The Routine Weight Loss Regime
Anyone who has tried losing weight knows that with some differences, the formula is the same: eat different, add exercise. However, we are not machines who can just follow an algorithm. Human complexity means that we have thoughts and emotions each minute of the day, many of which can affect our motivation. Much of weight loss is about fighting old habits rather than fighting food/exercise.
There are actually three different types of eating – external eating, physical hunger and emotional eating (Abramson, 2006).
External eating means you eat not because you are hungry but because the situation calls for it – either it’s the time of the day, a social ritual (popcorn with movies), or the taste or smell of food in the surroundings, celebrations, and accompanying habits (watching TV or reading was only done with eating so far).
Physical hunger is eating when you are actually hungry.
Emotional eating is to eat out of anger, fear, happiness, or pain.
Similarly, there are some reasons why motivation to exercise slackens: feeling bad about yourself compared to other people at the gym/fitness studio, having an unrealistic exercise routine, working out in ways you don’t like, not having a fitness buddy, and so on.
Therefore, it is not a simple linear relationship between your weight loss goal and your weight loss strategy. An important factor is your emotional/psychological health. Therefore, your weight-loss strategy should factor your emotions and feelings in it. Below are some helpful tips:
Find out what sort of an eater you are. For both external and emotional eating, list down what cues in the environment and what emotions make you eat. You can then watch out for these and prepare better.
Put Everything Behind and Make a Plan
Some good ways of preparing for such situations are:
- to have an internal dialogue with yourself about your level of hunger, and to pick the healthiest option possible.
- If you are going to a place where you are doubtful of finding healthy options, carry some with yourself – a fruit, multigrain snacking options and so on.
- Choose a form of exercise you love and start with doing it 3 times a day and increase the frequency only if your timetable allows. Try increasing the intensity instead. It’s more important to be consistent with your exercise – do it 3 times each week – than to do immeasurable amounts of it.
- Have an indulge day every now and then – but do it smartly. Don’t fill yourself with desert but have it after a nutritious meal.
- If you have two options that don’t qualify as traditionally healthy, go for the one with more nutrients. For example, a paratha and a slice of pizza have the same amount of calories but paratha has more nutrition.
- Lastly, try eating without distractions. Do this when you eat healthy AND when you indulge. You will notice that you eat lesser and enjoy more, thus feeling fuller with less quantity. Research shows that you can eat between 20 to 50 percent more when eating along with an activity. Overeating is highly possible when with a group of people, or with smaller items that are difficult to quantify – like nuggets and other starters.
It may be hard to do so in such an atmosphere but try to stay tuned to your hunger level and quantity had. So, there you go – think smarter, feel better and lose the excess!
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