Friday, May 5, 2017

How I Lost 30 LBS Without Willpower: Phase IV

We don’t live in a bubble.  We live in a system, so real change has to address all parts of your life.  Your family, your friends, your spouse, your work and community.  All of it.  Think about when your plans for improving your health get derailed?  Family events, work celebrations or catered lunches, or your spouse isn’t on board or maybe not aware you are making changes to your eating habits.  What happens?  You eat the cookies you bake with the kids.  You eat the co-workers birthday cake.  You eat the bag of chips with your husband as you watch TV together.  I’m not saying these things are bad, they just are, so be intentional about how you deal with them.  If you want to have the cake, have the cake, but do it on your terms, intentionally, as part of an overall plan. 

Because you live in a system (and not in a bubble), setting boundaries and asking for help and support is crucial for success.  Here is how you do it….

Our loved ones and friends love us and want to support us, but they may not know how, so it is on you to let them know how they can help you be successful.  Why is it that we have such a hard time saying out loud, "I can’t do it all myself? I need help." Maybe because we don’t want to put others out, maybe because we may feel like a failure because we can’t, in fact, do it all.  All this is bullshit.  If your best friend said out loud to you the things you say to yourself, you would tell her, “No, you don’t need to be everything to everybody.  You matter too.”  

BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND.  You have to believe that you matter enough to you to ask others for help.  The family and co-workers may grumble as they adjust to this new self-loving you, but hold your ground.  Your very life depends on it.  Repeat this to yourself as necessary.

This Week’s Assignment:

This week’s assignment is a fun one, and hopefully you can pull it out and re-read it when you start to lose your motivation.  

Picture yourself a year from now, having made successful changes to your life style.  Write a letter to a friend, loved one, me, even yourself about what this new successful you is doing.  Really envision this new you and this new life.  What activities have. you done or are doing? How do you feel?  How has your life improved?  What is next for you?  What are you looking forward to?  You may be tempted to just think about this, but write it down in as much detail as possible.  You don’t have to show anyone, but something happens inside your brain when you physically write down things (this is why journaling is so powerful).  

What about exercise? 

Exercise is so very important for your health.  Your body needs it to maintain itself. Studies have shown that even our brains require it to maintain mental sharpness.  However, it will not make much of a dent in your weight if you don't change how you eat. To put it into perspective, a Five Guys Little Cheeseburger is 550 calories.  If you weigh 140 pounds, you would have to walk at 3.5mph (which is a brisk pace for most people) for 2 hours and 25 minutes.  If you think you can walk faster, say 4.0 mph, you only have to walk for 2 hours and 10 minutes.  So what you put into your mouth does matter.  There is no way around it.  That being said, the good news is for health even a little exercise at a time is effective, so park farther away, take the stairs, walk the dog after dinner even if it just down the street and back. 

There is also evidence that exercise is very effective for your mental health.  I can tell you that for me, personally, lifting weights a couple of times a week has really helped with my depression.  Cardio is not as effective for me, but I have friends who swear by that.  More good news, since even a little exercise helps with your health, feel free to pick something you enjoy.  Don’t feel the pressure to run if you don’t like it because “that is the most effective way to burn calories”. 

My advice is don’t set an exercise goal to lose weight, rather set a goal to train or complete a tangible measurable, non weight goal like a new badge in a Fitbit challenge, being able to squat your weight, train for a 5K, finish a audiobook while walking in 3 days.  Exercise will definitely help (unless it makes you hungrier), but changing what you eat is crucial. 

Fat versus Sugar:

I was shocked, well shocked, and then really angry to learn that in the 60’s the sugar industry played down the effects of sugar on heart disease and blamed saturated fat instead!  Those scientists received $50,000 in today’s dollars to do this, and one went on to become the Head of Nutrition for the Untied States Department of Agriculture where in 1977 he drafted nutrition guidelines.  I’m pissed when I think of all the steak, cheese, an sour cream I have been missing.  Furthermore, since then America has been blowing up with all our Snackwell and equivalent fat-free crap.  When you take out fat, you take out flavor, so you have to add sugar and salt and artificial ingredients to make up for it.  Also, sugar extends shelf life (another reason to avoid the middle aisles of your grocery store), so all great news for the profit margin of the sugar industry.

Come to find out, sugar actually increases heart disease, not to mention Type II Diabetes, obesity and other related diseases, and some studies are beginning to find some links to auto-immune diseases.

Studies have also shown the people who consume fat that occurs naturally in whole foods have actually had more success than control groups in losing weight. for more references simply google “can fat help yo lose weight”

Fat makes you feel full faster and for longer.  Cook your eggs in a little butter, drizzle you veggies in olive oil (some vitamins are only fat soluble so you need the fat to absorb them anyway), eat the 2% or full fat plain yogurt (or add a little honey to sweeten it yourself) - guess what?  Dark chocolate is on the list!!

Bottom line is…eat as many “whole foods” as you can and you will be alright, better than alright. AND DON"T SUBSTITUTE FAKE SUGAR - no pink packets, no blue or yellow packets either.  If it's one or the other, stick to real sugar.  

Finally, I would like to encourage you to get a physical once a year.  
Many major companies even pay you now to do this, but even if they don’t, it is important to know if you have a vitamin deficiency, diabetes or pre-diabetes.  Tired all the time?  Maybe you have a thyroid condition or a Vitamin D deficiency.  I did, and I am pasty white and live in TX, so I am not in the “risk” group for that. 

This is the last phase in this series.  I hope you found some useful information on making changes to your life.  Most importantly, I hope you walked away with the knowledge to make any change you want to your life.  It starts with Awareness without judgment.  Stop wasting that energy beating yourself up and look at what is happening objectively.  Add some good habits into the mix to crowd out the ones you want to eliminate versus eliminating stuff only.  How to change a habit, and how to set SMART Goals and some practical Tips and Tricks.    Everything is at these links below whenever you need a “reboot”

How I Lost 30lbs without Willpower: Phase I

How I Lost 30 LBS without Willpower: Phase II

How I Lost 30 LBS without Willpower: Phase III

How I Lost 30 LBS Without Willpower: Tips and Tricks

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