A great article was passed along to us from a Florida newspaper the other week. Professional weight loss coach Brenda Deere discussed “10 Things to Learn before Starting a Weight Loss Journey,” and she touched upon some important points that I thought people might find helpful. Below, we summarized these ideas and added some of our own thoughts:
10 things to learn before starting a weight loss journey:
1. Losing and re-gaining weight numerous times can be detrimental to health and makes future weight loss and maintenance more difficult. This is a good point to remember because if you’ve lost weight in the past, realize that this time around the weight loss process might be quite different. Your body may respond differently due to age, hormones, stress levels, and numerous other factors that evolve over the course of time. Therefore, it’s important to be patient and try to find the best course of action for how your body is responding at this time.
2. It is actually easier to lose than to maintain weight loss. We tend to focus so much on LOSING weight that we forget to plan for keeping that weight off. Keeping it off is indeed the most difficult challenge. Consider the lifestyle habits you’re changing right now to be life-long; once you’ve “lost the weight,” those habits must stay with you.
3. You can be “overweight” and still be healthy. There is no such thing as “ideal weight”…we must find the “best weight” that we can sustain in good health while maintaining an enjoyable lifestyle.
4. You have to be “READY” to lose the weight. “Ready” means different things to different people. Think about what YOUR state of “ready” means.
5. Never use the word “DIET” because going “ON” a diet implies, even if subconsciously, that one day you will be able to go “OFF” the diet. Use the phrase “LIFESTYLE CHANGE” instead. This point is of utmost importance because unless we change our lifestyle, we have no hope of maintaining our weight loss long-term.
6. Consider the emotional issue/issues that may have led you to overeat in the first place. Mental awareness is a key factor when it comes to changing our habits.
7. Binging and emotional eating can be placed into the “addiction” category. There are many physiological responses to certain foods (i.e. sugar and starchy carbohydrates) that mimic the response to drugs and alcohol. Know that there may be a physical reason your body is driving you to crave certain foods, and trust that when you eliminate those trigger foods, the cravings will subside.
8. Many people who lose weight will still see their “old” self in the mirror. Body image is a major problem for most people, especially women. Those who have been overweight most of their lives have that image ingrained into their subconscious minds. This can sabotage long-term maintenance of weight loss, and it’s important to be aware of this phenomenon during the weight loss phase. Take the time every day to either write down or voice to yourself the positive physical and emotional changes you’re experiencing, as well as the positive physical and emotional changes that you WANT to experience as this journey continues.
9. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep, even if you aren’t “tired,” can prevent the body from letting go of weight.
10. Weigh yourself no more than once a week. Body weight fluctuates day-to-day and hour-to-hour. This is difficult for some of us because we get so used to jumping on the scale every morning, or for some people, up to 4 times a day! We must realize that fluid fluctuations can make the scale jump 3-4 pounds sometimes, and these fluid fluctuations are affected by weather, stress, salt intake, lack of sleep, illness, medication, etc.
With these ideas in mind, think about how you want to approach your weight loss journey. Know that there WILL be obstacles, but you can always get back on track if something throws you off.
You CAN achieve your goals. Never give up!
With you every step of the way,
Dr Takhar and Natalie
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