It’s nothing new that millions of people struggle with weight issues. Especially now, it feels like everyone is on some sort of a weight loss plan, yet those people never really see results. At least not permanent results… In fact statistics show that at the moment 70% of Americans are trying to lose weight.
These statistics would suggest that despite the millions of weight loss plans, there is still a huge disconnect between actually achieving sustainable weight loss. Sometimes it has me wondering whether the diet industry is designed to keep people coming back after regaining all the weight. Never do they ever actually go through a lifestyle change, or some concrete education on the topic of nutrition. I know I’m generalizing here, but for the most part that holds true.
Another issue is that most people I come across associate healthy eating with restrictions or bland foods. This is especially present with heavy “meat-eaters” who show a lot of resistance to plants, and continue to believe that animal tissue is the only source of energy (which is a total myth if you ask me).
We need to shift our mindset, and be open to the fact that eating healthy can be quite enjoyable, and that if we incorporate more plants into our diet, we won’t be hungry or starving at the end of the day. We also will get enough protein! LOL I will get into that in another post, but I want to leave you with some food for thought today about what it means to eat healthy, and how to achieve ideal weight without the struggle.
Below are some some quick tips for you to get unstuck and start making real progress when it comes to reaching your fitness goals:
1. Eat enough food.
Many only focus on calorie counting which often leads to the development of nutritional deficiencies, becoming malnourished, and most of the time results in more weight gain over time. Instead of restricting yourself from eating, pay attention to choosing real, unprocessed foods that come from mother nature such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and ethically raised meats & fish. They are naturally lower in calories and provide a healthy dose of fiber, protein, and good fats that will help fill you up.
Another point to mention is an interesting theory I’ve come across (which totally makes sense) that hypothesizes that the more we starve our body, the more it goes into “survival mode” and resists giving up fat tissue. It’s as if the body knows you’re trying to deprive it of the most basic physiological need to eat, and fights back. Relax instead, and focus on filling yourself up with real food. Which leads me to #2…
2. Make healthier substitutions.
Losing weight doesn’t mean you have to cut out all food groups. There are plenty of nutritious choices that can still satisfy your appetite and taste buds.
If you enjoy ice-cream, don’t dwell on the fact that you can’t indulge in it anymore. Try making a healthier substitution instead by blending a frozen banana with a splash of unsweetened almond milk. If you want to get creative, add some cacao powder for chocolate flavored banana ice-cream, or a spoon of peanut butter. And voilà, healthy (dairy-free) ice-cream!
Or instead of saying “I can’t have mayo anymore”, focus on how awesome it will be to switch it out for creamy avocado which you can use as a sandwich spread.
The chart below from Pretty Muddy is an excellent example of healthier swaps:
3. Remember that food is your friend, not enemy!
Remember that food can be enjoyed every single day without guilt or calorie counting. The key is choosing real, whole foods as close as possible to their natural state. Think of foods that don’t have bar codes or labels, or don’t come from a processing plant.
Like one of my favorite authors Michael Pollan wrote in the book Food Rules:
“If it came from a plant eat it, if it was made in a plant, don’t”.
Doesn’t get any simpler that that.
The way I see it is, the more ingredients that I can’t recognize, the less of a whole food it is. Food is food, you shouldn’t have to decipher what’s in it. Period.
4. Surround yourself with people who can push you forward.
Have you ever heard the saying that you become like the five people you hang out with the most? So if those people are bringing you down or stand in the way of your fitness goals, it may be time to make some new friends.
It wouldn’t also be a bad idea to hire a professional to guide you through the process can save a ton of time and money down the road. Trying to lose weight without a plan or a sense of direction of where you’re going can feel pretty daunting. A mentor who looks over you is like having a personal GPS that will guide you to your ultimate destination, so you don’t have to feel lost. All you have to do is to follow the step by step instructions and keep looking ahead.
5. Don’t get discouraged so quickly & persevere.
New research shows that it actually takes 66 days to develop a new habit, so you gotta keep going, and it will eventually stick! When you make any change, you are actually changing your make up on a cellular level. Our brains can be quite resistant when it comes to creating new habits, so repetition is key here.
Seth Godin, the author of the book Linchpin describes the resistance to do what we are supposed to be doing (working out, eating healthy meals etc.) as the “Lizard Brain”. It’s that part of our brain which is the reason we’re afraid to succeed, and our greatest source of resistance. Always keep in mind that most people give up right before their big break is about to happen. Don’t be one of those people!
One of my favorite quotes of Gabrielle Bernstein is:
“Those who are certain of the outcome, can afford to wait.”
Fitness translation: If you know you’re working out hard, and eating clean every day, the weight will come off with time.