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New Year’s resolutions are quite common and often focus on losing weight, getting more fit or swearing off certain foods. They also mostly fail. Even if people meet a certain goal of weight loss they will often completely regain the lost weight and may even gain more than they lost. Why is that?
Some of it is physiology. It is quite common for people who diet and lose weight to then go back to eating the very same way they did before the diet. They are not taking into account that the eating habits they had that made them gain weight once will do it again……every time. If you keep doing what you did, you’ll keep getting what you got. It’s simple really, but many people don’t get it. “I can’t wait until I’m off this diet so I can have beer and pizza again!”
Some of it is psychology. When we feel we’ve been deprived of something we very much want a “treat” or reward for our suffering. We may tell ourselves that it’s just this one “cheat” but it rarely stops there. One turns into many more and next thing we know we are totally off track and eating the same way we did. We then beat ourselves up, say we have no will power and that kind of thinking can lead to the attitude of “why bother” which can send us down a path of eating even more.
A lot of it has to do with sustainability. To make lasting change you have to have something you can sustain, without a lot of discomfort, or you won’t continue to do it. If you are on a reduced calorie diet and you are hungry all the time, feel deprived and miserable and don’t like the foods you are eating, you won’t stick to it. Even if you do reach a weight loss goal, you will most likely fall right back into the old eating habits that got you heavy in the first place.
Sustainability has to be looked at physically as well. A 500 calorie a day diet will get you to lose weight, yes, but if it’s not healthy for you, you won’t be able to keep it up. Your body needs certain nutrients in order to function properly. One of the reasons so many people are overweight these days is that they are actually experiencing a form of malnourishment. Processed, fast food doesn’t have the nutrition your body needs to function. When you are not getting the nutrients required you will feel hungry even when you have eaten enough. You may have that feeling that you just need a little more of something to make you feel full because you have been eating “empty calories”. Your body will keep telling you it needs something because it does. It needs vitamins, protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. It needs water. You can’t keep feeding it substandard fuel and expect it to keep running properly and looking slim. It’s funny; we would never consider putting the wrong kind of fuel in our cars. We all know they won’t work if we do that, yet we are mystified as to why our bodies don’t work properly when we feed them an unhealthy diet.
The key to lasting health and weight loss is finding a sustainable, healthy lifestyle change. You may have to start slowly. For instance, wean yourself off of soda and replace it with water. Once that becomes a habit you are comfortable with, start looking at other areas where you could improve such as adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, adding more organic foods, starting a nutritional supplement program or just taking out one unhealthy food you regularly eat and replacing it with something good for you. Take the changes one at a time and let yourself get used to them before adding another one it and you will reduce your chances of becoming overwhelmed and quitting.
Another thing to keep in mind is that being thin doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy. Good health isn’t something you can achieve with a fad diet or quick fix. It’s a series of decisions you make daily that benefit you as a whole. Think of your food as fuel and keep the quality high.