It is a new year, therefore you might be planning on creating a new you as well. After all, New Years Day is the big day for all when it comes to beginning a new weight loss journey. I know that we all can encounter many pitfalls when trying to lose unhealthy weight. We are surrounded by delicious foods, time seems to be short and we also often have well meaning family and friends who will derail us from our plans with a swiftness.
I am a firm believer that when we plan ahead for problems we might encounter while trying to achieve success in any endeavor, we are more apt to conquer our obstacles if we are first aware of them and have thought through a plan of action before ever encountering them. When we have thought through counter plans, we can then sidestep most hindrances we may encounter. It is when we have not thought through the actions we can take that cause us to fail. If you have ever managed anything, you know this to be true. And when we look at weight loss as what it is, “management” of our weight, the same principles apply as they do with managing any other endeavor you might take on whether it is managing your children or your business.
Successful weight management requires long term planning!
A short term attitude about losing or managing your weight is only going to result in failure. This I will guarantee you. It may be a hard truth, but when you care enough to want to lose weight, you need to care enough to make these changes in your life a permanent lifestyle rather than a temporary diet you just want to get over with. When you go on a short term diet, you are going to lose about 10 pounds of water weight pretty quickly as a result of taking in fewer carbohydrates, and then when you realize that the fad diet or gimmick you just started is not realistic, you will soon regain all that you have lost or more. Truthfully, the only people who should ever think about short term diets are professional bodybuilders who are already down to very low body fat percentages. But truth be told, even as healthy as most of them look, short term extreme diets also take a negative toll on their health the same as they will for you. Your best bet is always thinking in the long term, and always thinking ahead and making plans of action. Successful weight loss that is permanent will require the consumption of a well rounded diet. When you plan ahead, you can get past the occasional deviation of a poor food choice on occasion.
Successful management of your weight requires that you know and understand there are no miracle quick fixes or cures that are going to make you look good, fit, trim and healthy. Fad diets do not work, supplements do not work. Healthy weight loss requires a long term thinking that supports long term healthy habits.
Do not have an all or nothing attitude!
Often, we set ourselves up for failure through all or nothing thinking. You might think that you have to cut out far too many foods, which will often only serve to make you crave them even more. While we do advocate cutting out added sugars, we do not believe you therefore have to cut out all sweet treats. There are plenty of sugar free snacks today that are just as tasty as anything else that contains sugar. The days of sugar free meaning the food or drink will have that nasty, bitter saccharine taste are far behind us now. Though my taste for sweets has greatly diminished over the years, I still occasionally enjoy a cup of Breyers sugar free ice cream, as well as cookies, sugar free plain Greek yogurt that I flavor how I want and even sugar free pancake syrups.
We advocate cutting out processed foods for whole foods, but understand that on occasion we might have processed foods anyhow. When this happens, just be sure to read the labels and try to find foods that have zero added sugar and are not full of ingredients that you cannot pronounce, nor know what they are. We advocate holding ourselves to a high standard, but recognize that we are also imperfect humans. It is when we have come to believe that anything short of perfection is failure that we create an unsustainable set of beliefs for ourselves. Remember, it is not what happens in one day that affects your weight and health, it is what you do all the time that affects you good or bad.
What often happens with all or nothing thinking is that we can go all out with our restrictive eating, and then when we go off the rails, we derail the whole train instead of just the caboose. Not only do we sabotage ourselves with food with all or nothing thinking, we also do this with exercise. We cannot out exercise a bad diet, and there are some things you need to understand about exercise before you go all out every day with it. Your rest, nutrition and exercise of choice all have equal value when it comes to your physical fitness. You have to eat good foods, and enough of them to fuel your body. And you must give your body time for rest and recovery between exercise sessions, especially if you go at it vigorously. I have written an article on this specific topic, Fitness Triad.
We often over estimate our calorie burn and under estimate our calorie consumption!
Forget about eating back your exercise calories.
This is a hard truth for many to accept, but most of us do not burn near as many calories from vigorous exercise as we might want to believe. Conversely, it is very easy to consume more calories than we might assume that we are eating. Many pieces of fitness equipment will tell you an estimated calorie burn from your time on them, but these estimates can be wildly inaccurate. If you are new to exercise and get onto a treadmill for an hour and it tells you that you burned 1000 calories, I can guarantee that you did not burn 1000 calories in an hour. Maybe a seasoned athlete will burn that many, but if you are out of shape and new to exercise, you need to know that you are not burning those kinds of calories from your exercise. No one with any integrity who knows will ever tell you that either.
One of the biggest errors I have seen on different weight loss apps and such is people eating back their exercise calories and then not understanding why their scale number is not going down as it should. The result of this, is people will often begin to believe there is something unique and wrong about themselves to not be able to lose weight. Losing weight all comes down to calories consumed verses calories actually burned. If you are not losing weight, you are eating more calories than your body needs in a day, it really is as simple as that.
Now, you might not believe that you are eating too many calories, but I would ask how do you know this? Do you truly know how many calories per day you actually require? Do you weigh and measure your foods as you prepare them, or do you just guess at it? How do you account for what you eat in a day? It only takes 500 calories per day over the amount you need to gain one pound of body fat per week. So, to lose one pound per week, you must cut your caloric intake by 500 calories per day under what you require to maintain your current body fat percentage. Your best bet is to visit our Calorie Counter Pro page and find out exactly how many calories per day you require to meet your goals. We do not advocate anyone losing more than 1 to 2 pounds per week unless under your doctors supervision. Once you know how many calories you need, you need to stick to them until you find yourself starting to plateau. At that time, you will need to refigure your calories simply because the calories required to lose weight at 250 pounds is higher than what they are when you reach 175 pounds.