How to Lose Weight

Weight loss is simple but not easy. I like to think about how when pets need to go on a diet, the instructions are to have a calorie deficit. They also encourage the pet to exercise but the calorie deficit is really all that’s needed. But how come when it comes to humans, there are all this programs, plans, rules, etc.

Lack of self control or discipline, having a negative punitive, body-hating mindset, difficulty in breaking bad habits, having too many restrictions, and other mental hurdles and obstacles can all result in weight loss failure. So, what do the successful, sustainable weight loss instructions say then? Focus on small changes, have a desire to be healthy and not focus on weight loss, and to be kind to protect and nourish your body for the long term.

There are lots of weight loss strategies. Here are my thoughts on them.

1. Calorie counting with food journal: This one aims to keep your calorie intake at a deficit and you keep track of it by counting calories and journaling everything you eat.

This one is okay for me. I tend to log a couple entries here and there and it does help me stay more mindful and cognizant of my intake but overall my diet isn’t really easy to weight and estimate true calorie. 3/5 for me.

2. No change in diet but drastically increase physical activity: This one works with lots of exercise but it means a lot of time and effort in the gym which is also exhausting. The problem is that when you exercise more, you have a natural need to also eat more so you can’t just eat everything you want.

It definitely works for me sometimes because I really love physical exercise. The real sustainable solution is to change your diet because your diet is what makes you healthy. 3/5 for me.

3. Distraction with a stress free life: This is more for the emotional eaters out there. I eat to celebrate, I eat when I feel sad or stressed, and I crave the comfort foods when I’m in a volatile state. And since comfort, processed foods are highly addictive, the quantity consumed can easily cause weight gain. I have noticed that whenever I go on vacation, I naturally lose weight. It happens every time even though I eat gelato every day in Italy. I think it’s because I’m doing so many other things on my vacation that I’m not focused on using food as comfort. I’m not using food as stress relief because I’m stress free. I am still eating for entertainment and while food may be more closer to medicine as opposed to something that is for pleasure, it is always good to have a balance and go for both. Go for a meal you will enjoy and is healthy.

This option is difficult to do unless you’re on vacation. You can learn mindfulness to achieve this option, less so distraction from weight loss goals but more so focus on the now and what nutrients you are consciously putting into your body. You can also use meditation and other stress relieving activities to lower the stress to lower the chance of binge eating or eating for comfort.

4. Restricting specific food items and food groups like sugar and/or carbs: This is the one that is like having a ketogenic diet which many people end up losing weight on a keto diet because the body is focused on burning fat, not sugar and carbs.

This one is good for you in general if you remove the sugar from your diet. Your body can only tolerate a small amount of sugar each day and beyond that, it is addictive poison for your body. Keeping your sugar intake including fruit under 11g a day is ideal. This is incredibly hard as everything has added sugars or natural sugars these days. Being cognizant and mindful is important.

5. Increase protein intake: this one aims to satisfy your hunger without too much calorie intake. Paired with the right muscle-building exercises, aka strength training, you should be able to burn fat through building muscle and eating and feeling satiated. The problem is if you are an emotional eater, you’re eating when you’re not hungry and that is the root cause of the excess calories. This would work if you’re not eating the right and too much stuff because you’re hungry.

In the end, you can try all these weight loss strategies but until you switch to a “I love my body as is and I just want to be healthy” mindset, losing weight will be hard and feel like work. If you incorporate and identify as a healthy individual, you will naturally make choices right for your body and the pounds will come off by eating whole, unprocessed foods with high protein, rich in vegetables, and little to no sugar.

 

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