Ever since I was a kid I've thought diets were kind of weird - especially big corporate-branded diets. That's not to say I wasn't body conscious as a teen or young adult, but eating expensive boxed foods to lose weight just never really made complete sense to me. When I was a kid, Weight Watchers and The Grapefruit Diet were big and had been around for quite a long white. Tab and Pepsi Light were popular sodas, too.
My dad worked for Pepsi at the time, so we didn't have any Tab in the house (made by Coca Cola), but we had plenty of Pepsi Light and Diet Pepsi...not to mention Mountain Dew and regular Pepsi. Fortunately for me, I've never really liked soda, so the stacks of soda next to the step leading out to our garage never phased me. Every once in a while I'd want a taste of something. So when my brother would open a can of Mountain Dew, I'd stand next to him and ask for the first sip. First of all, I only wanted a tiny bit, and second, I didn't want any of his germs. It was first sip or nothing.
As far as diets went, I had no problem understanding the concept of why people would want to change the way they ate. In my mind back then, I believed it was because people just ate too much for a long time and needed to do some back peddling. That resulted in dieting. But diets never seemed pleasurable. In fact, they seemed like torture. Diet and torture. That just didn't sound like a healthy combination.
The thing that was different in the 80s that's different from today was what people were up against when they needed to lose weight. Even though I was just a kid then and didn't care about my own weight, from what I observed people didn't have to lose nearly as much weight. Many people, mostly women, needed to lose ten to 20 pounds. That's a lot of weight, but even with that type of weight gain, most people would be considered "overweight" and not "obese." Going back a little further to the early 1970s, the average woman consumed around 1500 calories. Today she consumes around 1800. This is just the average. Despite the popularity of low carb diets, most of those extra calories are consumed in the form of refined carbohydrate.
Today it's fairly clear that most people don't lose weight. They gain. You, smart reader, you're more aware - and a part of a much smaller percentage of people who will hopefully beat the odds. Not just because you're reading this incredibly amazing blog (clears throat), but because you're actually interested in long term weight loss that doesn't come overnight. I don't want to sound cynical. I am, in fact, completely hopeful that we, as a population, will be able to get our sh#t together. In order to do that, however, we need to:
- Eat less packaged food - especially packaged "diet" food
- Ignore ads selling us on unhealthy health foods
- Unlearn a bunch of junk "taught" to us as truth (i.e. fat is bad)
- Consume far, far, far less sugar and table salt
- Generally get out of our heads about our bodies
- Exercise or at least move more
- Trust that eating healthy isn't torture
- Understand that no one has to be overweight, including you
The way you're going to make this happen is through changing unhealthy habits into healthier ones.
The struggle begins when you don't really recognize that the unhealthy habits are actually unhealthy. Why should you change?
Here are four lifestyle tips that will help motivate you to get your body and your healthy back on track.
1. OWN IT! If you're overweight and need to lose weight, it's on you. This is a very sensitive topic, I realize that, but at the end of the day the only person who will care enough to make you completely healthy is Y-O-U. Not everyone gains weight because they eat too much, although for most of us, that's the case. Sometimes hormones play a role. Typically, we can get our arms around our hormones, or at least get them moving in the right direction again by eating clean. Some people gain weight because they don't eat enough. Take stock. Figure it out and take some action. Speaking of action...
2. TAKE ACTION! You said you were going to eat better yesterday, or on January 1st, or the day after your birthday. If you're waiting to hit rock bottom before you start cleaning your act up, you may be waiting a while. And if you weight for the next graduation party to be over, or the next birthday party to pass until you commit, you're making excuses. If you're not completely satisfied with how your body is operating right now, do what you can - now.
- Are you eating a healthy, lower sugar breakfast?
- Are you drinking water throughout the day?
- Are you eating numerous servings of vegetables that contain vitamins and minerals your body needs to feel good?
- Are you diet soda and/or regular soda?
- Are you curbing your coffee and black tea consumption?
- Are you exercising at least four days a week?
If you answered "no" to any of these, there is plenty of room to make positive change.
3. FIND A POSITIVE PARTNER! When you say you're going to do something and you don't do it, who's there to give you a hard time? I'm not suggesting someone should make you feel bad, but it's incredibly helpful to have someone in your corner, who gets your goals and will gently give you a nudge when you need it. It's what I do for a living. I can assure you that it works.
- Find a neighbor or relative
- Buddy up with someone at the gym
- Work with a trainer
- Sign on to an online forum
- Work with me
4. WRITE IT DOWN! Food journals work wonders. Use a scratch pad, cheap notebook, or you can use my food journal form right here (download). Food journals work wonders and can really help you see for yourself where you're getting off track.
- What did you eat?
- When did you eat?
- How much water did you consume?
- Did you snack on anything?
- Did you exercise?
- How much sleep did you get?
All of these things should be factored in.
If you're anxious to lose weight, you can absolutely do it. Taking control over your own diet is a great feeling. Weight loss isn't quick - it never is. The way you feel, however, after you start eating right has immediate results. You'll feel great. I promise.
How can I help you reach your ideal weight, create a juicing plan or get you fit? Check out my weight loss and fitness coaching services and let me know.
Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.