10 June, 2008

Eat to loose weight

Try to understand that whatever has contributed to you gaining weight in the past will contribute to you gaining weight today and again in the future. That is, if you don't change it. You must identify where your weakness are. For instance, you could be a "stress eater" that munches or gorges on food when life gets difficult are you a "reward eater", rewarding yourself for having a good day or accomplishing something great? Are you a boredom eater that just eats because there is nothing else to do right then? Perhaps you feel like you always must be chewing something because of nervousness. Are you a "social eater" who goes out to a rib restaurant with your friends and gorges on the main entrée but then forces down a dessert (even though you're not hungry) just because it looks good or your friends are having some?

Your first step to overcoming weight loss is to identify what the problem is. You need to identify what motivates you to eat other than normal hunger. Stress, depression, reward eating, social eating, boredom eating, nervousness, anxiety etc. all contribute in a MAJOR way to weight gain. Identify what the problem is and replace the behavior with something else. For instance, the next time you're stressed and you find yourself heading for the refrigerator say to yourself "This is stress eating, I can't do this!" Then replace the behavior with something like going for a walk or reading a book, etc.
They can't make you eat it!

Our lifestyle centers on food. How many of us use food for reasons other than fuel? Most of us eat because of reasons unrelated to hunger; it may be "time to eat," or perhaps you eat because you're anxious, depressed or stressed. Do you eat when you're bored? Do you eat because someone tells you to? Many people feel guilty if they don't eat something that a family member or friend made "especially for them." In India specially, loving is synonymous with feeding. Mother, wife, girlfriend would cook and make you eat to shower their love on you. Dating is again synonymous with going out and eating together. Watching a movie together is incomplete without popcorn and cola. It is considered that “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Why can’t we leave the EATING part alone? Dating could be jogging together in the park. Girlfriend could knit instead of cooking. Boyfriend could get a monthly membership to a gym for his girlfriend instead of a box of chocolates. On a business meeting, instead of “catching up over lunch or coffee,” you could catch up in the gym on a treadmill or bike or perhaps go trekking or biking together.

I recently read an advice column in the newspaper; it seems a friend has become the "enemy." This friend is constantly baking sweet treats for a girlfriend, who is now gaining weight! With friends like her, who needs enemies, as they say? You've all been in similar situations; a birthday party, a family celebration, a holiday dinner and the host has made all your "favorite" foods, "especially for you." You come into the situation with your resolve strong; you're going to politely refuse, and exit with your weight intact. Then you come up against an impossible obstacle, your mother, your friend, your boss… is making you eat!

How to stay strong

Maybe you're trying to take pounds off or have reached a weight that you want to stay at! Are there any people in your life that seem bent on sabotaging your success? Come up with some snappy comebacks to comments like:

"Come on, one bite won't hurt."

"It's not healthy to eat so few carbs."

"If you lose too much weight, your face will look wrinkled."

"You are looking fine now. Don't loose any more weight"

These "friends" probably aren't malicious, but they surely do need a lesson in life!

We've all heard many times

That breakfast is important right? Well, it's true! Your metabolism doesn't really kick in until you eat something in the morning! That means that you burn fewer calories in the morning and earlier afternoon hours if you don't eat breakfast. Also, don't go most of the day without eating. It is better to eat small meals every 2-3 hours during the day than it is to eat three big meals. The reasons for this are several folds. First, eating every couple of hours will stabilize your blood-sugar levels. This is very important to your metabolism being optimized and in controlling hunger. Second, the longer you go during your day without eating the fattier the foods you will crave when you do eat. Starving yourself most of the day usually results in eating junk when you finally sit down for a meal. Also, when you go most of the day without food you'll probably end up gorging on food and eating FAR more than you should have or would have otherwise. You'll be amazed at the difference you'll see on your waist if you eat 5 or 6 small meals during the day.

If weight loss is your goal then you need to take in fewer calories than you burn off. Said in reverse you simply need to burn off more calories than you consume.

You're at a restaurant with a friend and there are so many things on the menu that sound so delicious. You know you are on a disciplined eating schedule but you’re not sure if this entree or that desert fits in to your eating game plan. Don't be afraid to ask how the food is cooked. Is the meat fried or grilled? Tell the server you want a dressing 'on the side' or you want to replace the French fries with fresh vegetables. Most restaurants will go out of their way to accommodate you. Even if something that you want isn't on the menu you've got a pretty good chance of getting them to make what you want in the way that you want. Take control when eating out and don't forget to leave a nice tip for your server.
Unfortunately there is no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss. Let me illustrate what I mean with an example. Suppose you went to the gym and had a 10 minute warm up, followed by an hour of hard lifting weights, and then went for a 6 mile run on the tread mill. That would be a very good work out for 99% of us. But what if you followed that work out by driving to McDonald's and eating a quarter pounder with cheese and a fillet of fish meal (super sized of course). What do you think you just did to that great work out you had? Obviously it went down the toilet. You MUST have balance in your life. Take a regular exercise program, drinking plenty of water, and sensible eating habits and you'll find that 1 + 1 can actually equal 3!

Centuries ago when men lived in caves and tents we didn't have drive up windows. There were no drive-up windows, preservatives, fat-free, and certainly not processed foods. The majority of the foods that were available were vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Because these foods have bulk inherent to them the consumption of such foods was naturally controlled. In this new millennia we are subjected to a variety of nutrient lacking foods. Things like chips, popcorn, crackers, cake, cookies, ice cream (and on and on) have no significant physical bulk so it is easy to consume hundred of calories without the least feeling of hunger satisfaction. Eat REAL foods. Eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains and you will (by their nature) stop eating when you are full and have had enough.

Sometimes our friends and family want us to stay the same as well, and their behavior can create obstacles not easily seen nor solved. Why would someone act this way? The simplest answer is that they may actually want you to remain overweight. For example, your partner feels less threatened about rejection or abandonment as long as you're thirty pounds heavier. Or, your weight problem serves as a convenient distraction from other problems in the relationship, so there's motivation for your weight to hang around. Finally, your partner or friends may be unmotivated to address their own weight problem, and, feeling shamed by your success, do things to derail your efforts.
It's true that when we change, things change, and some of those around us may not be ready for those changes. Weight management is hard enough as it is; avoiding such people is one way to even out the battlefield.

Here's a short list of tips for handling them:
1. Tune in to your support network and identify true friends and foes.
2. Ask for what you need and don't need.
3. Limit time with others if their behavior is a hindrance.
4. Avoid those who won't change their ways.
5. Keep focused on your personal goals.
6. Seek support from others facing similar weight challenges.

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