How many times have you made a resolution to drink more water or go on a diet to lose those pesky 10 or more pounds only to find yourself a few weeks later parched, and the number on your scale unchanged since you started. You are not unlike most people whose weight loss resolution hits a brick wall only a few weeks or months after one began. Why does this happen with such ease and frequency?
While the reasons are many and individual, the two main culprits are misunderstanding the science behind nutrition and thinking you can make a significant life style change over night. The science behind the food requires one to know what is healthy and what is not. When you have inaccurate knowledge about “healthy foods” you continue to eat foods you think are healthy but aren't. This can only lead to slow to minimal weight loss and also result in feelings of significant frustration. This alone can be the catalyst to giving up. Add to this all the fad diets: low carb, low fat, cabbage soup, blood type, grapefruit, raw foods and your head could just about spin off your neck!
It may be extremely helpful, instead of reading specific diet books, to read books on nutrition and health. This will help you to begin to understand the science behind the food. You can also enlist the help and support of a dietitian or nutritionist. Having someone who is very knowledgeable can really support your journey to wellness. Sometimes a person may have a medical condition that causes certain foods to thwart any weight loss efforts. Working with your doctor or keeping a journal to document the foods you are eating and the physical effects, if any, you experience can be extremely beneficial.
The second and most damaging culprit is the idea that you can change your long term eating habits over night from one day to the next. This is like saying that once you step foot in a foreign country, you will immediately speak and understand the language and culture with ease . Learning a new language, as with losing weight, requires motivation, education, practice and most importantly - time and patience.
Losing weight and “going on a diet” are heavily advertised as quick and easy without a realistic time line. Eat the right foods, in the right combinations, at the right times of the day and be sure to say “'no” to the yummy bagels and cream cheese in the break room at work. To make lasting and life altering changes, the job of losing weight and eating healthier foods is a journey of practice and knowledge. Diets usually don't work because the person has not made an internal change but is instead focused on the diet's list of rules. The only tool most people are given is a list of foods that are permitted, which is usually found on a page in a diet book. Pick up a few different diet books and you will probably have a few different lists. When you are not able to sustain the rules of the diet or when you are not able to lose the weight in a very short amount of time, you will most likely believe you have failed.
The tools needed to begin your weight lose journey can include reading nutrition books, reviewing food labels, researching food ingredients and listening to your body to understand how food affects you. Do you feel tired after eating a specific food or meal? Do you have an upset stomach? Although you may begin to be knowledgeable about the foods you should avoid, you may still sometimes make unhealthy food choices. Soon, however, your healthy choices will begin to outnumber your unhealthy choices and before you know it, you don't have to actively think before you reach for that healthy food. Like the person who mastered a foreign language, you too will have mastered a new way of eating. With knowledge, self-awareness, practice and time - you are on your way to a lifestyle change of healthy eating. You may even be surprised to find that a few months into your journey the number on your scale has begun to drop.
So instead of making the resolution to lose those pesky 10 or more pounds, make a resolution to begin a weight loss journey. A journey that includes learning more about nutrition and how food affects you. Resolve to slowly eliminate or replace unhealthy foods with healthier food choices. You may be surprised to find yourself a few months later reading a great nutrition book while enjoying an apple and piece of cheese instead of that soda and bag of chips you usually would be eating.