Thursday, October 13, 2011

Breaking the Cycle of Gaining and Losing

Breaking the Cycle of Gaining and Losing
Are you on the third or fourth time losing a substantial amount of weight?  Or do you tend to struggle with the same 5, 10, or 20 pounds on an ongoing basis?  You are not alone.  This is a very common struggle, and one that I see all the time with clients.  One extremely important rule of thumb:  There is NO amount of exercise that will compensate for overeating or a bad diet.  But, if you don't exercise and you are constantly struggling with your weight, you will put on pounds if you stop exercising. 
So, exercise is non-negotiable.  You need to do it for numerous health reasons and also to help burn some extra calories, but what else can you do to stack the deck in your favor?
Go Gradually into the great diet beyond...
If you are losing weight at a break neck pace, for longer than your first two or three weeks, you have made changes that will be very hard to maintain over the long haul.  Whether you decided to go on a "crash" diet, or something fashionable at the time, or if you've reduced your calories by too much, you will find that your body will fight back.  Your body wants to protect it's fat stores.  If you lose too much too fast, your body will start to send signals to eat more.  You will have cravings.  Your metabolism will begin to slow down.  And this will backfire on you in the end.  Go gradually.  You know what your are supposed to do.  Eat more veggies that will fill you up and give your body the nutrients it's really craving.  Reduce your "fluffy foods"--white breads, pasta, rice, and desserts.  Be honest with yourself.
Avoid your triggers...
Are there certain foods that are addictive for you? Are there certain places you go where you are guaranteed to overeat?  Avoid them at all costs.  Yale University researchers recently found that some foods can be as addictive as drugs.  No kidding.  Is this why the peanut M&M's seems to take you over?  Later, as you view then entire super sized empty bag, you wonder what happened?  Why couldn't you stop?  I say, don't even start.
Control Emotional eating...
A study published in Obesity found that people who eat in response to emotions are more likely to regain the weight they lose.  A related study found emotional eaters don’t lose as much weight as those who don’t use food to cope.  If you are an emotional eater, try to examine your emotions before you begin to eat each meal.  If you are struggling with something or upset, try to face those emotions head on, and solve the problem directly if you can.  Talk to someone, reach out, or write your feelings down in a log.  I am a HUGE fan of logging--food, exercise, emotions--this helps you see what you are doing and why.  Be honest with yourself, no one else has to ever see what you write down.
Reward yourself...
When you are successful, reward yourself, but not with food.  Food should never be a reward if you struggle with weight.  Instead, a nice hot bath with candles and your favorite fragrance, a massage, a spa day, or new clothes are great options for rewarding yourself when you do well.
Let it go...
If you make a mistake, let it go.  The next meal is a great place to start fresh.  No, you haven't ruined the day.  No, you can't keep the mistake going indefinitely.  Each moment is a new opportunity.

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