What comes to mind when you decide you need to lose weight? Pain? Terror? Suffering?
The 'diet mentality' emphasises the 'no pain- no gain' approach to weight loss, which makes weight loss seem painful and intimidates many people. This stops them taking action.
This is so destructive because it means that people who could be taking action on their weight, don't. Remember even losing 5% of your body weight can be beneficial for your health for people who are overweight or obese.
So rather than take the extreme, take-no-prisoners approach to weight loss, I always prefer that people stick with the basics. The truth is, you don't need to traumatise yourself to lose weight. In fact you maximise your chances of success, when you make it as easy and pleasant as possible.
So here's five things you can do right away to start losing weight.
1. Keep a food diary
This is one of the best strategies you can try. A food diary enhances your awareness of all the different food decisions you make each day. It's best to write down in the food diary as soon as you eat something, or otherwise, if you wait till the end of the day, some things get forgotten (especially snacks). And even better is if you can get someone else to look at it.
2. Remove all unnecessary food from your environment
Got a packet of chocolates sitting on your desk at work? Get rid of it. Any food that is in your line of sight, either at work or at home is a threat. If it's there it's tempting. If it's not there, you won't even think about it.
3. Cut back portion sizes by 5-10%.
You don't need to go overboard. Just make small changes. That's the essence of a behavioural approach to weight loss. So rather than removing all food from your life, just make a small cut in portions. The difficult thing with this, is in the beginning it seems like it's not enough. But trust me, it is enough. Over a few weeks, this alone will make a remarkable impact on your weight.
4. Remove one "bad" food from your life
Some people decide that when they want to lose weight that they'll remove all the "bad" foods from their life. I don't see any foods as "bad" per se. But some do have a "moreish" quality to them that makes them hard to resist once you start.
Identify one food that is like that for you, and stop eating it. You can still have all the other "bad" foods, but just avoid that one. It's much easier to remove one particular food than all of them. And this alone will make a big difference.
5. Avoid thinking about weight loss
Make the above changes and try not to think about weight loss. Don't second guess yourself. Just do the 4 things mentioned above, and go about your normal routine.
After a few weeks, weigh yourself. You will be amazed at what has happened. You will have lost weight. When you take out obsessive worries about whether this is working or not, and just stick with small changes, you will be absolutely amazed with what you can accomplish.
It's Simple But Could It Work For Me?
These five steps might seem overly simple. You might feel tempted to think that they couldn't possibly be a solution to your particular situation.
But the simplicity of this approach is its strength. It's easy to apply. It's much easier to stick with than your average diet. Give it a try and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
For more about a behavioural approach to weight loss, click here