I once worked for a major weight loss organization with a lot of successful members who followed its guidelines. But the truthful statistics they never revealed to the public were that the average member started and quit the program three times before they managed to reach her goal weight and that lifetime weight loss achievement was, at that time, very low. This company became successful not just because its weight loss plan worked, but because it also didn’t work in the long run. So people keep coming back to try, try, and try again.
With all the diet plans, it can get discouraging to ferret out which one is right for you. It’s true that different personality types do better with certain weight loss programs. If you’re the social type, you’ll find success at meetings where you make friends and hear inspiring stories from others. If you’re not particularly obsessed with food, you’ll do well on a liquid diet. If you eat due to emotional issues, you might not find success on any diet until you address those emotional needs at the same time. But, all good weight loss plans share one basic, simple principle:
They require you to use more calories than you take in. It doesn’t matter if you restrict the number of calories or choose to burn them off with a lot of exercise. It doesn’t matter if you eat sweets or if you don’t eat sweets…or if you eat a lot or a little…vegetables or no vegetables...of if you eat all of your calories before six pm or after. The total caloric intake is what matters. Some plans allow free eating of vegetables because they are so low in calories that large volumes a day usually won’t exceed enough levels to gain weight. Other plans allow for high-calorie foods but only in controlled amounts.
People I know count points and calories manically to balance the number of calories in a bowl of ice cream with the number burned riding a bike for two hours. It’s too much for me, but if it works for you, great. Just remember consume fewer calories than you burn. And if you don’t want to calculate your calories or record every bite of food you eat, you can make it simple. Here is the one-two punch of weight loss:
1. Eat less or eat clean foods (ie. natural, non-processed foods) that tend to have fewer calories.
2. Move more. Not manically, just move more than you’re moving now. And make it so enjoyable that it becomes a part of your new lifestyle. Enjoy being active and eating clean. You’ll want to keep that feeling of vitality going.
If weight loss is so simple, why do people find it so hard? Weight loss, in principle, is very simple. But people gain weight for different reasons. They eat for different reasons. If we were simple machines that inserted proper nutrition without any emotion, like filling a car with a tank of gas, no one would be overweight. But we are humans and food is far more than fuel. Food celebrates and consoles us. Many of us use food as a way of self-medicating emotional injuries because of the chemicals food and eating release in our brains.
In other articles, I’ll share with your some simple ways to help your brain relearn new beliefs that will release the need to overeat.