It’s not for everyone; that’s certain. But some of us reach a point when enough is enough. In fact it’s more than enough. We’re fed up with lugging around pounds and pounds of excess body fat.
We yearn for that lean feeling around our midsection, instead of a bulge of flab. We want to stride along with a sense of power and enjoyment of the body we inhabit. We wish to feel vibrant and ready for fun. We want our partner to eye us with a twinkle in their eye. Or perhaps we’d like to feel attractive enough to draw into our life the sort of partner we desire. We choose decades of pleasurable retirement, rather than poor health due to obesity and the related heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and even premature death. (1) We look forward to knowing our grandchildren as they grow.
What does ruthless, relentless reduction in our weight involve?
In truth, it really does mean a change. There’s no getting around this fundamental truth.
Here are some foundations for an effective plan to truly reduce or eliminate the cushion of fat that covers up the fit, lean body that is buried inside.
*We decide that ridding ourselves of excess weight is top priority in our life for a significant stretch of time. Changing one’s habits takes time and energy, over an extended period. We figure out a way to put other matters aside. We allow this to be our number one activity and focus — for as long as it takes.
* Perhaps our activity level was reduced due to illness, or during a time of enforced sedentary living. Maybe weight was gained during pregnancy and never lost. Perhaps we added about a pound of body fat each year since high school. Our most realistic approach will allow us to lose a pound or two of weight per week.
*We develop an eating plan that allows us to shed pounds yet is nutritionally adequate, supplying us with enough protein, vitamin, minerals, and essential fats.
*We fill up on plant foods, and often eat them raw. We stack our plate with salad, and go easy on the dressing. We dine on high protein, low fat foods such as lentil, split pea, or bean soups. Our TV snacks are cherry tomatoes, celery, carrot sticks, red pepper strips, and similar crudités.
*We treat ourselves to foods that are absolutely delicious, yet are entirely nutritious and fit within our long term goals. We splurge on papaya or other favorite fruits, and organic veggies. The way we enjoy foods begins to change.
*We allow ourselves to live with a slightly hungry feeling. Not starving; not desperate and ravenous; not hypoglycemic to the point of desperation and panic. Just slightly underfed, rather than filled up to bursting at meal times.
*We make water our beverage of choice; all the time. Our water bottle is our constant companion, in the car, at the gym, beside the computer, in front of the TV. Sometimes for a treat, in the form of a warming herbal tea or a black, unsweetened coffee, or soda water with ice cubes at a party. But basically, it’s water, and entirely calorie-free.
*We enroll our family and friends in being part of our weight loss support system. We ask those we know are planning gifts for us not to give chocolates any more. Instead we put on our wish list a CD, tickets to the movie, or an odometer for our bicycle.
*We tell people that our social life involves activity. Instead of meeting over calorie-laden coffees and fancy cakes, we visit while walking along the sea wall, hiking, cycling, or going out dancing.
1. Reference. Adams et al. Overweight, obesity, and mortality in a large prospective cohort of persons 50 to 71 years old. N Engl J Med. 2006 Aug 24;355(8):763-78.
Vesanto Melina, is a Registered Dietitian and co-author of nutrition classics. For more on weight management, see chapters in The New Becoming Vegetarian (US title), Becoming Vegetarian (Canadian title), and Becoming Vegan. Vesanto is based in Langley BC and regularly consults for people who wish to improve their health, effectively control their weight, or are in dietary transition. Web: www.nutrispeak.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Phone: 604-882-6782.