How to Lose Weight Permanently

If you can stand any more of this advice.

New year. New body. At least, that’s the theory.

We go in hard, dieting, sweating and mentally beating ourselves up in search of the Body Beautiful. And all because the mega-rich diet industry has fooled us into believing the perfect body holds the key to lasting happiness.

That when you can squeeze into those skinny jeans all will be well. That cutting calories is a loftier goal than building a meaningful Life.

It’s a clever deception. No wonder they’re rich.

As a psychologist, I don’t support the obsessive, sometimes dangerous, demands people place on themselves to look a certain way, to conform to ideals laid down by a society obsessed with physical appearance. But it’s also deceptive to tell yourself to “love what you’ve got” if it’s an unhealthy size and it prevents you from functioning well and from doing things you would enjoy, with people you love.

If that’s you — if you’re short on strength, energy, flexibility and the ability to physically have fun — it’s time to act.

Here’s a three-point plan to help:

Identify WHY you want to lose weight. Write it down. The reason must be meaningful. If it doesn’t mean enough to you, you’ll fail. Perhaps not in the short term but over time. That’s why people can often lose weight for an important event — and start to regain as soon as the event is over.
COMMIT to doing things things differently (with food and activity). Doing more of the same will bring you more of the same, faster. This is too obvious to lecture you about, so I won’t.
Find and name your HOT SPOTS. In other words, your Food Weaknesses. We all have them. Chocolate? Chips? Cake? Take out? These are things you eat too much of, too often.

Use these three questions to help you:

  • I have a soft spot for (add food type and quantities)
  • I most often eat poorly (add time and day)
  • I eat unhealthily when I feel (identify emotion).

Once you know the answers to these questions — you have acknowledged them and written them down, you just need to put a strategy in place to counter each of them. For example, if evening chocolate is your hotspot then don’t have it in the house, replace what you eat in the evenings with something else, plan something interesting to do at that time. If boredom, for example, is an emotional trigger, then address why you’re so bored.

Finally, don’t listen to all the lies. There’s a reason the diet-industry is a multi-billion dollar one, and growing. People will try to trick you. They will tell you their diet is The One, that you only need to cut sugar or carbs or fat or meat or get more sleep or reduce stress or whatever, you are on your way to body nirvana.

You’re not. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to lasting weight loss. But if you reduce your food intake (most important) and you become more active, you will lose weight. You don’t have to run a marathon or become a gym bunny, you just have to eat less and move more than you have been. A daily walk is fine, if you stay with it.

Remember, food is not your enemy. It’s just a thing lying on a plate or hanging out in a bag — it doesn’t want you to obsess about it, nor is it looking to attack you, so don’t hand it the power. Just let it be food.

Most of all, aim to create the Life you want, not the Body.

Too many people pin their hopes and dreams on something they don’t yet have. A new job. A new relationship. Most of all, a different (slimmer) body.

The simple truth is that Happiness is not hiding inside a pair of skinny jeans. So give yourself a break and stop looking there.

If this approach appeals, you might like to check out My Bum Looks Brilliant in This (the one true secret of lasting weight loss) If you enjoyed this article, hit the heart button. It means a lot and it helps other readers to find it. If you want to talk more message me on Facebook, tweet me, or visit karen@onthecouch.co.nz

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