Weight Control For Life

Scott Sulak
Change For Good,® Inc.

 

Americans spent $20 billion last year on weight loss and dietary control products. Ironically, it is estimated that less than three percent of those who lost weight, will keep the weight off for three years or more. Imagine that. What industry can boast that kind of gross revenue with so little success? Only when it comes to weight loss can we accept that kind of failure and continue to throw money at it.

So, why are Americans so fat? The primary reasons are as follows:

1.  Our portions are too large.
2.  Our food is too fatty and not nutritious enough.
3.  We eat when we are not hungry.
4.  We don’t drink enough water.
5.  We don’t exercise enough.
6.  Our self-image does not support the supposed outcome we desire.
7.  Our metabolisms don’t burn enough of the food we eat.

Nobody will consciously say they want to be overweight; however, if you eat more in calories each day than you burn and then gain weight, why are we so surprised when we see the pounds add up? The fact is, generally, we don’t know why we do what we do sometimes, but we DO know the results; mostly because fat can be seen.

The Big Question: WHY?

Okay, so we do all these wrong things. We know what to do: eat right, exercise. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we have heard it before. Why don’t we just do it?  It starts with our self-image. If we see ourselves as fat, lazy and ineffective, guess what? We are. It is as simple as that. Therefore, the first thing that needs to change is our perception of our body. We need to begin with the belief that we can change. We must give up the old beliefs of big bones or a family tradition of obesity or being a chocoholic. These self-perceptions are simply a way of justifying how you got to where you are, but are not a good way of changing what you see when you look in the mirror.

Solutions: First Things First

Get a picture of yourself when you were at the weight you want to be. Go down to Kinko’s and have it color copied. Make many different copies in different sizes. If you don’t have the perfect picture, get a magazine with models that have a similar (realistic) body type and paste a picture of your head on it. Begin placing these photos in places where you will see them often. Places that work well are in your closet, bathroom mirror, kitchen, car visor, computer screen, etc.

Next, begin a collage of photos that represent the lifestyle you want to live with this new body. Cut out pictures of the things you like to do (boating, jogging,
cycling, whatever) and begin to create a lifestyle in your mind (and on paper) of how this new body is going to play out in your life. Cut out words and overlay them on the photos (like alive, sexy, fun or whatever suits you best). This will be something you will continue to work on, so make sure it is nice and big.

Next, set a time limit. Be realistic. The rule should be one to two pounds per week. You will be eating sensibly, but you will not be dieting. Forget about taking off 40 pounds in six weeks. It will never last. Put the desired date at the top of your collage.

Next: Eating Your Way to Success

What about dieting? If you look on Amazon.com for a diet book, you will see a list of 1,401 books, all telling you how to lose weight the best way. How can anyone sort through that kind of information? The fact is DIETS DON’T WORK! So, the next step is do not, under any circumstances, go on a diet. Unless you get past the inner problem of why you are holding onto weight (more on that later), there isn’t a diet under the sun that will work.

Instead, see a nutritionist and get some advice of what foods to look out for.

Get an overall understanding of some of the basics:

 

1.  Eat a balanced diet of wholesome foods, focusing on high-nutrient and low-calorie foods – vegetables and whole grains, legumes, and some fresh fruits.
2.  Watch your portions: Imagine your stomach being the size of your fist. Don’t eat more than will fit in that size stomach.

3.  Stop eating after 8:00 PM.

4.  Drink 8-12 glasses of water daily, and drink a large glass of water 30 minutes before meals to satiate your body and minimize your appetite.

5.  Avoid high-fat, processed and high-calorie foods such as candy, cookies and cakes, sodas, chips, cheese, anything fried, and meats (especially lunchmeats).

6.  Take time to eat. Eat and chew slowly and thoroughly, satisfying yourself with each mouthful.

Stress & Weight

Actually, in a biological or physiological sense, you have the built-in ability to deal with stress or the reaction to events. There are two ways your body can react to stress:

1.  Acute Alarm Reaction:  This is the fight or flight mode of thought. It can help you in a time of extreme emergency, when you are physically threatened. This is a healthy function of the body. It can save your life. Your heart pumps faster. Blood gets to all parts of the body faster and with greater force. Your blood pressure elevates. Your lungs respond by delivering more oxygen to your muscle tissues. Your breathing is more rapid. You become prepared for the need to move. This will not cause weight gain.

2.  Sustained Vigilance: This is the way the body prepares for a long-term challenge. In ancient times, our ancestors needed to cope with some very extreme circumstances. Among them were climatic catastrophes (long, cold winters, extreme heat), depletion of resources (drought, food) or any type of long-term struggle (illness, long-term fatigue) or displacement. Life was hard. Sustained vigilance is the biological response to loss of control. In our modern world, sustained vigilance is the most destructive physiological condition we can put our body through.

During this condition of vigilance, your brain stimulates the release of another powerful chemical, cortisol. This allows your blood pressure to rise slowly and steadily. You retain vital chemicals such as sodium (salt). Your metabolism slows down. Gastric acid increases to maximize the calories you get from food. High energy fats and blood clotting agents are released into your bloodstream (in case they are needed). Energy is diverted from your immune system and nonessentials, such as sex hormones, are dramatically suppressed. Your body is prepared for the long haul.

For the majority of our civilization, we are usually not facing the kind of peril that our ancestors faced throughout their lives. Facing a 20-year drought or widespread starvation has been replaced with getting a raise, fighting with our spouse, raising the kids. Many of us live in sustained vigilance throughout most of our adult lives.

If you are stressed out AND overweight, chances are you are in sustained vigilance. That means your metabolism is slow. You retain water and more than likely have trouble sleeping properly. You may even have huge energy swings to
make matters worse.

If you feel that you fit this category, you must learn immediately how to relax and let go of tension. Look into getting professional help.

Visit us at  http://www.changeforgood.com/ for articles and other helpful information.

 

Check out local classes being offered on yoga, Thai Chi, or buy some relaxation mp3s  http://www.changeforgood.com.
Why Exercise?

Fact:  Fat is the last source of energy used by your body. Once it is stored, it is stored.  If you burn off excess calories every day, they are burned off versus stored.

Fact: To control weight, you take in only as many calories as you are burning off.

Fact:  To lose weight, you take in fewer calories than you burn off.

Studies have shown that inactive people can gain significant health benefits simply by accumulating 30 minutes of physical exercise every day. The health benefits include decreasing the risk of:

Heart disease and stroke
High blood pressure
Adult onset diabetes/non-insulin dependent diabetes
Obesity
Back pain
Osteoporosis
Mental health issues (depression, stress management, panic disorders)
Increased energy and stamina
Better sleep

Moderate Exercise
Moderate exercise includes such activities as housework, walking around the block, parking in a farther spot from our destination to get some walking in, stretching or moving around after sitting for prolonged periods. Experts suggest
getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week.

Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic activity increases our heart rate, and uses large muscle groups for extended periods. Aerobic activity includes anything that gets us breathing hard such as running, bicycling, swimming, racquet sports, soccer, brisk walking and other water sports. Experts recommend performing at least 30 minutes of this type of exercise at least three times a week.

Stretching
Stretching should be incorporated into our daily routine. The level of stretching should reflect the level of activity we are performing. Stretching elongates and strengthens our muscles while also conditioning and protecting them against injury.

Target Heart Rates
To get the maximum benefits, we should aim to get our heart rate within certain levels. Follow this chart to find where you should be.
Age                    Target Heart Rate Zone 50-75%
20-30 years old  98-146 beats per minute
31-40 years old  93-138 beats per minute
41-50 years old  88-131 beats per minute
51-60 years old  83-123 beats per minute
61+ years old     78-116 beats per minute

To find your heart rate, count the number of beats on your wrist or neck pulses for fifteen seconds, and then multiply that number by four. Try this when you are resting, when you are at the height of your workout, and while you are cooling down.

When first beginning an exercise program, you should be at the lower range of the heart rate zone. You can increase your heart rate as you become more accustomed to your exercise program. Always check with your doctor before
beginning any exercise routine.

How to Begin

Here are some suggestions for getting started in an exercise program.

 

Choose activities that you enjoy doing. See if there is any way you can increase the level of some of your current activities. For instance, if you regularly walk around the block, see if you can pick up your pace and keep it there
for 30 minutes.

Exercise regularly. It is true that muscles have memory, but don’t put that to the test! Pick something that fits easily into your schedule so you are more likely to keep up with it.

Begin slowly. Don’t jump into any exercise program.  Take a few weeks letting your body adjust to the exercises.

Vary your activities.  See if you can change your routine frequently so perhaps you are walking on Monday, biking on Wednesday and swimming on Friday. It can be as simple as having three or more different walks you take for a nice change of scenery.

Set specific goals.  Set specific timeframes for what you would like to accomplish and by when. If you don’t make your total goal, congratulate yourself for the parts you did achieve.  Look at the goals and see why they weren’t realistic and begin again.

Yeah, But…

· I cannot seem to keep off the weight.
· I always go back to my old ways.
· It is too hard to do all this.
· Why me?
· Blah, blah, blah.

Let’s face it, you have some issues.

Weight issues go hand in hand with sexual dysfunction or sexual fears, sexual abuse, fear of failure, fear of success, childhood trauma, overpowering adult figures while growing up and a host of other issues. There is no way to know exactly why you are not letting go of the weight, but chances are a professional can help you discover why.

Hypnotherapy
http://www.changeforgood.com/howtochange is one of the best ways to overcome ingrained behavior issues. You may want to consider this option before cognitive therapy since it can take less time and be more effective. No matter what the issue, there is a professional out there to help you http://www.changeforgood.com/

A Word of Advice: About Drugs

Be weary of anyone who offers a solution to your problem in pill form. Whether it is something to speed you up, suppress your appetite or bring you up (anti-depressants), it will not be a long-term solution. The odds are you will be back to the drawing board in a matter of time.

Real long-term solutions to weight issues have to do with a realistic approach to eating and a healthy self-image of the body combined with an active lifestyle.

The Impossible Dream

If you have been struggling with weight issues your whole life, you need to take some new direction on this issue. Don’t bother with more diets; they simply do not work. You will always lose muscle when you diet and put back on more fat. This is not about willpower and discipline. There are lots of disciplined overweight people in the world.

Summary:
(Cut this portion out and put it on the refrigerator.)

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to do the following:

1.  Keep your fat content under 20% of your overall dietary intake. So, read labels, and anything that is over 20% is OUT!
2.  Start an exercise routine (see above) and stick to it.
3.  Don’t stuff yourself, and only eat when you are hungry.
4.  If you have issues around being fit, seek professional help; don’t wait!
5.  Drink lots of water.
6.  See a doctor to make sure you don’t have some health condition (thyroid, Insulin).
7.  Learn how to relax and practice doing it everyday.
8.  Get good, restful sleep. Sleep at least seven to eight hours per night.
9.  Eat slowly. Eat smaller and more frequent meals, including healthy snacks between meals.
10.  IMAGINE having the body you desire. Do this everyday, all day long.

Remember: This is YOUR life and YOUR body!

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