This post is a follow-up on my last blog. I know how important it is to stay motivated when trying to lose weight so I hope this article helps.
When it comes to diet, health, and exercise, we all the want the same things — to look and feel amazing, and live long, healthy lives. Such simple, clear goals, but the road to these end points isn’t always clear.
As a mom and busy entrepreneur, I wanted to lose weight without the complications of what food to eat or cook, what workouts to do and what kind of diet to follow. I’ve been bombarded with so much information nowadays, and so much of it is conflicting that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. After researching and determining the strengths and weaknesses of my diet, I was able to harness my diet powers and allowed the good to triumph over evil! Muwahahahahaha! CHE!
Seriously speaking, after 10 years of being overweight, I realized that it all starts in the mind. I’m happy to share with all of you my process and some “Pak! Ganern” wisdom for losing weight:
1. Beware of analysis paralysis. Women in general, myself included, are guilty of this!! Over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve spent browsing the internet and reading books on how to lose weight over the years and nothing materialized. In retrospect, I think it was easier for me to do the research than to reach for the dumbbells. I had more fun learning about weight-loss tips than to actually taking steps in doing it.
I know what you’re thinking: what was your light bulb moment or motivation to actually start and stay focus on your diet? My answer: I stopped thinking. I already knew the basic steps on how to lose weight and all I had to do was to start! And I did.
Pak! Ganern: Just do it!
2. Changing my mindset. Like some of you, I have tried a lot of diets and no matter what it is, I end up not reaching my goal weight. I’d be all pumped up on the first few weeks and then for some reason, I stopped being motivated and would start getting frustrated and ultimately, gain weight.
During one of my conversations with my husband Tom about my frustrations in my attempts to losing weight, he made an insightful comment: “Look, it took you so many years to gain the weight so it’s going to take some time to lose real pounds. You just have to be patient and make smart choices everyday and soon you’ll reach your goal weight.” I took his advice to heart. Everyday, since I started my diet, I chose low-calorie and healthy meals. Again, I didn’t think so much about food or being deprived, I just ate or drank what I could to lose weight and moved on.
Pak! Ganern: One low-calorie and healthy meal at a time and soon your food habits will change and ultimately, a new, healthier and fitter you!
3. Stop romanticizing food
Romanticizing food is a way of deluding myself by playing “let’s pretend.” Let’s pretend that I can change my unpleasant experience into a pleasant one through food. It is magical thinking that only tells part of the truth and leaves out the bloating, shame, guilt, listlessness, ill-health, and weight gain that comes with eating too much comfort food.
If you are in the habit of asking yourself: “What would I like to eat?” or “What taste would I like to have in my mouth?” Rather than, “What could my body could use nutritionally?” you’re romanticizing food.
Ultimately, healing my relationship with food is about withdrawing my romantic projections from it. When I did this, I was able to see the whole truth of it—all at once. Food, when used in ways that it was never intended, is a source of pain as well as pleasure. I come to see food’s primary function as meeting the nutritional needs of my body, rather than as a source of comfort or entertainment, or distraction, ultimately, I stopped suffering over food. The reward for this shift in my relationship with food is a slimmer, healthier body that is mine to keep and hopefully, for the rest of my life without worry or struggle.
Pak! Ganern: Stop thinking about food and start visualizing a fit body.
4. Start having less not none. I was not really a junk food eater, in fact, I ate healthy but I was an over-eater. I started putting less food on my plate and started putting the spoon/fork down down half way through my meal. They say, your neurons are almost forcing you to eat the whole thing because that’s what you’ve taught your brain to do. Break those neural connections by making the change. Even if you put it down half way and then pick it up again in ten minutes, you’re still starting on the road to severing that habit. My technique was to drink water before, during and after meals to make me feel full.
Pak! Ganern: Finish “weak”. This is a situation where “finishing strong” does not apply.
5. Remove temptation. Cupboards full of tempting, sweet or comfort foods can be irresistible when the going gets tough. Your new found discipline will only take you so far for so long before you either feel so good you think you’re invincible or you feel so bad that you just don’t care anymore. I don’t keep tempting foods in the house. My family supports the weakness that I have admitted to and they if they have to eat something that I can’t handle, they go outside of our house. Haha!
Pak! Ganern: What you don’t see, you don’t eat!
6. You are what you eat and whom you hang out with. Saying no to get-togethers, declining invitations to events and in general and not being with my friends were difficult because I love going to social gatherings and of course, I love being with friends. However, going to parties meant eating and drinking unnecessary calories which are the pitfalls of my weight-loss diet.
When I just stayed home and focused on other things, I slowly developed some food discipline. Hopefully, one day, when I have mastered eating and drinking moderately, I will be able to socialize and hangout with friends without downing so much calories.
Pak! Ganern: Stay “in”, fat out.
7. Meal replacement. I believe what Dr. Oz said about losing weight: “If you’re trying to lose weight the most important thing is to eat differently because you can’t exercise yourself to lower your weight however, once you lost the weight the best way to stay there is through activity.”
I started eating differently everyday and I started the day right by swapping my usual breakfast with a breakfast smoothie. I also didn’t cheat on food and ate healthy meals in small portions.
Pak! Ganern: One healthy meal at a time.
8. Enjoy life. Find something to enjoy other than food. If you don’t have any hobbies now, find some. Start painting or learning a new instrument. Join a social group. Start a movement. Looking to food for fun robs you of moments you could have spent enjoying all the many things this world has to offer. I used to argue that food is a great source of fun. Occasionally that is fine, but when food is the only kind of fun you know how to have, it will probably be very difficult to give up the foods that harm you since they are also your only source of pleasure. Find other sources of pleasure. You’ll thank yourself for it. My sources of fun while dieting were reading and watching films (without snacking). I loved it!
Pak! Ganern: Have fun (without food)!
“Be consistent and you’ll turn any health goal into an automatic (and eventually unconscious) behaviour.”
— Yuri Elkaim
Developing new habits is not easy, trust me. I’m the last person to give tips on weight-loss but after losing 22 pounds (and still shedding more fat haha!!) in four months, I can tell you that it’s doable. I’m not special and I don’t have superpowers in fact, I have very little self-control when it comes to food and drinks but slowly changing little things in my diet proved to be less pressure but MAJOR!!!
Small changes reap big rewards. Start now! It’s so worth it!
Read about my previous blog: 7 Simple Steps That Helped Me Lose Weight