Losing Weight? It’s not just about diet and exercise

I often meet with people who are looking to lose some weight, but fail to do the work in changing actual habits.

We live in a world that we want results quick. I still see those infomercials about garcinia cambogia, and how you will supposedly “melt fat in 36 hours” etc. People will spend thousands of dollars on weight loss programs and challenges because they want instant results. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is if you change your lifestyle. Not just your eating habits. Not just your exercise routine. Your lifestyle.

There’s always a psychological connection to our behaviours and habits. When we understand them we are more equipped to control what we do.

If you find yourself eating well all day long, and then drink a bottle of wine or eat a box of chocolates, or keep picking at supper’s leftovers until bed, nothing is going to change. Or if you wake up, skip breakfast, drink an XL coffee, and have good eating habits the rest of the day, again nothing will change.

Ask yourself why you’re eating late at night. Ask yourself why you’re not hungry in the morning. I promise, more often than not from an outsider looking in, these habits are super easy to break, but it’s actually understanding our behaviours ourselves first and discovering the root cause, and making the changes necessary to create good habits, that we need to focus on.

When you simply replace one thing with another, the habit is still there. If you’re a diabetic, going from soda to diet soda, doesn’t change the habit that your body thinks it needs to consume something sweet. I see this from people who suffer from dairy sensitivities. They want to replace the craving of a glass of cow’s milk, and aren’t satisfied with a glass of almond milk for instance. However the sugar content in a class of cow’s milk is about 12g or one chocolate chip cookie. Therefore, naturally, incomparable to one cup of unsweetened almond milk with a sugar content of 0g. So what the person is actually craving is sugar. And science has shown us, just how addictive sugar is. We also crave certain tastes because we are nutrient-deficient. When we understand where those deficiencies are and how to support them, then we can have a better chance at breaking those old bad habits that don’t serve us well.

Tips to create long lasting healthful habits for diet, exercise and self care:

1) Drink warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar (the one found in health stores, not in the vinegar aisle at the grocery store) diluted with water first thing in the morning. This supports the liver and gall bladder’s natural cleansing process.

2) Try to exercise in the morning before you eat, even if it’s only 10 minutes, as long as you are moving. This doesn’t have to be one-hour gym session comparable that you might do after work. Just move. Push-ups, yoga, jumping jacks, whatever – just move your body. This helps so much on a hormonal level for both men and woman, and supports a healthy metabolism.

3) Eat something hearty, but easy to digest for breakfast. Our carbohydrates like fruit should be eaten in the morning. So think smoothies, smoothie bowls, oatmeal, eggs done any way, toast with nut butters, nutrient dense pancakes, etc. Balance complex carbohydrates and natural sugars with protein to help stabilize blood sugar and increase muscle synthesis. From a calorie perspective, eat the most amount of calories in the morning and lunch and have it taper off throughout the day. Supper should be the smallest meal of the day! Lunch can be heavier on the vegetables, healthy pastas, whole grains and meats, and supper can be a smaller portion of vegetables like steamed broccoli, asparagus and sweet potatoes, and meat like baked cold water fish, or grilled chicken. If you eat too little protein in the morning and consume most of your protein at night, your body is forced to oxidize and store protein as glucose or fat at night instead of using it for muscle building during the waking and active hours of your day.

4) Try getting used to not consuming cold beverages while you eat. I always ask for no ice in my beverages at restaurants. Cold drinks slow digestion to a halt which results in fatigue after eating, bloating and constipation. Not to mention anything cold isn’t great for your spleen. Better yet, drink warm tea or warm water with lemon, just before eating a meal, or a half-hour afterwards to help with digestion.

5) Always make room for self-care and self-improvement. This looks different for everyone. For busy moms, this might mean and uninterrupted bath in the evening. For people driving equipment all day, this might be a yoga session to stretch out your body, for those on a computer or constantly problem solving, this might be meditation or a massage. For those working outdoors in the cold, this might mean a relaxing time in a sauna. Or maybe you need an hour to yourself to work on some goals, or be with like-minded people.

This shouldn’t be reserved for just once a week. Find time every single day for your passions, and don’t let anyone disprove of that quality time. As long as it doesn’t interfere with your home and work responsibilities, this time is essential to our growth and our mental health.

When we are fulfilled in all areas of our life because we have established good healthy routines, then everything falls into place. So many people try out our yoga classes because they want to lose weight, get stronger or get flexible. Great goals to have and no doubt they achieve them with regular practice, but it’s the message that we give that people subconsciously want. The message that you’re good enough, you deserve everything your heart desires, and that you’re not alone in feeling anxious or sad sometimes. These are the very reasons people start a program, to try and “medicate” their root problems. When you ask yourself what the root problem is and understand or seek support on how to get through it, the burden of needing to meet these physical goals is lifted.

Aim for a positive well-rounded lifestyle and I promise the results will come.

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