Change. It’s such a small word, but it has big implications. The reality is it infers doing things differently, so that you get a different outcome. It’s a simple and logical concept that should be easy to implement in your life, but ironically rarely is.
And we’re coming up to that time of year when changing things in our lives traditionally comes into sharp focus. New Year, new you right? And for many millions that means the resolution to remove those tell tale signs of over indulgence and excess by losing weight.
Diet. An even smaller word, but one that is on so many people’s lips come January 1st.
If you’re overweight, the idea of losing weight is a really good one. It’s a laudable goal and I would never disparage someone for trying to do that. However, I would advise a new way of thinking about the whole process.
The truth is diets don’t work for most people. Well, let’s qualify that. They work in the beginning. Usually, in those first few weeks when the determination quotient is at its peak; the ‘I can do this’ factor is high, then the kilos start to come off. ‘This new regime is really working’ you say to yourself.
But after weeks of only eating protein and vegetables, or weeks of slurping cabbage soup, or weeks of only eating five days out of seven, or weeks of whatever fad diet you’ve chosen, those words start to change. The denial factor kicks in. The boredom factor kicks in and you attach an ‘apostrophe t’ to the word "can".
The reality for the vast majority of people when it comes to dieting is that they end up being part of a cycle that actually makes them gain weight not lose it. And this is how it works. You start off on a high by losing weight.
You carefully follow the rigid plan and you determine to exercise at least three times a week. But because the diet is an extrinsic thing you’ve super imposed over your deeply embedded eating habits, you get bored of the lack of variety and resentful at the sense of denial.
Then you rebel and start with justifications about how you "don’t care anyway" or how you are "hopeless" and have "no willpower" and accept you will always be heavy and reach for the chocolate, whilst lying on the sofa.
You end up putting on more weight than you carried before and that feeling of being defeated compounds the problem. That’s because intrinsically nothing has changed. Your thoughts and emotions about food and overeating are still the same. Logically then, to lose weight, it’s your mind you should focus on first, not your body.
Making such monumental changes in such a short period of time, for the vast majority is unsustainable. That’s why I prefer to focus on no what you can lose but what you can gain.
When you start to turn the negativity of dieting on it’s head and aim for the positives then you begin to change your mindset about the whole process. Pinning your happiness purely on the loss of body fat is clearly spurious, especially if you persistently fail to achieve your goals.
Added to which, there are plenty of unhappy thin people in the world. Happiness is something that runs much deeper than the image you see in the mirror. That’s why gaining health is a far more positive approach when it comes to changing your shape.
For a start it’s not so daunting. There’s a myriad of small but effectual changes you can make to your lifestyle that bring about transformation and the good thing is they are much easier to sustain. So maybe this year, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is a good old-fashioned health check with your medical professional.
Find out what you’re really working with to start with. So many people out there are walking around not knowing that their blood pressure is high or their cholesterol levels are creeping up.
Once you’ve found this out, you’ve got a great yardstick to measure your progress by. Because everything little thing you do to improve your health is a huge gain in terms of your future. Determining to take the stairs every day instead of the elevator, eating from smaller plates, replacing processed food with real food made from single ingredients. These things don’t require you to count calories or eat like a caveman.
They are doable, tangible, sustainable and most importantly they allow you to be successful.