You’ll read hundreds of opinions and theories about diets and losing weight over your life. I studied at least 100 different dietary theories in school. There’s science, there’s opinion, and the funny thing about science is you can still find things to back up every side. If you google “is caffeine good for you,” there are articles. If you google “is caffeine bad for you,” there.. are.. articles.
If losing weight or stepping into more optimal health is one of your 2022 goals, I want to share with you some things to consider.
These are my opinions based on my personal biodiversity and what I’ve learned over the past 9 years of studying health.
The majority of us don’t like being told what to do and when we are, we want to rebel. Being told you can’t have something, makes you want it more or creates a guilt and shame cycle for whenever you do indulge or “slip up.” Once guilt or shame gets introduced into dieting, it creates a dissonance between who we are and who we want to be. We believe we are bad or unloveable where we are now. And that we won’t be good until we get to our goal or unless we eat “perfectly” all the time. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the undertone playing behind the scenes in our subconscious. And guess what? None of this is true. You’re perfect and loveable as you are right and this moment, and you will still be 20, 50, or 100 pounds lighter.
“Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough.”Brené Brown
We’ll get more into self-love, but to start… try not restricting yourself. Yes, maybe cutting out sugar or dairy or gluten or fast food or soda would be beneficial for your weigth loss journey. It would definitely be beneficial for health, but it’s not going to make your journey remotely enjoyable if you walk in taking away 10 of your favorite foods. You’ll immediately feel like you’re being punished.
So my recommendation is always addition. Start by adding things into your diet. It’s always more fruits and vegetables and more whole foods. But start there. If you are in a routine of eating certain things, start adding in a green smoothie everyday. Put an entire salads worth of kale or spinach in a blender and drown it out with fruit. Personally, pineapple, mango or peaches tend to cut the flavor of “green” the most in my opinion. If you’re making pasta, throw some broccoli or zucchini or spinach in with it. Start changing your habits by seeing what you can add to your life not what you can take away.
- Add a green smoothie
- Add vegetables to every meal
- Add 3-4 days of exercise a week
- Get outside everyday
Flexing & Heavy Weights.
There are 2500 different disclaimers that I need to put with this before I dive in. If you are going to be lifting weights, ANY weights, please please please study form. Go on YouTube and look up the correct form of different exercises. Ask a physical trainer, even get a physical trainer. When you are lifting weights, and especially as you increase the weight, it is so important that you have the correct form. You can seriously hurt any (and I emphasize any – I have strained some WEIRD muscles) part of your body by lifting incorrectly.
Also, never do more than you can handle. You will do more harm to your body trying to life 40 pounds incorrectly than lifting 10 pounds correctly. And there’s a good chance you won’t build muscle the way you want to because you’re not lifting correctly.
I need to preface that I am not a physical trainer, but I have been lifting weights for 18 years. What I am sharing is what has worked for me, and if you haven’t tried it yet, it may help. It may also not be for you.
I’ve always hated cardio. Always. I don’t know that it will ever be something I truly enjoy. There are studies about how cardio is and isn’t the best way for you to lose weight. So this section is if you’ve tried it (or hate it) and it hasn’t worked. Strength and resistance training are some different methods to losing weight or achieving the body that you desire. For the science behind it, strength and resistance training burns fat and increases lean mass (muscle).
You can do 3 sets of 15 weighted sit ups and start growing the muscles in your abdomen OR you can do 100 weight free sit ups… Really it’s up to you, but I personally would rather go in and do less to achieve the same results. If you’re just starting out and lifting light, the best way to start going up in weight is to flex the entire rep. So if you are doing a curl, flex the muscles in your arm as you lift the weight. If you don’t want to get to a place where you life heavy or you’re nervous to, this is the trick for gaining muscle while lifting light. FLEX. And then prepare to be really sore your first week. After the first week, it WILL get better. I promise.
Shifting Your Patterns.
Diets only work if you’re approaching it with shifting your habits and patterns. If you begin dieting only to resume your previous eating habits, there’s a good chance the weight you lost will return just as quickly as you lost it. You see what’s not working, and now, you want to do something to change it.
We live in a world of instant gratification. But instant gratification and health do not go hand in hand. Your body is with you your entire life. Your health dictates some of how you move through that life. If not now, definitely when you’re older. Becoming aware of your habits now and understanding the why behind them, will set you up for success in the future.
Loving your body and what you put into it. Have fun. The funny thing about losing weight is if you don’t learn to love yourself, you’ll still hate yourself 50 pounds lighter and create body dysmorphia in the process. Thin enough will never be enough or you’ll become so obsessed with looking an unattainable way.
As humans, we take on this “I’ll be happy when” mindset which creates a cycle of happiness always eluding us. Learn to be happy now. Learn to love yourself in the body you have now. Can you walk? Can you see or hear? Do you heal from illness? You have more than some people. Step into gratitude for what you have now and what your body does for you. That will help shift your awareness away from what you hate or want to change.
Another way to love your body is to listen to it. It always tells you what it wants and needs, you just need to get quiet enough to listen. That’s either in meditation asking what it needs or paying attention to the thoughts that continue to show up. If you keep thinking “I need to stop drinking.” or “I should stop eating so much sugar.” There’s a really great chance that’s your body communicating with you until you get the hint and listen.
Living the life we desire always starts with us. How we view the world around us during that process starts with our minds. Part of physical health is also mental health. Learn to love yourself first, and it will make all of your goals easier and more fun to attain.