Are you desperate to drop pounds? Tried the latest fad diet plan only to find yourself reverting back to your old habits and regaining all the weight back? Think you're the only one who does not have the will power to lose the weight? The reality is you're not alone. Most people who embark on a diet don't have long term success! Why? Because they choose a diet program that is unrealistic to their current habits and is not sustainable for life.
The Cabbage Soup Diet
I'm just using the cabbage soup diet as an example of something that is unrealistic and unsustainable for life. At one time this diet plan was all the rage. But like all fads it came and went and in its wake it left a lot of people disappointed because they gained all their weight back and maybe some extra. Why? Because you are not going to have a bowl of cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday for the rest of your life! Cabbage soup is good and nutritious but you're going to quickly grow bored of it and begin to hate it. What would have been a good meal one time during the week is now a bad memory and you won't ever put your lips to it again.
4 Keys to Successful Long Term Weight Loss!
To be successful in long term weight loss, and lead you to proper weight management, you need to develop habits that can be incorporated into your lifestyle. You need to set yourself up for success by cultivating a habit around something that you are already doing. You sleep, you drink, you get angry and disappointed and you like to reward yourself. These 4 keys will help you cultivate a habit around each one of these items while relating it to long term weight loss.
Key 1 - Sleep!
You sleep so let's see how this affects your weight. We'll start by giving you some documented research on sleep:
o Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center discovered that people who logged five hours of sleep a night were 60 percent more likely to be significantly overweight than those who slept seven to nine hours. They found that sleep deprivation alters the levels of leptin and gherilin which are hormones that regulate appetite resulting in increased hunger.
o The journal Obesity Reviews posted an article stating that the more hours you're awake, the more you'll eat. They estimated that a one hour increase in sleep would cut caloric intake by 6% or an average of 120 calories.
o Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association has suggested that sleep loss increases hunger while decreasing the body's metabolism.
As you can see from these three items, lack of sleep is not a winning combination for weight management or weight loss but is a recipe for weight gain. The key in sleep is to get your proper rest. If you're getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep then you need to begin making some changes to increase your sleep time to at least 7 hours of sleep. Maybe it's turning off the late night news or TV program. Use that time to unwind from your day by adding it to your sleep time. If you find that you're having trouble sleeping, then check out my article "5 Steps for a Good Night's Sleep!" You can go to my website, click on "Articles," and print it off.
In addition to helping you with your weight loss and weight management, proper sleep is going to help you with some other health issues that could impact your overall health and wellness. A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who slept only five hours a night were two and a half times more likely to have diabetes than those who slept seven to eight hours. Research from Columbia University discovered that women who slept less than six hours each night increased their risk for developing high blood pressure by 70 percent over those who slept seven to eight hours. And, research from Mount Sinai School of Medicine showed that sleep deprivation lowers the immune system making you more susceptible to infection. As you can see, cultivating the habit to get your proper rest is going to be helpful for your long term weight loss program and overall wellness.
Key 2 - Water!
You drink so let's see how what you drink affects your weight. Let's start with what we know to be true:
o The average 12 oz can of regular pop contains 155 calories and 9 teaspoons of sugar. The average American consumes 54 gallons of soda per year. That equals 1.5 cans or 230 calories per day all derived from sugar. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. The average American could see a 1-lb weight gain every 14-15 days from the consumption of regular pop.
o Several scientific studies have demonstrated that the empty calories of soft drinks are directly related to weight gain, which in turn becomes a prime risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes.
o If you think switching to diet pop is the answer, then think again. There are numerous studies linking weight gain to diet pop consumption so even though you have reduced your caloric intake you haven't satisfied thirst or hunger. This causes people to overeat.
o The "Super-Size Me" trend has created a super-sized population. Obesity and its corresponding health risks have now overtaken the risks from smoking cigarettes.
It is interesting that with all that we drink, experts estimate that 75% of Americans are mildly dehydrated. Everyday your body must replace 2-3 quarts of water; over ½ gallon or more. If the fluid we consume is loaded with sugars and other chemicals, then the liver and body need that water to help detoxify your system. The water cannot go to the rest of the body's cells causing them mild dehydration which effects metabolism and energy levels.
You need pure, odorless water. Water contains no calories, no artificial sweeteners and colorings, and is fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium and not acidic. Water plays a major role in weight loss and weight management. Many regard water as the most significant factor in losing fat because of the effect it has on your overall metabolism and helping your body metabolize stored fat. Since water has no calories you can consume as much as you want without weight gain, and it serves as an appetite suppressant.
Work on cultivating the habit to get more pure water into your body. I did it by finding a fantastic Green Fusion product. It's a powder that I add to my water and it gives me all the nutritional value of an organic plant-based program without the shopping and preparing. Or, add a lemon or lime wedge to your water. Initially you might find yourself going to the bathroom more often but your body will adjust. Think of your bathroom visits as part of your walking program since water is going to be helpful for your long term weight loss. Plus, proper hydration will reduce joint and muscle soreness, decrease back pain, improve energy and muscle tone, and help to eliminate mental confusion and disorientation.
Key 3 - Anger and Disappointment!
You get angry and disappointed so let's see how your emotions affect your weight:
o Researchers at the University of Leeds tracked the habits of 422 employees. They found that people who were stressed tended to eat fewer vegetables and instead snacked on more fattening foods throughout the day. According to Daryl O'Connor, Ph.D., the author of the study, your body produces the hormone cortisol when under stress. Cortisol triggers cravings for high-calorie foods.
o Researchers at Pennsylvania State University looked at the effects of loud noise on eating. Those who weren't able to shut off the noise consumed twice as many calories later than those who could.
o Research by Cynthia Power found that what you snack on is governed by your emotions. When you're angry or frustrated, you will usually choose crunchy foods like chips since chewing is a physical release for the emotion. If you are lonely then you're more likely to choose a food that fills you up like cake, popcorn or pasta. If you're sad, then the food of choice is usually sweet, creamy foods like chocolate and ice cream since the sugar helps to lift your energy and mood.
Just the morning commute to work can begin to stress your life. Add to that a noisy, busy office environment and you're ready for some serious snacking. Maybe you're a stay-at-home mom with a noisy preschool environment. With the stress of raising the children and keeping the home from looking like a disaster zone, that nap time becomes snack time. How do you transfer these emotions that trigger an eating response into a healthy habit that will separate real hunger from emotional hunger?
Most people carry a daily planner. So, make it a habit to carry with your daily planner a journal for men and a diary for women. (They're both the same but it's easier for men to look at it as a journal.) When you're feeling particularly stressed take six minutes and make an entry into your journal. People will think you're just adding an important meeting to your daily planner. And, in a way, you are. You're making an appointment to release your emotions which is good personal therapy. If after the six minutes you are still hungry, then go ahead and get a small, healthy snack to satisfy your hunger. Most people find they don't need to eat when they complete their journal entry.
Key 4 - Reward Yourself!
The one overriding aspect of most diets is denial which is a negative approach instead of a positive approach to weight management. Is there anyone who doesn't like a reward? We all love a reward. We live our lives for rewards. Building rewards into your program helps to tame the tension.
o Many experts suggest getting ten percent of your calories from "fun foods." If you're on a 1500 calories program then that is 150 calories.
o According to research from the University of Cincinnati, a little sugar helps your body cope with stress since it may decrease the production of glucocorticoid, a stress hormone linked to storing belly fat.
o Experts recommend choosing a snack that also contains protein since protein will help slow the release of sugar into the body. If you can combine this with fiber, even better.
Build rewards into your program. If you need a daily reward, then build a favorite snack into your program if it meets the criteria of having some protein to offset the sugar; the higher the protein and lower the sugar the better. Throw it some fiber and that makes your daily reward even better.
Maybe you want to reward yourself for the weekend or you have a special event coming up. Bank your daily rewards for that one day on the weekend or for that special event. You didn't gain your weight in a day but over days, weeks and years of making certain choices. Letting your self have permission to reward yourself is important. If you've banked your daily reward of 150 calories than you have 900 calories to reward yourself with on that weekend day. Enjoy them and then get back on track the next day to work towards your weight loss or weight management goal.
The key to successful weight loss that leads to successful long-term weight management is to learn how to incorporate habits that compliment your daily life. Habits that move you to making good decisions that create a positive outcome. I hope this article has helped you think in terms of taking realistic actions which create positive habits that are sustainable for life.