By Garima Gupta
“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits—anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” – Kim McMillen
Have you achieved permanent weight loss by dieting? (I am hearing a No.) Do you still start every weight loss mission with a diet plan and exercise chart? Years of data from multiple studies show that people lose weight temporarily on a diet, then regain lost weight, and end up feeling even more miserable. And then comes the worst of it all, a loss in self-esteem. You start to lose faith in yourself and you lose hope. You want to believe every new weightloss tip, yet you are already convinced that nothing will work on you. How do I know this about you? Because this is what everyone is going through. It is not you. The so-called ‘experts’ forgot to tell you that permanent weight loss comes after you have fixed broken thought patterns. It is your style of thinking that keeps taking you back to ill-health. To have a fit body, you need to have the mindset of a healthy, active, optimistic person first.
How to Lose Weight and Be Fit for Life by Changing These Thoughts
1. There was no good reason to gain weight and there should be no resistance to losing it
Think of the time you started to gain weight rapidly. Were you eating dramatically more than normal? Or showed a perplexing slide into laziness? We gain weight not because we inexplicably start to eat twice as many calories or start to bum out. In fact, I am willing to bet it was a time when you were overworked, sleeping little, eating on the go and were anxious too. You gained weight because your mind and body decided to. But it happened behind your back, in the sense that the conscious or self-aware part of the brain wasn’t involved. It wasn’t an easy project to take us to the next size but our body has many tricks that it used all at once. There was a change in our hormones and other biological signals in the brain and blood. The result of these changes was a fall in metabolic rate, so we could not burn the calories that we easily burned before. Also, food got converted to fat for long-term storage, so the same burger did not give energy to our muscles but created love-handles instead. We got an amped up craving for sweet and fatty things, so where one bite of a doughnut was enough, now we needed a doughnut and a half, of the chocolate-y kinds, to feel satisfied. It also increased lethargy so that our legs felt like anchors at the thought of a walk or jog. Since the body worked this hard to increase our weight, it resists mightily when we force it to let go of weight.
2. Trying to lose weight is like signing up for a lifetime of boring meals, hunger-pangs and body ache
The easiest way to gain weight is to eat boring meals. I know, because for six months all I cooked at home was low oil, low sugar recipes. And my husband and I both gained weight. Since we believed it was ‘healthy’ fare we ate more at every meal. Frankly, it wasn’t very satisfying even after overeating. So we snacked more. Also, the meals were uninteresting so we ate out much more than before. We must not confuse healthy food with unpalatable preparations. Nuts and seeds can be sprinkled with lime juice and black salt to be yum and healthy. Carrots and cucumbers can be peppered with your favorite seasonings or even grated and mixed with cool curd for an exciting and healthy side. Eating different varieties of rice can be more satisfying than just polished white rice every night. When you have to eat something raw, you need not replace your favorite sandwich with a bowl of green leaves. You can add greens, raw onions, diced tomatoes, mint and coriander raw to any dish you love. Add crushed peanuts and some seeds while you are at it! The idea that healthy foods are boring will make you reach for highly processed, unhealthy, fattening foods every chance you get.
3. Losing weight needs an endless supply of willpower
Who can win a daily war with appetite or cravings? That’s not how the trim ones maintain their shape. There is a better way to lose weight than fighting the body. Since we know that we gain weight deliberately (though unconsciously), it can be assumed that there are reasons that trigger this Project Size Rise. Unearth the reasons for weight gain. Work on them directly. It may be an unmet desire for more support, more appreciation or more newness. When you work directly on emotional needs, you lean less on food for comfort or excitement. With that, it becomes easier to make healthy lifestyle changes that stick.
4. If I love myself the way I am, I will never change anything and will always be fat
In truth, you need healthy meals, movement, and positive thoughts to lose weight and keep it off for life. Only when you love yourself deeply, just the way you are, do you make the choice of fresh foods, activity and energizing thoughts every single day. Taking care of our health is an act of kindness and love towards ourselves. From self-hate and loathing comes a silent feeling of wanting to harm ourselves. So we sprain an ankle on our jog, eat way too much ice-cream at a celebration or ‘forget’ to buy fresh vegetables to cook at home. We never lose weight permanently if we are punishing ourselves or rejecting who we are.
For happy, permanent, holistic weight loss what you need is not sacrifice or diet plan but greater self-love. So change these four ideas and see how your approach to weight loss shifts. Share your experience by writing to me or commenting below.