Making Weight Loss Stick

Lots of people have successfully lost weight with a number of different weight loss techniques. Losing weight in the short term is actually straightforward. If you are disciplined and committed and can adhere to the right eating plan, you can expect to lose a few pounds from your waist.  The truth is that it takes the body time to adapt to the new low-calorie intake.  It’s later on after losing a few pounds that you start experiencing lower energy, cravings, slower metabolism and general lethargy. We all know of people in the past that wanted to lose weight and actually did, but gained it all back in few weeks or months. Scientific research shows that the recidivism of weight loss is close to 98% in clinical studies. So the real challenge is not about losing weight, it is about sustaining the new healthy and lean body you’ve acquired. What then can you do to make weight loss stick?

Developing Healthy Habits

Some years back, conventional wisdom held that the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off was for individuals to completely alter their lives. People were advised to start strict diets, join a gym, attend regular counseling sessions etc. The justification was that the only way to cultivate good habits is by radically shaking up someone’s life. However, the failure of such radical methods has been proven countless times. In his book ‘The Power of Habit’ Charles Duhigg pointed out that piling on so much change all at once made it completely difficult for any of it to stick. However, starting with ONE habit has been proven to be effective and powerful. As a life coach, I work with dozens of entrepreneurs and other professionals. I have helped them create healthy lifestyles that does not bother on willpower, instead by strategic planning they have been helped to develop habits that they can rely on forever. Your goal should be developing many good habits that will help you eliminate bad habits that are interfering with your weight loss goals.

How to Create Healthy Habits

Habits are usually small, mindless decisions and actions you adhere to daily. Interestingly, your entire life is basically the sum of your habits.  In his book Charles Duhigg pointed out that habits are generally dictated by our cravings and desires. He referred to what is called the ‘Habit Loop’ – the fact that both good and bad habits follow the same pattern. I firmly believe that learning the way habits work and how to create and change them is one of the essential components of sticking to a weight loss plan. This is particularly true if you want to make weight loss stick. This mindset will ultimately determine the success of your weight loss plan. Consider the following tips for creating sustainable habits:

1.    Make a list of your habits.

A good first step is to identify the reason WHY you’re making the habit change. Habits are usually created by a repetitive cue, routine and reward system. If your decision is to lose weight, then you need to examine your eating patterns and habits. This will include your shopping habits, how often you eat out etc. List them all out until you understand your habits.

2.    Make Plans for New Habits.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of your habits, the next thing is to replace it with new habits. This may not be easy but do not be discouraged. Keep in mind that once a habit has been established (either consciously or subconsciously) it becomes deep-rooted and the most efficient way to change it is to identify the cue and replace it with a new one while maintaining the reward system.

3.    Start small.

Remember that the more effort required to create a habit, the more resistance it causes, and the less likely it is for the habit to stick. So ensure your new habit does not require an enormous willpower. Instead of walking for 60 minutes daily, you can start with 15 minutes and work your way up. Then only take ONE habit at a time. In fact it’s recommended that you shouldn’t start on a second habit until the initial one feels ‘natural’ or ‘automatic’

4.    Don’t forget to reward yourself!

The habit loop will not be complete if you don’t reward yourself. Set a reward for yourself after following a new habit for an extended period. Preferably, this reward should be in sync with your new healthy habit. In other words, don’t choose food as the habit but something else altogether. One of the things that works well for me is combining the habit with something that I already enjoy. So if I’m going to cook healthy food, I’ll turn on my favourite TV show at the same time, and I do not allow myself to watch that show unless I am doing healthy cooking. Also remember, the best habits are the ones where the reward is built right into them. It can take a while to get there, but healthy food is a good example of this. The more you eat it, the better you feel, the more in control of your life and habits you feel. That in itself is a rewarding experience.

Conclusion

Initially this new habits may not seem like much, but in the long run creating these small, healthy habits can really add up and lead to significant changes to your health and overall well-being! And as you create these small habits, it becomes easier to add the next ones.


Christopher Lawrence is a Co-Founder of the Healthy Transformations program with Dr. Mike Breen.  He is also the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching — a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”.  Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker that truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Eating ANYTHING

Our hectic daily schedules often make it challenging to focus on mindful eating. Most times we often fill our belly with the quickest, easiest options at our disposal. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, maintain your current weight or simply practice mindful eating, it’s important to bring more consciousness to your eating habits. It’s in your best interest to pause before mindlessly reaching for that bowl of yogurt or the beef jerky. This article will consider 4 revealing questions that will help you to take control of your eating habits.  These are the questions you can ask yourself before you put anything in your mouth that will most definitely slow you down and consider what you are doing!

1.    Am I hungry?

This may seem like a pointless question at first because you’re eating — so you must be hungry, right? Wrong. The aim of this question is to help you separate cravings from real hunger. People eat for several other reasons including boredom (nothing to do), depression (chocolate to ease up sadness), happiness (to celebrate a promotion), or cravings. It’s important to pinpoint the exact reason why you’re eating to identify issues related to emotional eating. If you ate recently, then you’re not truly hungry, you could be eating because you are craving something specific or you ate something that did not meet your nutritional needs. The body is designed to tell you when you need food and that’s why you should eat when you’re hungry. It’s critical not to deprive your body of the nourishment it needs. Waiting for too long to eat to the point where your hands start shaking or stomach starts growling put you in a position of binge eating at the next opportunity of food. And if you find yourself craving some unhealthy options, it is recommended that you consider having a big glass of water. This might just be exactly what you need to flush away that unhealthy desire.

This plays into the importance of planning. Planning is key. I strongly recommend you plan to eat two to three key meals a day but also plan your snacks, two to three a day as well. Ensure they are healthy, nutritious, and have enough fat in them to keep you from getting hungry (remember, fat is not the villain here).

 

2.    What message and instructions am I sending to my body by eating this food?

Eating’s fun! There’s no doubt about it. We take photos of our food, plan dates to special restaurants and invite friends and families to our homes to enjoy dinner with us. Yes, food is a huge fun factor in our lives. However, before you take that next bite, think about the food you’re going to eat and its effect on your body. When you treat your body right, it loves you right back. Yes, food is meant to fuel and nourish our bodies; however, that is  an understatement about the importance of food. Food gives our body instructions. It’s so much more than just fuel. Every time you eat something you are sending a message to your genetic coding telling it what to do. Food is more about genetic expression and, it’s about and improving our overall health and well-being. When you feed on junk, you’re essentially feeding your body with crap. Your body will lack the energy it needs to carry out basic functions and can affect your health and well-being. To look and feel your best, it’s important to eat healthy.

Another way of asking this question is to say “is this food going to meet my nutritional requirements?”  Whatever it is you decide to eat should provide the vitamins and minerals needed by the body to function optimally.  For instance, every meal should have the right balance of fat, protein and high-nutrient carbohydrates (leafy greens are the best choice for the high nutrient carb).

 

3.    Is eating this food an expression of who I want to be?

We must eat to live; your diet should be balanced and in tune with your desired goals. Think of it this way; each meal is a piece of your daily food puzzle and each meal provides an opportunity to fill up on what your body is lacking. If you miss these opportunities you will find yourself craving and may indulge on incorrect foods. To take this a step further, you might even look at this as your soft-philosophy in life. We all have a “way of being” in our world. When you reach for that piece of pumpkin pie, ask yourself if it is truly who you want to be in this world. Will eating this help you become the fully realized healthy person you want to be.

 

4.    How will I feel after I eat this?

It is also critical to consider how you will feel after eating a meal both physically and emotionally.  Will you feel angry, guilty, or annoyed with yourself? Will you feel bloated? A stomachache? Will the food keep you awake all night? Cranky? Giving attention to how the food makes you feel will help you to identify food allergies and also figure out what triggers overeating. Since you can choose your foods based on how you want to feel, you can decide whether or not the end result of that food is WORTH IT. Ask yourself ‘What will I gain from eating this when after a few minutes the flavor will be gone and I’ll just be left with the chemicals, calories, cramps and guilty feelings?

Bottom line… These four questions should help you to make smarter food choices that will help your body perform at its optimal best. Asking yourself these vital questions before you eat will hopefully give you a chance to think about what you’re about to eat, thereby helping you to practice mindful eating.


Christopher Lawrence is a Co-Founder of the Healthy Transformations program with Dr. Mike Breen.  He is also the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching — a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”.  Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker that truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.