DEAR SAGE: When I was younger, I was able to eat whatever I wanted and the weight would magically melt off! Now that I’m a little older, that magic is gone. I try everything, but I just can’t seem to lose weight and keep it off. I get sucked in by every magazine cover that promises to help you lose 10 pounds in a week. It never really works out. Please help me to get out of this weight loss merry-go-round!
DEAR DIETER: Thank you for your question! This is a huge subject of great importance…for in this life, we only have one body and our livelihood is dependent on how well we take care of it. I think the real issue here is that the focus has become on weight loss instead of having a healthy lifestyle.
So you’re right…thinking about weight loss is a lot like a merry-go-round! You will have ups and downs and feel like you’re spinning round and round, but not getting anywhere. Getting off the ride involves re-evaluating your habits and making some different decisions. Let’s begin!
Outside of any health issues that may be causing you to retain weight (it’s always wise to consult a doctor before making changes!), I think of weight scientifically: 1 pound = 3500 calories. Therefore, if you eat less unhealthy foods and exercise more, you will automatically lose weight. All of the different weight loss programs and diet/exercise tips you see on the magazine covers are just different methods of doing the same thing. The formula doesn’t change, only the method. So it becomes more important to understand how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
I think being healthy is 80% what you eat and 20% what you do. Healthy eating choices are of critical importance…and without writing a long list of what you should eat, generally, what comes directly from the earth is good for you; what’s been packaged and processed usually isn’t. So if you have a choice between an apple and canned apples…or water and soda…or fresh fish and a microwavable dinner, you’re much safe going with the first option. Getting enough protein, and eating balanced meals every three-four hours [I try for 3 larger meals with 2 snack breaks in between] makes a huge difference. Eating healthy is easier than you think and there are lots of great free references online to assist! Skipping meals slows your metabolism, so don’t starve yourself…find healthy options that keep you energized!
As for exercising, I believe the key is finding something you enjoy doing. Not everyone enjoys the gym…but there are many other options! Walking, running, and biking are more obvious free choices…but there’s also tennis, racquetball, volleyball, and basketball. While some live for yoga, pilates, dance or ballet…others can’t get enough of Crossfit, boxing, and mixed martial arts! The key is to find something you enjoy and do something active daily.
This is probably more advice than you bargained for, but hoping it gives you some starting points! If you have a cheat day, try to find a healthier substitute for what you crave [grapes and berries are nature’s candy! lightly salted popcorn beats potato chips!] and use moderation. I try to keep “bad” foods out of the house, because once you get started it can be hard to stop! Interestingly, your craving is generally satisfied with just a little bit of what you wanted.
Remember that YOUR BODY IS YOUR TEMPLE [keep the junk out!]! You DESERVE to be healthy! You don’t have to let your EMOTIONS guide your eating. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Love and light,
P.S> If you’re reading this and you have other great ideas of what’s worked for you, please feel free to leave a comment! :)