Three Steps for Losing Weight for Good

May 20, 2014 in Foodland, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

Maintaining a healthy weight in our society is not an easy or simple decision. If you’re a busy person, this is not a news flash. If you’re desperate to lose weight, once again, you’re immediate reaction may be to run to the market and pick up some Slim Fast; or start eating the very expensive little meals out of a box; or go on any number of weird diets you may find posted on line, all of which promise that you’ll lose a jillion pounds in no time at all. These types of methods are not going to help you learn to manage eating for the long term – they don’t consider your individual needs and your lifestyle. And you can’t eat that diet’s way for the rest of your life. You know that you’ll gain the weight back when you begin to eat real food again. The short-term weight loss, rapid result promises generally lead to cyclic discouragement. Maybe it’s time to promise yourself to stop wasting your effort, your time, not to mention your money. Maybe consider some steps that will lead to losing weight for good.

  1. To begin, don’t skip the most important step – a thorough assessment of what’s going on with your lifestyle that leads to extra pounds. Commit enough time to really find out what’s leading to behaviors that make you choose poorly. Dig deep. It’s not just saying, “I can no longer eat fast food.” It is saying, “Why am I turning to fast food.” For example, if you had Greek yogurt and a banana in the house before you ran out the door in the morning, or a packet of oatmeal, sweetener and cinnamon already mixed, would you be less likely to grab a greasy biscuit breakfast?

What’s in and what’s not in your environment can be critically important to your success. If you discover that you’re eating too many sweets, is your environment stocked with them? I wrote an article back in 2011 called Will Power or Environmental Power?; you may want to review this article.

If you don’t recognize why you’re not getting enough exercise or where your trouble eating spots are, you will continue to sabotage yourself. Keeping a detailed food and exercise log can be an incredibly useful step for learning exactly what’s going on with your weight maintenance behaviors. Not only can keeping a record help you confront where calories are sneaking into your day, but it can be a real benefit in designing the changes for long-term weight management. You can use paper or try one of the apps that you can keep right on your smart phone, like MyFitnessPal.

2.  One of the most important ways to prevent hunger pangs: Don’t skip breakfast! Also, don’t allow yourself to go long periods of time without eating. One way to prevent long periods without eating something healthy and filling is, for example, to carry along a little sandwich bag with a pre-controlled amount of nuts and/or some fruit, so you won’t turn your hunger into a fast food empty calorie disaster. The protein in the nuts really helps shut down the hunger.

3.     If you truly want to create new habits that will support long-term weight management, then recognize that it’s not a single simple decision. Research tells us that making behavioral changes involves slowly learning new habits to replace old ones – it’s an actual physical change in the brain. It takes time to get the new habit securely embedded. Once you feel secure in a habit, you’re ready to move to the next goal. Don’t forget to use your records, your assessment in the decision for your next behavioral change. If you missed my series of three blogs that began this year’s approach using small steps for making lifetime changes, you may want to consider reading: An Apple a Day, A Nutty Little Change, and Whittling Away at Meat Consumption.

You may notice that I didn’t call this blog Three Easy Steps for Losing Weight for Good. I realize that creating new habits takes focus, energy and plenty of effort. But if you’re tired of the frustrating, discouraging and disappointing gain/loss cycles, maybe you’re really motivated and ready to seriously approach lasting change. You may be ready to at least discover a realistic first step for yourself by keeping records so you can make an assessment of a good place to start.