Monday, May 11, 2015

Simplifying Weight Loss – 4 Steps to Ditching the Difficulty and Embracing Ease

It’s time we rebel against dieting as a difficult, unattainable chore and begin to embrace the idea that losing weight can be a simple, easy and enjoyable process.  At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, dieting is a big money industry, so the more confused we are about which diet to follow and which pill to take, the better. The more confused we are, the more money we spend. Here’s what’s missing for me though – although spending on dieting is in the billions, we’re still overweight and frustrated, now add on broke.  Um, can I say no thank you?

When you get clear on how to embrace the simplicity, losing weight is simple, enjoyable and you can do it with ease.  I know you’re thinking there must be a catch. Here’s the thing, simple doesn’t mean easy but it also does not mean ineffective.

Here’s the magic of all of this. All of your current beliefs are made up. 

That doesn’t mean that they aren’t true for you, but it does mean that they can be challenged and changed to make it easier to reach your goals. Pause for a second and think of someone in your life that you really disagree with on some major belief you have. No amount of arguing can bring a resolution. You’ve both resolved to believe different things. Both are true for you. Beliefs are created based on a mental reaction to a sensory experience(s). We, as humans, have the need to create meaning to make sense of the world, so we create beliefs based on our sensory (key word) experiences. Sometimes these beliefs are formed in an instant: like being in a car accident and immediately and indefinitely after, believing that driving is unsafe. Others are created over a lifetime. As an example, forming the belief that dieting is hard after being continually disappointed by not reaching your goals.

Though the four steps are simple, they require commitment, ability to look inward honestly and a willingness to change your views and beliefs. If you have this willingness and pair it with a daily consistent effort, you can change your beliefs and create simplicity in losing weight.

1.      Let go of your need for instant gratification.
Forget sugar. Instant gratification is your most dangerous craving. Our minds are often a few steps ahead of our bodies. Mentally, when we decide to change our diet and start to exercise and after a week or two, having only lost three pounds, our craving for instant gratification kicks in (mainly from our training through the diet industry that weight loss can be instant, or close to) and we get disappointed, frustrated in ourselves and quit because “it’s not working anyway.”
Take a deep breath. The body doesn’t work that way. When you put the right foods into your body after years of dieting and eating the wrong stuff, it may take time to readjust. Done consistently, this will work. In fact, it’s the only thing that does. Consistency over time. You can’t rush time my dear friend.

Breathe in consistency and breathe out instant gratification. I promise, you will be just as happy to arrive at your destination a few months down the road.

2.       Make yourself and your health a priority – what is at stake of not reaching your goal

It’s really easy to not have enough time, money, information, space, energy, etc to make the changes you need to make. We are really good at thinking of all of the reasons why we can’t. Instead, think about what is at stake for you if you never reach your goal. What does that cost? Seriously, put a pen to paper and get out your calculator. What is it actually costing you to stay on the path you’re on? It could be a $4 coffee everyday – that’s $1400 a year. Maybe it’s 10 pounds a year, requiring a new wardrobe every 6 months. That’s a few thousand dollars. Pair that against a few extra dollars on groceries. Do the same thing with time. Not prioritizing yourself costs even more than doing it.

Write this on a post it and place it somewhere you’ll see it multiple times a day: “My health has to be a priority to…” and allow yourself to fill in that blank with something new each time you look at it.

3.       Why might you not want what you want – what’s at stake if you do reach your goal

This is a challenging question. Why might you not want to lose weight? Do you want to know the mother of all fears? It’s not that we will fail. It’s that we might actually succeed. What would happen if you woke up tomorrow at your goal weight? Would you know how to show up in the world as a fitter, thinner you? Would anyone or anything in your life be negatively affected? Be honest. These are the things that keep you overweight. Deep down, we fear that the things, relationships and people that are valuable to us might be lost if we actually succeed in getting what we want. Until you’re clear on that, your subconscious will craft magnificent masterpieces of self-sabotage to make sure that you don’t get there in order to protect what is valuable.

4.       Crowd out – forget deprivation, counting, massive overhauls

We have been taught that to lose weight, you need to overhaul everything to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. It’s true that if you wake up tomorrow and adopt a super healthy meal plan, you will lose weight more quickly. What is also true though, is that most of us aren’t able to sustain that for more than a few days, if that. Because you've already let go of your need for instant gratification in order to adopt permanent, pleasurable shifts, you’ll find this step to work way better for you to adjust and assimilate the changes into your lifestyle without turning it upside down in the process.

Crowding out means spending a few weeks and adding in one healthy food, or group at a time. When you’re only focusing on one or two small changes, it becomes much easier to manage. This might look like focusing on getting dark leafy greens in daily for two weeks and changing nothing else. This simple change will have a big impact on cravings, energy and digestion. When those two weeks are up, pick a new food group and do the same thing. Each time you do this, you’re building on a stable foundation and creating new permanent habits that will be easy to maintain long term.

Remember, these changes are simple, but will take repetition, commitment and consistency. Choose one each week for a month and spend time each day committing to making the shift and see how you feel at the end of the month.

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