In a given week I receive at least 25-30 inquiries about weight loss-related products and programs. These include questions about fat-melting pills, herbs, starch blockers, fiber pills, appetite suppression, meal replacements, diet programs and gastric bypass.
The reason for the inquiries is that there are so many overweight people who are looking for a solution to their problem, and many of them have been convinced that the solution is either a product or program they have not tried yet.
The solution, however, is not a product or a “program.” It is, rather, learning a different way of living. If you are 50 pounds overweight, the reason is that you have developed and are practicing the lifestyle habits of a person who is 50 pounds overweight. Becoming normal weight and healthy simply involves adopting the lifestyle and dietary patterns of people who are normal weight and healthy. I include “healthy” as an important criteria since there are so many ways in which to become thin while destroying your health.
Most overweight people have become quite frustrated while attempting to achieve ideal weight and body composition. This is a direct result of doing one temporary thing after another. Drugs, supplements, and most weight loss programs result in temporary weight loss while you are taking the drugs, supplements and sticking with the programs. These methods generally do not involve taking a serious inventory of your behavior and habits and making significant change. As soon as you return to “normalcy,” the weight comes back and you have to start over again. Many people have been trying to lose the same 50 pounds for 20 years, and, in fact, have done so many times.
Another path that results in frustration is trying to look for an easier way to achieve your goal. There is no substitute for permanent diet and lifestyle change, and many people work far harder at trying to avoid the work necessary to make appropriate changes than they would have if they had just done the right things from the beginning.
Still another way in which people encounter frustration is to do the right things for a while, slip back and then start over again. They eat well, exercise, lose weight and improve their health and then slide back to old habits and have to start over again. There are varying degrees of this behavior, ranging from a weekend of “bad” behavior to weeks or months at a time. The right changes in diet and lifestyle may take place, but the same pattern of weight loss and re-gain continues. There are lots of reasons for this that include emotional eating, lack of planning, and just lack of discipline.
If you really are sick and tired of being overweight and have decided that this is it – you’re going to do this right once and for all – here are the things you need to do:
1. Make the Decision!
In order to achieve your optimal weight and body composition, you are going to have to decide that this is a priority. This means more than giving lip service to the idea of changing your habits. You really have to decide that this is important, that you are finished making excuses and that you intend to do what it takes. This can be harder than it seems.
But what will make it even harder for you is making the same decision over and over again, and re-living the first 30-60 days over and over too. Eliminate words like “try” and phrases such as “we’ll see how this goes”- and decide, follow through, and stick with your new way of life!
2. Learn the Diet and Lifestyle Habits of Thin, Healthy People!
Losing weight permanently and healthfully involves converting to a plant-based diet. The less animal food you consume, and the more plant food you consume, the faster you’ll lose weight. Most people lose weight when they convert to Wellness Forum-style eating, which allows for some animal foods and fat consumption of 10-15%.
However, becoming a low-fat vegan will result in maximum results in the shortest period of time. Vegans consume no animal foods, and although a vegan diet is not required in order to maintain optimal health, it will cause you to lose pounds quickly.
The Wellness Forum Permanent Weight Loss Program is a low-fat vegan diet. It will cause you to lose weight even in the absence of exercise (although we do not advocate being sedentary for long!). How long you will need to stay on this plan depends on how much weight you need to lose.
3. Set Yourself up for Success
At some time in the very near future, you are going to have to get rid of unhealthy foods in your house. For those who think this is a terrible imposition on other family members, it is one of the best things you can do for them – they do not benefit from eating junk any more than you do, regardless of whether or not the unhealthy eating has resulted in a weight problem.
Set a deadline during the next few days by which you will have removed all of the “bad” food from your house. Then get rid of it. Replace it with healthier options that fit in with your plan.
5. Establish a Support System
You will need a support system in order to accomplish your weight loss goals. There are several options – you can do this with a friend or group of friends. You can take part in The Wellness Forum’s Accelerated Weight Loss Program and get personalized telephone coaching, conference calls and email follow-up. You can join organizations, such as your local vegetarian society, which are generally populated with people who try to eat well. Whatever you choose, do not choose to do this alone. You will need help and support to be successful.
6. Get Honest!
Many people think they are doing much better than they are when it comes to diet and exercise. Success in this program requires honesty with one’s self. Start by keeping a journal of what you eat and drink, as well as your daily exercise activities. Then, reconcile your activities with your knowledge of what it takes to achieve dietary excellence, optimal health, weight, and body composition. The purpose of this activity is not to beat yourself up over your failures, but rather to take an honest look at what you are doing in order to make constructive changes.
7. Make the Time
Changing your habits will require an investment of time – time to get the education you need, and time to implement the recommendations you learn about. Some people believe that they don’t have time, but people make time to do the things they think are important. And, people invariably will make time to deal with serious illness when it occurs. So, why not make the time to lose the weight that places you at serious risk for degenerative disease instead of waiting until it happens and then carving out time?
Another issue here is that time invested in achieving and maintaining optimum health generally will result in more time available to do other things due to increases in energy and efficiency and decreases in sleep requirements.
8. Be Prepared
Preparation is needed in order to sustain your habits in all of the situations in which you’ll find yourself. You’ll need to bring food with you when you travel, have healthy options available at your office so you’re not tempted to purchase unhealthy snacks and meals, and you’ll need to invest time in planning meals, making grocery lists and shopping for food. The good news is that you’ll save a lot of money by doing this, since some of the worst decisions most people make are convenience foods and foods purchased at the last minute.
9. Take a Long-Term Approach
In an effort to avoid the pain of change, or the thought of feeling “deprived” many people suffer a lifetime of pain – pain resulting from degenerative disease, lack of self-esteem that results from being overweight, and other problems.
Achieving normal weight and optimal health requires taking a longer-term view of your life. Instead of thinking about what would make you happy for the next few minutes, think about how happy you might be for the next several years if you felt good about your appearance, could wear the clothes you want to wear, and had adequate energy every day. And, remember that the discomfort you feel will not last once your habits and tastes have changed.
10. Learn to Embrace Change
Most people are resistant to change. It is uncomfortable and it requires “reprogramming.” And, there are some people who, although they consciously want to be lean and healthy, have psychological reasons for hanging onto weight. If this is the case, you may need to seek counseling, or other opportunities for examining these issues.
Do spend some time figuring out which of these issues pertains to you and how you intend to deal with them during the next several months. Take the next page and do so.
In summary, like so many things in life, there are no shortcuts when it comes to weight loss. But the rewards of doing the right thing far outweigh the immediate gratification resulting from making poor choices.