Gain from weight loss
Weight loss is within your reach, with some small lifestyle changes.
MALAYSIANS who live in urban areas eat a lot. We consume foods that are greasy, processed and high in sugar. On top of that, we eat at all the wrong times of the day. Most of what we consume is laden with calories and fat. Even what is considered a light snack actually constitutes a full meal!
As a consultant dietitian, I often hear clients complaining about their inability to lose weight. Truth be told, achieving weight loss is not impossible. For as many spirit-breaking stories about failure I hear from clients, there are also many who have successfully kept off the weight permanently. Is it a miracle only bestowed upon a select few? No, it is basic common sense. So what is it that people who have successfully lost weight know that you don’t? Here is what I know:
Change your attitude
People who successfully lose weight start with their head – by changing their overall mental attitude towards it. Instead of lamenting about what they’re missing, they focus their energy on what they’re going to gain when the weight drops. It is this attitude that validates why they are doing it in the first place. Hence, their focus is strong and never easily shaken. “More confident”, “disciplined” and “easier
Losing weight starts with changing your attitude towards than I thought!” are the phrases many of my clients use to describe the feeling of losing the first several kilos when I see them at their follow-up session. This drives them to achieve more.
Action plan: Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Label one column, “Positives of losing weight” and the other “Negatives of losing weight”. Then spend several minutes thinking about it and jotting down the reasons. There’s nothing like the power of the pen and seeing your objectives stated clearly on paper to push you towards doing something. I suggest you stick this paper some place where you can see it every day.
Do it for yourself
Dig deep to find your motivation. The whole wide world can tell you to lose the kilos, but one of the most powerful reasons you can ever find to lose weight is to do it for yourself. Many of the overweight clients I see are selfless by nature. They put everyone else first before themselves. So it’s no wonder that when it comes to their weight, it’s often the last thing they think about when they are busy taking care of everyone else’s matters.
Action plan: Time to take charge and stop letting other people rob you of what’s important to you! If there is a certain food you feel you need to eat more of to replace your usual high-fat choices, go out and buy it – even if no one else in the family eats it. When eating out with others, suggest places that you know serves the foods suitable for your new eating style, instead of letting other people dictate where to eat all the time. Lock in your time for exercise into your diary like it is an important appointment and do not cancel it unless absolutely necessary.
Pick your battles
Instead of seeing weight loss as merely a short-term measure to shed a few kilos, people who have successfully lost weight tackle smaller changes first. These are the changes that they can easily achieve and sustain. If you set your expectations too high, you may feel overwhelmed and disheartened. Over time, the small lifestyle changes you manage to sustain will bring about the permanent weight loss you ultimately want to achieve.
Action plan: Reflect on your typical day and pick one of your worst eating habits. Perhaps you eat a lot of fried foods or have too many carbonated soft drinks. Then for one week, break that habit by going without it. For example, order fruit juices instead of sodas. Challenge yourself to enjoy other beverages which you would not have thought about. You may find a healthier new favourite. The following week, choose another eating habit that can be improved on and work at it. As the weeks go by, you would have developed more good eating habits. That will work in your favour to get the weighing scale moving in the right direction.
Let your actions do the talking
In their initial zeal to start losing weight, many people make one of the biggest mistakes. They talk too much about it to everyone, only to be disheartened when family, friends and colleagues make light of it. They invite negativity before getting started on their weight loss programme, by having the pressure of expectations. Well, here’s a reality check for you – what were you expecting to hear, anyway? Not everyone out there is going to be sympathetic to your goal. Some can be downright sarcastic and discouraging, while others are probably just tired of hearing you sing the same tune over and over again – because chances are, this is not the first time they’ve heard you say you want to lose weight. If you still need to confide in someone, pick someone who is encouraging.
Action plan: Talk less, and put in more action. Focus on doing the things that will start you losing weight. And if people notice the changes in your actions, don’t try to offer them an explanation. Consider this scenario: you choose to eat noodle soup for lunch instead of your usual fast food meal combo because you know it’s lower in fat. This prompts your colleagues to snidely comment: “Why, trying to lose weight again?” Instead of justifying your decision, a wise answer from you would be: “Just feel like trying something different.”
By adopting this attitude, your effort to lose weight will be natural because it’s not something you’re constantly worried about or doing for approval. And when your colleagues start noticing that you are losing weight, you can reply: “Thank you”. – Article courtesy of Nestle Fitnesse ‘Shape Up Your Lifestyle’ n Indra Balaratnam is a consultant dietitian.
Food for thought: food and eating.