As January winds down so do the gym crowds and lofty weight-loss goals. By the end of January and early February, many are left wondering, “What happened to my resolve?” The excitement and optimism of New Year’s resolutions becomes an albatross of frustration once the New Year settles in. With all of the confusing diets and weight loss plans, what’s a girl to do? Forget dieting; forget crazy exercise programs. Getting back to basics with four simple truths is all you need to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
The four truths of successful weight loss are like pieces to a puzzle, without one it will never be complete. Though diet and exercise programs promise to melt fat and get rid of unwanted (fill in the blank), somehow the only successful exercise is an exercise in futility.
After 30 years of working with thousands of women and personally maintaining a 50-pound weight loss, I know what works and what doesn’t. I understand the issues women battle because I’ve fought them myself. Most important, I know what’s missing from women’s success because I’ve seen their failures in efforts of desperation.
The following are the truths that you need to know to set you free from a life of ineffective weight loss strategies.
1. Expectations must align with reality
It is absolutely vital that you ignore commercials and magazines promising flat bellies, cellulite free legs, and 20 pounds in 20 days. No one knows your body better than you, so honor it. Be realistic with goals you set otherwise you’ll be back to square one scrambling for yet another diet. If you want to lose 50 pounds, set your goal for the first 6 months for 10 pounds. That is not only a realistic goal, it’s a realistic expectation setting you up for success.
There is a direct correlation between the work you’re willing to do and the results you get. Whether it’s your job, parenting, school, or any other sector of your life, hard work will get you to a better place only if you’re willing to do it. That’s why when you see ads for easy weight loss or machines that “guarantee results in just two minutes a day” it’s unlikely you’ll get results. You have to decide how hard you’re willing to work and the outcome from that effort will follow. It’s your best defense against failure.
2. Stop dieting
That’s right, stop dieting. Think about it for just a minute. If diets worked, obesity would be a nonexistent and weight loss programs would be out of business. Diets don’t work. The only thing that works is food education. I’ve worked for years with women who thought they were eating well, until they were educated.
A healthy weight isn’t just the result of eating less, it’s the result of enhancing the quality of the food you eat. There is a lot of terrible food out there that screw around massively with our body and weight. Therefore, go back to basics.
Rather than diet, each week focus on one positive nutrition change you’re going to make. It could be cooking one meatless meal a week, or adding an extra green to every meal. And most important, no matter how healthy the food is, portion control is still part of the healthy weight equation.
3. Eat fresh
Do your best to incorporate more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains into your daily diet. Whole grains aren’t bad for you, Cinnabons are. There’s a big difference. Stay away from fried, processed foods and limit or eliminate sugar.
4. Reasonable exercise
It’s important to make clear the reasonable part of this statement. Too many people jump into an exercise program that is not only unrealistic for their lifestyle, but unrealistic for their body. Sure, some of the high-intensity programs out there burn a ton of calories, but what about the sustainability factor? If you’re injured or simply tire of the rigorous routine, you’ll quit.
Reasonable means honoring your body and doing some type of activity on a regular basis. Walking is great, don’t dismiss it simply because running burns more calories. You have to look at the bigger picture. Running may burn more calories but if you hate it, or you get injured from it, you’ll likely quit. Find an activity you enjoy and start off with doing something just a couple of days per week. If you love it and you want to add more in, brilliant.
These four truths are just that: the truth. You don’t need to know anything else if you want to once and for all create a healthy life and body for yourself. Aren’t you worth it?