During my weight loss journey, I discovered five basic truths that are essential to sustained and permanent weight loss. Understanding these truths is vital before you begin your weight loss journey. They’ll make sense whether or not you previously tried to lose weight. They are:
Basic Truth #1: If you’re tired, hungry, or craving foods, you won’t lose weight.
There is no way you can sustain a weight loss journey (seven months in my case), if you don’t learn how to do it without being tired, hungry, and craving your favorite foods all the time. If you are constantly hungry, or have no energy during a weight loss journey, then your body is telling you you’re not doing it right. The key to successful weight loss is to discover how to still enjoy eating, while simultaneously losing weight.
Basic Truth #2: Only make lifestyle or diet changes that you can maintain forever.
The reason most diets don’t work is because they require you to make drastic, unrealistic and unsustainable changes to your diet or lifestyle. Yes, the science behind many of the commercial weight loss programs is reasonably sound, and you may lose weight, but only as long as you strictly adhere to them. The problem is that they’re nearly impossible to stick with, and even if you do, what have you learned when you’re done? Nothing! Most people go right back to living and eating as they did previously, and invariably regain the weight.
Outsourcing your weight loss to a pill or meal delivered to your door will never alter your diet and lifestyle long enough or sufficiently enough to produce permanent results. I traded the unhealthy foods that I discovered were not good for me for healthier ones that I really enjoyed eating.
That being said, I must confess that I flatly refused to give up pepperoni pizza and red wine because I was not willing to give them up forever. But I lost weight because I stuck to these Five Basic Truths.
Basic Truth #3: Listen to your body.
We potty train our children by teaching them to “listen to their bodies” and then immediately begin a lifelong program teaching them to ignore it. Have you ever had your children say, “I’m not hungry anymore,” only to tell them to finish everything on their plate? How many of us eat for emotional reasons instead of in response to true hunger? Add that to the near constant communication we receive from this hyper-connected world that tells us to eat, drink or buy the latest product Madison Avenue is hawking. Our children and young adults are their latest target audiences, and not surprisingly, are the fastest growing groups of overweight Americans.
As you slowly start to make changes in your diet and lifestyle, your body will tell you if you’re getting it right and if you’ll be able to do it forever. The best way to start is to ask, “Why am I eating this?” Are you eating because you’re hungry and need to refuel the tank? Or are you eating just because it feels good, there’s food available in a social setting, you’re bored, angry, celebrating or trying to fill an emotional void in your life? When we re-learn how to listen and understand what our bodies tell us, we begin to know when we are eating for the wrong reasons.
Basic Truth #4: Willpower and deprivation are not weight-loss tools.
We humans are so bad at self-denial that it surprises me when I see diets that are based on deprivation and the exercise of super-human willpower. Once you’ve learned the fundamentals of weight loss, you’ll never ever consider subjecting yourself to one of those diets, or even trying to use willpower or deprivation to lose weight. Self-discipline and educating yourself on the basics of nutrition and how the human body realistically works, on the other hand, are very effective weight loss tools.
Basic Truth #5: The human body was meant to move.
Oh, you just knew I was going to mention exercise. While the good news is that you don’t have to run for hours on a treadmill, you can’t just sit in front of that computer screen all day when you’re trying to achieve a healthy weight.
The human body loses weight and functions best when it is involved in some level of exertion. Think brisk walking or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Playing ball with the kids, gardening, and yes, even cleaning the house can all count as exercise. Studies show that most people who lose weight engage in moderate exercise on a regular basis. While many of us feel we could happily exist without any exercise in our lives, the reality is that without some exercise we can’t achieve a healthy weight and long-term quality of life.
Ed Boullianne, Author / Presenter “You Can’t Outsource Weight Loss”
Nominated for the Military Writers Society of America Book Award