks. Find someone you can call at the end of a rough day who will support you and encourage you to keep going.
If nothing else, there are many (and I mean MANY) online communities of people just like you. Places like caloriecount.com where you can join groups, ask questions, get advice, or just vent when you need to.
Know that other people are going through the same struggles as you…and know that many others have succeeded.
A big part of “knowing” how to lose weight is really getting to know yourself.
Each of us has a different relationship with food. Some of us were rewarded with it, and some were punished. For a lot of us food equates to love and to comfort.
Understanding your relationship and learning the triggers that cause you to overindulge can be a huge breakthrough in the weight loss process. If you realize that you turn to food in times of stress, or when you are feeling sad or lonely, then you can learn to address those feelings and begin to find other ways to handle your emotions rather than eating.
Be fair with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Keep your expectations realistic.
Know that with time and investment, you can lose weight.
Also, never forget that it should be as much about how you feel as how you look.