We are now entering a period in time where more and more women have become ‘size acceptant’ and no longer acquiesce in the thin-is-in notion. Contrary to what the fashion industry has indicated for the past few decades, we are now recognizing that not all women are 5 ft. 8 inches tall and weigh 125 lbs (58 kilos), nor are we supposed to be!
The key to attaining your ‘ideal’ weight is through a balanced (there’s that word again) weight management plan. Numerous studies indicate that when women diet continuously (yo-yo dieting), the result, both physically and emotionally, is adverse. Metabolism, for example, is altered as a result of the body trying to conserve fat on a low calorie or low-fat diet. And feelings of low self-esteem as a result from ‘failing’ at diet after diet are also common amongst perpetual dieters.
The truth is, most diets:
– become boring as a result of having to follow strict eating regimes
– do not fit into the average person’s lifestyle
– cause the dieter to become hungry
– do not teach people how to manage their weight once the diet ceases
We, therefore, need to learn the following:
– accept our own bodies as they are, regardless of size or shape
– listen to the body’s cues to eat
– acquire nutritional information
– become physically active
Why is managing weight perceived to be so difficult?
– Motivation – What is motivating you to lose weight? Why is losing weight important to you? It will be easier to learn and stick to a new eating regime if you are doing it for reasons that make sense to you.
– Small weight gains over time usually go unnoticed. As we get older, we tend to become more sedentary and the weight gradually sneaks up on us.
– Fads (and fad diets) usually make the headlines. Many diets promise unrealistic weight loss in short periods of time and often offer very limited foods, so failure is sure to be the result.
– We often overlook the reasons why people overeat in the first place. Is it stress, loneliness, depression? So if you want to stay young, happy, and healthy, it is important to address these issues prior to attempting to manage weight problems.
Strategy for Managing Weight
1. Make a conscious decision to avoid putting on any weight from this point forward.
2. Make small, gradual changes. Many people fail at weight loss because they set their expectations very high by trying to adapt to a new eating pattern overnight. Start by cutting out one thing each week that has normally been habitual such as having dessert after dinner. If you really have to have something, replace it with fruit or yogurt, rather than something high in sugar and fat which also doesn’t help to prevent breast cancer. After a week, try replacing some of the high-fat foods that you eat with a low-fat substitute. An example is to replace fish and chips with grilled tuna, rice, and steamed vegetables or try replacing creamy pasta sauces with tomato-based sauces. At the same time, start an exercise regime. Again, take small steps – starting with something like a 20-minute walk 3 – 5 days a week and avoid your usual mistakes like procrastination.
3. When cooking or eating out, choose food that is flavored with spices and herbs, rather than sugar and fat. Many Asian and Mediterranean style recipes and restaurants do a great job of this.
4. Ignore the fashion magazine ads in the hairdressers and the quick-fix weight loss plans on television. Remember – they are selling a product and playing upon your emotions.
5. Have patience with yourself and set realistic goals. Everyone indulges from time to time, so allow it, but carry on and stick to your goals.
A Sound Weight Loss Plan should do the following:
1. Deal with the emotional issues that may be linked to your old eating pattern, also when you start to lose your hair slightly. This requires taking a good look at yourself and being absolutely honest so that when those issues arise, you can identify and eliminate them.
2. Meet your nutritional needs by following the recommendations in the Food Pyramid Guide or the Food Exchange System. Try to keep caloric intake to a minimum of 1500 calories a day.
3. Expect weight loss to be a gradual process. Losing weight quickly only depletes lean tissue, such as muscle, of necessary nutrients. Furthermore, rapid weight loss usually results from a loss of fluids – not from fat.
4. Allow for pleasurable and satisfying foods in your eating pattern by adapting foods to your own tastes and habits. In other words, incorporate this way of eating into your lifestyle. For example, if you are always hungry at 3’o clock in the afternoon, make sure that you have something nutritious on hand at work or wherever you intend to be at that time. And if it is something sweet that you crave – have a container of yogurt or a muesli bar available. Attempting to eat a carrot stick when you really want something substantial will leave you feeling deprived rather than satisfied and may cut your new eating pattern short. Similarly, varying the foods in your diet will prevent boredom and enable you to choose from a selection of nutritious foods when you eat out (use the Food Exchange System).
5. Gradually, your food habits will take on a new form. As you learn to eat well, healthy food choices will become automatic… yes automatic! Your newfound energy and enthusiasm will make choosing whether it is pizza or a chicken and vegetable sandwich roll – easy.
Weight Management Tips
– Substitute herbs and spice for flavor rather than fats, sugar or salt.
– Choose lean cuts of meat and if you are faced with unwanted behavior in your private life, try to eliminate that as soon as possible. Stand up for yourself to get rid of any unwanted stress causes!
– Bake or grill food rather than fry (If you are stir-frying, start with a tablespoon of vegetable oil in your wok/pan. As you require more liquid, use water rather than more oil as you fry your meat and vegetables, adding a little at a time).
– When hunger strikes mid-afternoon or in the evening, have a fresh fruit or vegetable juice made with a juicer. It is low in fat and calories, eliminates the hunger pangs and provides you with extra vitamins and minerals.
– Try to replace processed carbohydrates with whole grains such as multigrain bread, brown rice, and whole grain pasta to increase dietary fiber.
– Drink lots of water – at least one-half gallon (2 liters) each day (filtered water, herbal tea, or diluted fresh fruit juices) or clear vegetable broths.
– Incorporate regular physical activity into your lifestyle. Again, choose an exercise that is right for you.
– Expect to have minor setbacks. Everyone gives in to temptation now and then – and see it as just that – a bit of a treat or indulgence rather than a major regression.
– Aim for a predominately vegetarian diet. Our bodies have not yet evolved to the point where we can break down the quantity of meat that the western diet often favors.