The Inevitable Weight-Loss New Year’s Resolution

It’s hard to pass up this topic because so many people have weight-loss on their resolution list for the New Year’s.  The holidays allow us to be generous with our calorie-intake and all bets are off as the stress that comes with this only adds to the unchained melody.  As we wish to attain a physique that may or may not be attainable, maybe it’s time we look at the not-so-obvious factors that come with this seasonal frame of mind.  It’s easy and most obvious to give up the things that we enjoy and don’t really have ALL that too often like chocolate or pasta, but why do we turn to the simple pleasures in life once we get serious about weight-loss?  If the rest of your family gets to eat Momma’s Mouth-watering Million-calorie Mac & cheese, does that mean you can’t?  It’s kinda hard if you are the one making this yummy dish, don’t you think?  The sight, smell, or mere thought of this family favorite is only one of a handful of influences that go with the whole eating process.  Your brain and stomach physiologically lets you know that you are hungry.  Have you ever passed a restaurant and the lingering smell reminds you that you haven’t eaten yet?  Yep, also part of the process, it’s your body’s way of letting you know that it is on the hunt for food.  Cognitive influences play a major role in when and why you stop eating too.  Social situations make it hard to limit self-control as you can get caught up in the moment.  Guards go down, which makes it easier to rationalize eating more food then usual.  Speaking of rationalizing do you not “count” Momma’s Mouth-watering Million-calorie Mac & cheese or holiday meals because they are ‘special’ or once in a while things?  Yes we all do, that is why we are having this discussion right now.  The time of day, your perception of hunger and satiation, and even the mentality of cleaning your plate (because there are starving children in Africa) all attribute to how much you eat and why you continue to eat.  At some point you realize that you are full, or in the case of dieting you realize that you may actually be starving; then the whole process starts again.

So before you start your new diet remember to think REALISTIC.  Ok, so you want to lose 20 pounds, great!  Just know that drastically cutting calories, restricting yourself to foods that you do not like, and definitely cutting out life’s little enjoyments all affect the psychological aspect of what your new diet entails.  And have you thought about what you are going to do once you get to your goal weight?  That’s why a lot of people gain it right back: there is no maintenance plan for keeping the weight off.  Once you realize the real work is keeping off the weight you lose, then you can begin to make changes.  A diet that is going to work for you is one that fits in with your daily life.  If you do not cook or are always on the go, for example, it may be hard to prepare something healthy and fast.  Having whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals on hand can make the not quite Betty Crockers make the best choices when fixing foods or On-the-go Joes who simply don’t have the time to prepare anything.  If you are like most people on diets, STARVING, then load your meals with lean protein (fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, eggs, and beans), high-fiber grains (whole wheat pastas and breads, oats, barley, and popcorn), and healthy fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados to keep you full til your next meal.  If you are an emotional eater, then keep healthy snacks around like yogurt, trail mix, string cheese, and fruit for when a bout of boredom, stress, or other mental craving his you.  The object here is to change the relationship you have with food.  And like any relationship you should know what ticks you off, what your weaknesses are, and what pleases you.  By knowing what triggers your eating habits, why you fail at keeping ‘on the program’ wagon, and the food reward systems you allow yourself then you can replace the concept of exploiting what you can or cannot eat with a balanced and sensible transformation of the moderation of food.

So hit the ground running not with a plan for a diet this new year, but for a relationship readjustment with food.  Know that guilt, emotional eating, and enjoying sweet or salty pleasures are part of how a normal human being processes the intake of food.  Pull strength from within to find will power, control, and accountability for the true happiness you are looking for and you’ll never have to make diet a New Year’s resolution again.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fat Burning Tips
    Mar 14, 2010 @ 09:08:36

    Nice point of view. It’s ok to eat these kinds of foods once in a while in small quantities just have regular exercise to burn thses excess calories.

    Reply

    • amandaholst
      Mar 14, 2010 @ 14:09:24

      I agree. Everything in moderation is the key. Being physically active also helps maintain a healthy weight. Thanks for responding.

      Reply

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