Lose Weight the Simple Way
Maintaining a healthy weight is difficult. Losing weight can be even more so. Then there are the thousands of weight loss diets, products, and books to consider. Picking the perfect strategy for you can be overwhelming and discouraging. However, we have been brainwashed to believe that the weight loss strategies are a complicated issue. You have been told that you need all these products, you have to eliminate certain foods, and stand on your head for 6 hours on the 5th Sunday of every month. Ok, that last one wasn’t a real weight loss strategy! Yet, you find yourself spinning about what is truly going to help you achieve a healthy weight.
I am going to tell you a little secret that isn’t spoken often in the weight loss industry. You don’t have to do anything extreme or eliminate any food group forever to lose weight, unless you have a medical condition. Mind Blown, am I right?
You likely don’t need to spend money on a myriad of weight loss products. Most noteworthy about the topic of weight loss strategies is that it can be simple. I am not telling you that it isn’t work, because you and I both know it is. I am saying the strategy is simple, meaning not complex. Before I get into the nuts and bolts of it all, let me share a little bit of my experience.
Have You Tried It All?
I have tried most diets over my lifetime. Some worked for awhile, but none were long lasting. There came a time when I had to ask myself why I kept regaining weight. The truth…I stopped following whatever diet I had been on. DUH! But I also started looking at the different diets I had success with. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning…I have to stop dieting. I know you are asking yourself how stopping a dieting lifestyle can help lose and maintain a healthy weight, but stick with me a little longer.
A diet, as we know it, is a temporary food and exercise strategy to lose weight. This is where you need to change your mindset. With your diet the goal is to lose weight and become more healthy. But what happens when the diet is over or your weight loss plateaus? You give up and go back to your old ways. Some of the best scientifically proven diets, such as The Ornish Diet, are effective on every level…if you commit to the changes as a lifestyle.
I believe that the biggest downfall of dieting is that you commit to changing your eating habits and exercise for a period, but your eating habits, including what tastes you enjoy, are not changed for a lifetime. It stands to reason that after a period of eliminating things you truly enjoy eating, you eventually want to go back to them. This puts you on a course to counteract all the work you have done.
Then you look at the fact that many diets are complicated or extremely limiting. Some diets require that you can have no carbs, but eat high in fat foods. Others drastically limit carbs and eat larger amounts of lean protein. There are the traditional diets that have you counting calories. (I have been told that Weight Watchers has made this exponentially easier over the years!) There are vegetarian and vegan diets, requiring little or no animal products at all. Some diets have tried to make this even easier to our convenience driven society by selling premade foods.
When you look at weight loss diets there are definite success stories! Weight Watchers boasts some of the best long term success stories. Jenny Craig, The Detox Diet, The Weigh Down Diet, The Zone Diet, The 3-Hour Diet, The Atkins Diet…I could go on forever with this list. These programs are highly acclaimed by the small percentage of people who have had longterm success. Of the diets you can follow on your own the Mediterranean, DASH, and Flexitarian diets top the charts. People who have long term success with these plans are those who have committed to the program for a lifetime. Thus, the problem lies in that most people do not commit to their diet for life.
What Can You Do?
The solution I have found to weight loss and maintenance is a result of years of trying every diet. Like most, I would commit for a couple of months only to slip back into my old ways bit by bit. What if you could find a diet that worked to lose weight that didn’t require counting, cutting out an entire food group, or severe restrictions on certain foods? If there were weight loss strategies that would allow you to cook meals that you and your family can eat together would you be more likely to stick with your commitment? What if this diet allowed you to eat flavors and foods you enjoy? What if weight loss, while requiring commitment and effort, could be simple? You would do it, right? Of course you would!
I want you to achieve your health and weight loss goals in a way that compliments your simple lifestyle. This is going to require a little soul searching, a lot of honesty, some common sense, and a commitment to yourself. Dr. Mehmet Oz has said, “You need to be proactive, carve out time in your schedule, and take responsibility for being the healthiest person you can be–no one else is going to do it for you.” There is some truth right there, I tell ya. These components coupled with my simple weight loss strategies will help you achieve success!
***I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician. The information below is based on personal research and experience. Always seek a professional’s advice prior to starting an program.
7 Simple Weight Loss Strategies
- Be Honest With Yourself. This may be the most important strategy for success. If you aren’t honest with yourself, you are going to fail. Take a moment and make 4 lists. The first list is for your favorite foods and types of foods, i.e. lasagna, sweets, salty, loaded potato soup, savory). The second list is for foods and types of foods you dislike. The third list is physical activities you enjoy that you can easily do at home. On your last list write down bad habits that are keeping you from your goal.
- Make a Plan. This weight loss strategy is so simple you aren’t going to believe it! Use your list of foods you like and identify which ones are high in fat, carbs, or in general not good for weight loss. You do not have to stop eating these foods, but plan to only have them once or twice per month. If your list of disliked food is comprised mostly of vegetables and fruit, pick a few that you don’t detest, because you need to have your veggies. Each day primarily focus on the healthy foods you enjoy. Be sensible. If your family has pizza every Friday night and you typically eat 2-3 slices, make a slight change to eating one slice and a salad.
- Move. No surprise this is a critical weight loss strategy. However, exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or working out until you throw up. Again, keep it simple. Go back to your list of physical activities. Choose an activity at least 3 times per week. You do not have to do the same exercise each time. In fact, it is more beneficial if you change it up! For example, if your list has yoga, dancing, and walking on it, consider dancing in your room one day, a yoga one day, and walking another. Look for simple ways to get your heart rate up and extra steps in each day. Dance while you clean. Try standing and walking in place at your desk for 10 minutes each hour.
- Cut What You Can. Experiment with altering recipes to be more healthy. I am not saying you eat mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes if you don’t like it. I personally think it’s horrible and not a replacement for mashed potatoes at all! But I do love spaghetti squash, so whenever I am preparing pasta for my family I grab a bowl of spaghetti squash. Think through your choices. I love butter. For me, there is no substitute in certain dishes and baking. When I spoke with my doctor about this, she chuckled and said, then keep the butter and cut something you don’t have a great tie to. BRILLIANT! So I use butter for a few things, that really make my tastebuds dance. Over time I have learned there are foods that are not enhanced by the use of butter, so I use a substitute or eliminate when it doesn’t matter to me.This is a weight loss strategies that may take a little practice but is a simple lifelong change that will benefit your entire family.
- It’s All About Size. Portion control is a key strategy. But for some reason as soon as I had it in my head that I was going on a diet, I was ravenous! You too? There are 3 solutions I developed that work very well. The first is what I call the Cuppa Method. The general rule is that I can eat what I want, as long as the total amount of food is no more than a cup. If I am still hungry afterwards, I wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. Know what? I rarely have an additional helping! Second, read portion sizes and eat only that amount. Yes, if I choose to eat chips or pretzels I see how many pieces a portion is and count out exactly that many. If you happen to do this with a fattening food and are still hungry afterwards, consider opting to something healthy, or you could go back for a second serving. Third is how I fill my plate. Firstly, I eat from a dessert sized plate. Secondly, half of the plate is filled with vegetables. The other half is 2/3 protein and 1/3 grain/carb. After you have used any of these strategies a couple of times, it will come easy. You won’t even need a cup to know how much food equals that quantity!
- SLOW DOWN! The average person only chews a bite of food 3 times before swallowing. Firstly, it takes longer for your stomach to break down unchewed food. Secondly, it allows you to eat more quickly, thus eating beyond your natural “full state” before your brain realizes it. This is going to sound crazy, but chew each bite until it is the consistency of baby food. Your stomach can digest this much more easily, you truly savor the delicious flavor of your food, and you will feel full after having eaten less food.
- Taste the Rainbow. A naturopathic doctor had told me the best way to get the widest variety of vitamins and minerals from food was to make sure each plate is as colorful as possible. This means you should eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains in wide spectrum of colors. When I asked my physician about this approach, she agreed and added that you should eat as little white or neutral colored food as possible. This makes getting the right amount of good foods each day very easy. Since the most colorful foods typically have the most essential nutrients and the lowest in calories you can eat a LOT of them with all the benefits and none of the bulge!
These are the 7 weight loss strategies that I have learned to incorporate in my everyday life. Now, these are a habit for me. They are so simple. I never have to cook a separate meal for myself, deprive myself of something I truly want to eat, and I don’t have to measure or count calories anything. If I notice that my clothes are becoming a bit snug, I cut back on my carbs and focus on protein and vegetables. I increase my water intake a bit. Then I get my lazy butt moving a bit more. It isn’t complicated, but it is work.
Weight Loss Strategies Challenge
Still skeptical that weight loss strategies can be simple? Then I have a challenge for you.
Commit to following these simple weight loss strategies for 1 month. That’s not long. It doesn’t cost anything, but a commitment to be the most healthy you can be. Make changes that work for your personality and taste buds. If you don’t like what you are eating on a plan, you aren’t going to stick with it the long term. The goal is to make healthy choices you can live with that will help you successfully lose weight and achieve, as well as maintain, a healthy weight. I am certain that if you take this challenge, you will find that these strategies will become second nature and help you live the simple, healthy, and happy life you desire!