Losing Weight, the right way!

I have been overweight most of my life and have found losing weight always difficult.

The most frustrating thing about the whole weight loss process is that is seems so unfair. My weight has always been about 6–12 kilos (13–26 pounds) above normal. I would consider my eating habits as quite normal and I’ve always been quite sporty since school. What boggled me is how others could eat, drink and exercise disproportionately but still never put-on weight.

Well the scientific answer to that is metabolism, the emotional answer to that is — that’s life!

Diets don’t work

In my journey to lose weight, I’ve tried different diets and exercise regimes and they’ve all worked but only for a limited time. It was only when I started working on my mind and heart that I really started losing weight.

Diet is the food that our mind tells us we need to eat. In today’s world, our food choices are driven less by nutrition but more by emotional. An urge for a piece of New York Cheesecake is more driven by an emotional need rather than a nutritional one.

We are since childhood hardwired to emotionally grave food. Then when we need to lose weight we are told to emotionally suppress our urges. But what we need to do is change the hardwiring rather than suppress it. Because emotions when suppressed just come back stronger.

So the more we “diet”, the more we are driven to eat. In fact, every time we hold back, we are telling ourselves that we don’t deserve the food in front of us. What that does is that it triggers our ego to push harder to get the very same thing, creating a viscious circle that’s just waiting to explode. So that’s why when we stop — all the weight comes right back on.

It was almost about a month back that I started to notice that I’ve been losing weight without really trying.

So here’s how the change came about —

I started taking care of myself emotionally. I started accepting and loving myself the way I am. I began taking time out for the things I love.

When you love, understand and yourself more — you’ll need less from the outside world to satisfy you. The lesser sadder/confused emotions that come into your life the lesser emotionally uplifting food you’ll need to eat.

Earlier, I would beat myself not just about my weight but about everything. As a child I was taught that doing well was all about pushing yourself; and pushing yourself to be better was all about being bad to yourself. Being tough on yourself might work for a few short spurts of excellence in your life. For example, a few years of training for a particular goal — but your weight is something you need to manage and is with you all your life.

So the key is to find a lifestyle that is sustainable rather than suppressive.

These are the few things I changed in my life that helped bring about this change:

  1. Started meditating daily and a lot — Meditation has always been part of my life and it was something I am truly driven for. I just recognized this drive and have worked out my life such that I wake up early every day to meditate. For someone else, it could be running, reading etc. but what’s important is making sure that you always do what you truly love because our days are full of things we don’t like but need to deal with. Doing what you love for a bit if not for the whole day, will be your salvation. It’s like feeding yourself love and that’s calorie free.
  2. I relax — Earlier relaxation was considered evil. A characteristic only to be found in the weak. How wrong I was — (truly) relaxing is very important for our well-being and our growth. Now, there’s a subtle difference between being lazy and relaxing. Laziness is when you don’t do the things you should when you can or need to. Relaxation is what you do when you’ve done what you needed to do. For every challenge in your life, pencil in some relax time as well.
  3. Loving yourself is forgiving yourself — I never beat myself up when I screw up. I just learn and move on from the situation forgiving myself instantaneously. When we beat ourselves we lower our conscience level. A lower conscience level leads to us performing at our minimal levels. Like Albert Einstein said — “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” A lower conscience level amplifies the problem because the mind is just not able to think how to solve it. You will feel defeated finding it more difficult to make the right choice.
  4. I cook — It’s very difficult to lose weight (and more importantly be healthy) with food cooked by others for you. It’s OK when eaten once in a while but almost impossible when done regularly. Even if you find a healthy alternate it’s difficult. Are bodies have different requirements, cheese might work great on your pizza but it’s only you who knows what’s the amount you need on your pizza. Why eat 20% — 30% extra of an ingredient when you can do with less?
  5. I very rarely overeat — Working with meditation and spiritual studies I am learning to build happy days for myself. Overeating takes about 5 mins but it affects me for the next 2 hours. It slows me down, makes me more lethargic. Sensibly speaking, we should never overeat but we still do! If you’re having problems controlling what you eat — accept that to begin with and then incorporate other external factors that might help — use smaller plates, get comfortable leaving food on your plate, share your food, don’t watch TV while eating.
  6. Study food — It’s only when you study food can the world stop screwing you over. Coca-cola has phosphoric acid as a key ingredient. The same acid is used to remove rust from iron-rodes. Would you scrape rust of a pole and drink it? Studying food can be very uplifting and exciting. Discovering ingredients that help you is amazing. Use food to heal yourself — you might have a muscle injury, low immunity, skin problems, greying hair etc. Whatever it is, nothing can replace the benefits of food to solve our health problems.
  7. Eat Dinner early — In fact eat dinner really early. I live in Spain where the usual dinner time is 9pm. I try and eat my last meal around 6pm. The reason being that at night the lesser you eat the better you sleep, you detox the body and you’ll see a significant improvement in your health. Following Ayurveda (ancient Indian science on life), we should eat our meals as per the sun’s cycle. Eating late at night, affects our sleep cycle and many at times it’s what results in us feeling unrested even after sleeping a good deal the previous night. But eating dinner late at night, should never be an excuse to overeat. Eat knowing that you’ll be hungry before sleeping. It takes some getting used to but once you do you’ll see a marked improvement in your life, health and weight.

Making small improvements in your lifestyle can make losing weight so much easier. Sure it’s a slower process but once you’re hooked it’s sustainable and long lasting. Good Luck!

This post has originally been published on my blog vaib.co. You can reach me via my twitter handle @vaibpuri

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