Every new year most people have the same health resolution: lose weight. In America we keep seeing these resolutions every year because thousands of people fail at this common goal. I've told my weight loss story before, but I'm not sure if emphasized why I feel it worked and stuck. I never gained 30lbs back.
I feel like it worked because I wasn't trying to lose weight at all. Let me explain...
There's a lot of evidence to suggest thinking negatively about your goals is detrimental for actually accomplishing them. Your subconscious thoughts "program" your life. Constantly weighing yourself and beating yourself, punishing yourself for every calorie you eat, what a horrible way to try to lose weight! Of course rebound is common when the term "lose weight" by itself is negative, making you feel bad about yourself and your progress, daring you to just give up and give in.
When I started my health journey I didn't make it about weight loss at all. I'd accepted my weight, I wasn't 100% comfortable with it, but I didn't punish myself at all for it. I set about changing my lifestyle because I wanted to transform my health. I cooked whole, unprocessed foods at home and enjoyed it. I had lentil and veggie soups, oatmeal with cinnamon, whatever I felt like as long as it was whole and unprocessed. I never stepped on the scale, I didn't care. Not long into eating like this co-workers commented that I was losing weight but I didn't believe them because nothing ever worked for me before. I'd only ever-so-slowly gained weight since high school. It wasn't until all my clothes were lose, my skin was finally clear and break-out free (after a stubborn 2-3 year break-out) and I could fit "wishful thinking" one-day-I'll-fit-these-clothes that I realized what I'd wanted for years, weight loss, finally happened.
I didn't struggle, suffer, berate myself, weight myself, or go hungry once for it.
After the initial weight loss I was excited to make additional changes. Over the years since I tried more restrictive diets where I'd feel hungry, some recommended by trained professionals. I now have certifications in nutrition, aromatherapy, reiki, and clinical herbalism. I've talked to hundreds of people about making their lives healthier via my new store and selling herbal ware at outdoor markets. I can and will recommend specific tips that improve health. But I can honestly say those restrictive diets didn't work. I always gained the weight back, not back to my "starting" size before the lifestyle change, but if I lost an additional 10-15lbs, I slowly came back after stopping the restrictive, measured, frequent-weighing lifestyle. BUT if made the "switch" about eating more delicious oranges between meals, or trying a fun new dancing exercise class, something positive, I'd see noticeable differences and keep the weight off.
The first thing to change for better health is practicing changing negative thoughts for positive ones.
If you're trying to lose weight for yet another year in a row, make it about addition and not subtraction. About fun and not deprivation. Try exciting new recipes and ingredients, make it about changing your lifestyle for the better so you have improved energy to accomplish all the things you want in life. Hide your scale. Accept yourself, don't punish yourself. For all the recipes you like, there are healthy alternatives. I have a long list here and there are thousands more on the web. This was initially going to be a list of things you can do to aid weight loss but there's so many of those already (I even have one here), but I feel like making it about positivity and addition of exciting, equally delicious "healthier" food and subtraction of bad ones is the healthiest first step.
If you have any fun tips of recipes to share, please do e-mail me or share in the comments. I'm resolved to making this a year of getting back to making cooking fun after making only rushed 1-pot dishes like I did last year!