Weight Loss is Complex.
At some point in our lives, most of us have struggled with losing or maintaining weight. If you have not, personally, it is likely that you know someone that is overweight or trying a new fad diet to help shed unwanted pounds. One of the common misconceptions is that weight loss is simple. The truth is that it can be much more complex than we think, and requires mental, emotional, and physical toughness depending on how large the task. Besides eating less calories and changing the quality of the food you eat, below are tips that will help you lose weight and keep the pounds off long term.
1. Focus on doing deep emotional work.
Weight loss is actually more mental and emotional than you think. Our bodies’ store trauma, and for many but not all people struggling with weight, it can be a physical manifestation of a buffer to the outside world because of sensitivity or past hurts. In order to lose weight and keep it off, we have to be ready to face our fears, set healthy boundaries with others, and come to the deep realization that we deserve to put ourselves first. This may take therapy, support groups, affirmations and more, but releasing emotions in a healthy way and acknowledging them can transform your self worth, and demand that the outer change begin to manifest in the form of weight loss.
2. Program and visualize new lifestyle habits.
Your mind is more powerful that you may know, and research has shown that when you visualize or practice something in our mind the body does not know the difference between the daydream and reality. In a sense our body is tethered to our unconscious mind, and if we can lead it to think new thoughts and imagine new realities we are more likely to take the steps necessary to reach our goal and eventually have that imagined reality come to pass.
3. Incorporate some form of Fasting and develop a new relationship with hunger.
Fasting has been scientifically proven to regenerate the body, increase longevity, and can have a profound effect on weight loss. The body cannot full detoxify when we continue the cycle of constantly eating. Although going a full day or two without food may be too extreme for most, in order to give your body a break you can try intermittent fasting or eating within a certain window. To get the benefits, it does not have to be extreme, it can be a ten to twelve hour window, for example eating from 8 AM to 8 PM. Research on mice showed that when two groups that were fed the same amount of calories, with one group able to eat as much as they wanted throughout the day and the other was relegated to a specific window, the group eating all day gained weight, while the mice eating within a time window lost and maintained their weight. In one human study conducted on a group of obese patients, one group had their eating restricted to an eight hour window for a 12 week period. The researchers found that body weight and systolic blood pressure decrease in the time restricted group when compared to the control group which ate at whatever time of the day they pleased. Another important benefit of fasting is it can teach us to really listen to and get acquainted with our bodies’ cues and distinguish when we are truly hungry rather than eating from boredom, negative emotion, or dehydration.
4. Key into your motivation and place visual cues in places that you can see them every day.
What motivates you? I mean what REALLY motivates you? Whether it be the sense of freedom you will have to move freely, the confidence you will gain in social situations, the new wardrobe you may purchase, you must get to the core of your why. Sometimes your why is bigger than you. Perhaps you have young kids, and you want to be alive well and ser healthy examples for them in the long term? Or perhaps everyone in your family has struggled with weight and dis-ease and you are determined to break the cycle. Hone in on how it will make you feel to achieve your goal and find an image, mantra, or visual cue that you can look at every single day. Use that to keep you motivated as your push towards your goal.
5. Work with your cravings, and not against them.
Most of us are taught to deny their cravings and diet in order to achieve weight loss. It’s important to note that not all cravings are equal. Some “cravings” are actually addictions, and we can feel as though we “Crave” certain things because we are addicted to the high we get from refined sugars, flours, or salt. On a deeper level other cravings can signal the bodies’ need for specific nutrients. When we are trying to lose weight we may have more of those “superficial cravings,” and it’s important to acknowledge them and find healthy substitutions. When we work with our cravings and substitute out harmful ingredients for whole foods, we slowly but surely retrain our taste buds to adjust to new ingredients that become as fulfilling with time, and form new habits that will help us sustain healthy choices and keep weight off long term.
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