Gain from weight loss

Weight loss is within your reach, with some small life­style changes.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By IN­DRA BALARATNAM

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.

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