How to lose weight without trying to lose weight!
For the past several months I’ve been practicing a health and fitness program of my own design that has profoundly affected my well-being, including my mood, energy level, confidence, and yes, my weight. It hasn’t always been this way. I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds over the years and have gone from practicing near-vegetarianism to eating McDonald’s three times a week and back again. I’ve gone from running a half marathon to not even being able to run a half mile. I’ve let the devastation from life’s little traumas render me incapable of exercise and instead seeking solace in a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. I’ve chosen food to comfort me during the difficult times because I felt I had no one to turn to. I’ve let the fact that I don’t “have anyone” in my life produce a why-bother attitude since there’s no one to be healthy and fit for. But just like every other aspect of our single-girl lives, WE are the ones that we need to be healthy and fit for!
Getting healthy for YOU!
If you’re a yo-yo dieting single girl like I used to be, here’s how your adult life has probably gone. You start dating someone new and exciting, and you immediately lose 20 lbs because you forget to eat while your head is filled only with thoughts of him, not of actual meals. As you settle into the relationship your rate of weight loss starts to slow down, especially when you realize that he wants to see you naked whether your thighs are perfect or not. You also spend a lot of time going out to eat together, but not a whole lot of time working out together, except in the bedroom. Your weight loss stagnates and you may even put on a few pounds from all the eating out coupled with how comfortable you are with the love of your life. Then the relationship starts to sour a little and your clothes start to get a little tighter. By the time you break up you’ve put back on that 20 lbs, plus 10 more. And now for the post-breakup depression, characterized by tubs of ice cream in the freezer and your Chipotle rewards card getting more of a workout than you do. Here come 20 more lbs! Now you’re fat and alone and no one loves you except the people at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru. Do we see the vicious cycle here? When we’re single it’s easy to “let ourselves go,” so to speak, because there’s no one else looking at us and picturing us in a thong. This type of thinking does not go along with the loving-yourself-and-living-for-yourself mantra that I live by, however, so I’m going to show you how to get out of this thinking and start living a healthy lifestyle for you and only you.
It’s about diet, not GOING ON A diet
Rather than talk about specifically what to eat or how much, I’m going to be a bit more general. Everyone is different. Everyone has different calorie needs. Everyone likes different things. Everyone believes different research about what is the healthiest way to eat. Some people believe in a low fat diet. Some people consume no animal products. Some people believe that cutting out carbs is the key. I think these people are crazy, but what do I know? I’ll tell you what I know: you must interpret the vast array of nutrition research out there the best you can and find something that works for you. I took a nutrition class in college and there was a textbook that went along with it. The author of this textbook proclaimed that the healthiest way to eat was unprocessed, whole foods in a certain balance. Your plate was supposed to contain half fruits and veggies, a quarter protein and a quarter carbs. Is any of this sounding familiar? It was over 30 years ago that this textbook was written, but the premise of the book is the same one that the plant-based proponents use today. And the plant-based movement is on the rise to take over for the meat-based movement.
Whichever eating plan you decide to follow, it needs to be something that you can do long-term. Eating lots of meat and no carbs is probably not sustainable and is likely not that healthy. Eating very little fat and lots of refined carbs falls into the same category. Some basic principles apply no matter what. Meat should be lean, carbs should be whole grain, dairy should be low-fat, and plant-based fats are good for you in moderation. Sugar from fruit is also good for you in moderation, but refined sugar doesn’t do you any good and should be limited. Alcohol is okay in moderation, too. Salt should be limited. Vegetables are the superstars of nutrition ass-kickery. I think most people out there would agree with these statements, but if you don’t then that’s okay, too. The key is that you do the best you can and find something that works for you long-term.
Why does it need to work long-term? Why can’t you just go on a high protein diet, lose some weight, and then go back to eating the way you are now? Because if you’ve ever tried this, or any other diet for that matter, this approach doesn’t work. You lose weight because you’re cutting calories and you’ve increased your metabolism with exercise, but as soon as you go back to consuming the amount of calories you consume now and you stop exercising, all that weight is going to creep back on. It’s much easier to find something that you can do for the rest of your life and just start living that way without having to put much thought into it ever again. And if you don’t need to lose weight, but just need to healthen up, then this applies to you, too. You need to choose a plan that’s sustainable for you, and that you’re going to be happy with for the rest of your life.
So, what’s the plan?
There’s only just so much exercise you’re willing to do and just so little you’re willing to eat. Be realistic, remember it’s about your health, and put a plan together for yourself. Your plan should include healthy eating AND exercise, but shouldn’t cut out anything entirely. If you love donuts then have a donut once in a while, but maybe once a month instead of several times a week. If you do need to lose weight then there’s one more thing you need to do after you’ve put together your plan. You need to change your thinking about healthy eating and exercise. Eating right and exercise are about your health, not your weight, even if you need to lose weight. You are not executing your plan with the intent of losing weight, you’re executing your plan with the intent of being healthy. The weight loss will come as a delightful bonus. So, put the scale away and just focus on your health. Did I stick to my plan and eat healthy today? Were my portion sizes adequate, meaning neither too small nor too large? Did I work out for at least 30 minutes today? If you answer yes to these questions then that’s your gauge of how well you’re doing, not the scale. It’s okay to weigh yourself when you first start down your path of healthy living and it’s okay to check in every couple weeks to a month to see how much progress you’re making, but being glued to the scale every day is not something that’s going to help you.
Another thing to remember as you’re putting your healthy eating and exercise plan together for yourself is that you have to actually like what you’re eating and you have to enjoy what you’re doing for your workouts. If you hate chicken breasts and broccoli then don’t eat chicken breasts and broccoli, no matter how healthy you think they are. Find the healthy foods that you do like and eat those. When you plan out your meals for the week, make sure everything on your plan is something you’re excited to eat. You’d be surprised how many healthy foods there are that you actually enjoy eating just as much as junk food. Same goes for the exercise. If the thought of running makes you want to put a bullet in your head, then don’t run! Seems like a no-brainer, but people will do what they think is good for them regardless of how much they hate it, and how long do you think that will last? If you like to walk, then walk. If you like to ride your bike, then do that. It doesn’t really matter what you do for exercise as long as you get your heart rate up there and give your muscles something to be proud of.
You CAN do this!
Everyone can get healthy following this plan. It’s custom tailored to you, by you, so it’s gotta work, right? I’ve been on my plan for more than two months and I have more energy, better mood, increased flexibility, less pain, better sleep, and I’ve never felt hungry or deprived in the food department. Oh yeah, and I’ve lost more than 10 lbs. Funny, I wasn’t even trying!
I help single women get from where they are to where they want to be by overcoming their sadness and starting to live their best lives through mindset and lifestyle changes. Contact me to learn how it’s possible to live a single, blissful life.
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