Dieting is such an ugly word. Our society has developed into one that is not only obsessed with results, but by overnight, unrealistic results. There is nothing wrong with wanting results, but needing to lose 20 pounds in a week to fit in a dress or in a suit is beyond unrealistic, as should be obvious to everyone. Yet as a society we keep buying into unrealistic and unreasonable diets and products, and are further disappointed when they do not work, either in the short or medium term.
To feel good about dieting, certain elements need to be in place. You need to understand what dieting actually means, be realistic with your goals and gentle with yourself. You need to eat the proper food, do the right level of exercise and accept that things happen in their own time, and that if you’ve given them the attention they deserve, they will happen.
Understanding Dieting – Does dieting, for you, mean a certain level of starvation, and certainly deprivation of some kind? If so, you need to refocus your understanding of dieting on reality. The fact that if you want to permanently change who you are, on a physical level, you are going to need some equally permanent changes to your lifestyle, both in terms of what you eat as well as your level of activity. Just knowing that you finally know exactly what to do will make you feel great and relieve some of pressure you’d unknowingly put on yourself.
Establish Realistic Goals and Be Gentle – To put it in simple terms, you WILL NOT lose 20 pounds in a week to fit in a dress or a suit. Just to manage to get close to that would require almost total starvation, drinking very little liquid, and would only serve to put your body in starvation mode: you can be certain that the next week you would gain, in fat, more than what you lost. Putting your body and your mind through this kind of stress is neither pleasant nor healthy. Losing one or two pounds a week is absolutely feasible, and as the months pass you’ll notice a real, permanent difference that’s not based on hurting your body and lying to yourself.
Portion Control – We are biologically programmed to love fat and sugar, so they taste great to us. These nutrients are rich in immediately available energy, but unfortunately our more sedentary lifestyle can’t handle too much of them without making us fat. Denying yourself the food you love will make you miserable, so don’t. If you must eat fatty or sweet or generally unhealthy food, have it once in a while, and don’t eat so much that it would wreck your new lifestyle for a month!
Exercise Feels Great – I know what you’re thinking. Exercise doesn’t feel great, it makes me hurt everywhere! You’re right, but only in the short term. If you stick to it, you’ll discover that exercise actually stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, your body’s natural high! You’ll grow to love your exercise sessions, and each one will be easier than the preceding.
Eat the Right Food and Supplements – Eating certain types of foods and nutrients are statistically proven to make you happier, more content and generally increase your well-being. Omega-3 rich foods, and Omega-3 supplements, are such nutrients, proven to relieve the symptoms of depression. But simply eating a balanced diet and exercising will make you feel great, as your body rewards you for doing right by it.
Just as making the right choices in life can help you make your own luck, making the right choices as it comes to your health and your body through better nutrition and exercise brings its own rewards by allowing you to live a more active, happier and more fuller life.