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Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan

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'If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose This Weight?'

Posted: 06/11/2012 00:00

Why is it, that even when you have a handle (most of the time) on all the other things in your life, you can't seem to get control over your weight?

And given that what you eat is probably one of the few things that you do have absolute control over, doesn't it seem even more bizarre?

I have met many clients who express absolute frustration and dismay that they just can't figure out how to lose weight.

Even the most determined, motivated woman, who is able to solve almost any problem in their work or family life, cannot seem to work out what to do when it comes to their weight.

How can this be?

The Problem

I think there are a number of reasons, but the most pertinent is that weight loss is not as simple as we would think. After all, we know that eating more makes you gain weight, so simply eating less would mean you would lose weight. But eating less is not easy.

For a start you are fighting against innate biological urges to eat. You might want to cut back on after dinner chocolates, but your body doesn't want you to.

On a societal level, we live in environments where we are surrounded by food in the form of all night supermarkets, convenience stores, and ever-present food advertising amongst other things.

On top of this, the solutions that most people turn to, diet and exercise, are simply not up to the job.

Exercise is good for you. But especially for women, as they get older, it is not enough to lose weight.

And diets don't work. You might be able to lose weight temporarily, but the weight comes back when you stop.

And so this is the problem. Most women don't know how to accomplish their goal.

So what's the answer?

The Solution

A complete change in how we think about weight loss is needed. It's not enough to delude yourself into thinking that you can starve yourself or exercise yourself to slimness. You have to understand the way the body and the mind work.

And it starts off with something as basic as your aim.

What is your aim? Let me tell you, that your aim should not be to lose weight. There is no point losing weight and then gaining it back straight away. Your aim should be to lose weight and keep it off.

And your success at losing weight and keeping it off, relies completely on whether you can change your habits. When you change your habits, you change the way you do things day to day. By changing your habits, you become a different person. You become the kind of person who manages their weight naturally.

If you don't change your habits, you won't succeed. And if you change your habits, you can't fail.

A Different Focus

Rather than simply following the next diet, make your focus on changing habits.
Or to put it another way, ask yourself: "How do I make changes in the way I do things, that I know I can live with for the rest of my life?"

It's a totally different attitude to "How fast can I get rid of this weight?"

How do you make changes to your life, that you know will last? This requires making sure that every thing you do:

  • Fits seamlessly into your life
  • Allows you to have a fun, enjoyable life

Remember, you're not just losing weight for a few weeks. You want to lose weight and keep it off for the rest of your life. It's when you keep sight of this, that you make the right decisions about how to lose weight.

For more about a behavioural approach to weight loss click here.

Also on HuffPost UK Lifestyle:

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  • How To Beat Your Inner Glutton

    Doreen Virtue, author of <em><a href="" target="_hplink">Constant Craving</a></em> offers her advice on how to resist your salt, sugar and fat cravings and stay on the right track with your diet.

  • Stave Off Chocolate Pangs With...

    "Ginger ale and soy milk are high in tyramine, which can help relieve chocolate cravings. Pekoe tea is high in chocolate's other stimulating ingredient. theobromine."

  • Eat A Satifying Sugar-Alternative

    "One reason we shun fruit during our sweet cravings is that fruit seems like a deprivation alternative. We've got to dress fruit up! Put a little flavoured, fat-free yoghurt on top. Puree the fruit with an ice cube and some ginger ale. Microwave sliced apple for two minutes at high temperature with a little bit of cinnamon and you've got a quick, low calorie apple-pie type treat."

  • Understand The Reasons Behind Your Cravings

    "If, after analysing your cravings, you discover any anger, frustration or stress, ask yourself how you might take even one step toward alleviating the source of these emotions. Is there someone you can talk to, or some changes that you can make in your life? If you reduce the source of your uncomfortable emotions, you won't need to crave sweet things anymore."

  • Beware Of 'All Or Nothing' Thinking

    If we tell our bodies that this chocolate bar or hamburger will be our last treat ever, we're more likely to binge. "It's like we're seeing a beloved person for the last time, so of course we want to spend as much time as possible with that object of affection." The key is eat all treats in moderation and if the craving get too much, seek healthier alternatives.

  • Fight Off Salty Cravings

    "Crunch on crisp vegetables dipped in low calorie, fat-free salad dressing. Instead of potato chips and french fries, go for carrot and celery sticks. Broccoli and cauliflower florets are also tasty replacements. They may not seem as appealing as the fatty versions, but the crunch and flavour will soothe your craving."

  • Treat Yourself With Non-Food Rewards

    "Sweet treats usually equal reward. We all need pats on the back and kudos for hard work. But instead of stopping at the cookie shop or take-out, why not treat yourself to a new book, item of clothing or shoes? This will feel just as satisfying and is much healthier than a fat-laden treat."


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