When you are overweight, you tax your body and vital organs. The strain tires you out and causes fatigue. Feeling overweight can also be emotionally depressing.
Over the last six months or so, I have managed to lose 10 kilograms. It was hard work … but I feel so much better and have so much more energy. As I was carrying in the groceries the other day, Nicole pointed out that the bag of oranges I was carrying was 3 kilograms. I was shocked to realize that I had been carrying around the equivalent to 3 of these bags every day. No wonder I was more tired then.
Losing weight starts with a decision of the will (what you tolerate you will never change) but it takes much more than that. Willpower alone is not enough to change strong ingrained habits.
Human energy expert, Tony Schwarz says, “Will and discipline are wildly over-rated. Even when the need for change is obvious and our intentions are strong, we often fall short. Making change that lasts requires building positive rituals – highly specific behaviours that become automatic over time and no longer require conscious attention … We are creatures of habit. 98% of our behaviour occur automatically, unconsciously or in reaction to an eternal demand … resistance to making change is built into the process, and long-term success requires addressing the reasons we don’t want to make any given change.” [This quote and some of the statistics and tips below are from his recent book Change Anything]
- 98% of people fail to keep resolutions to change their bad habits.
- Americans spent forty billion dollars a year on diets, but 19 out of 20 people lose nothing but their money.
- Only 1 in 20 dieters with a history of obesity are able to lose weight and keep it off for 1 or more years.
- A group of Stanford scholars examined the four most popular weight-loss programs in the USA to see what works and what doesn’t. They discovered that ALL of the programs worked, IF people used them … but people rarely used them. ALL popular diets work – but only for people who stick with them, and pretty much nobody does. ANY approach that causes you to eat less and exercise more will lead to weight loss and improved fitness. They work only if you keep them up.
We need some practical strategies. Here are a few that I have found helpful:
1. Create a healthy living plan you can live with – forever. Diets don’t work. Find a way to enjoy both the food you eat and the exercise you choose, or you won’t stay with it in the long haul.
2. Identity your crucial moments (times, places, people, moods).
3. Create new behaviours. Put off and put on. Create alternative healthy choices and options (mandarins instead of chocolates!). Run from temptation. Distance is important – it affects behaviour. Keep good things close and convenient and bad things distant and difficult. Eat less – use a smaller plate. People with large plates eat 70% more and they usually aren’t even aware of it. Our physical world affects our behaviour.
4. Enlist the support of family and friends. Accountability really helps. I also made use of an application for my phone where I recorded everything I ate every day over this time, endeavouring to keep within a certain amount of calories each day. Click here to access the one I use. There are many similar good ones on the market.
5. Learn from your failures. Turn bad days into good data.
Do you want to lose some weight? Make a decision then adopt some strategies that work for you. Pray for God's help and you'll be well on your way to being lighter and feeling much better as a result.