You see the razor-thin models gracing the covers of magazines
you watch actors and actresses on the big screen who seem to never gain a pound. And you wonder: How do I differ from them? You may be surprised to learn that a number of famous people at one time had difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. But they were able to conquer their problem, thanks to a new-and-improved, healthy view of eating.
You may not realize it, but there is a certain psychology at work in successful weight loss. It is no surprise, then, that the magazine Psychology Today has explored the issue in-depth. In October of 2004, the magazine posted an article on its website detailing the experiences of Diane Berry, a nurse practitioner who studied women who had shed at least 15 pounds and had maintained their weight loss for an average of seven years.
The women shared some important things in common. For instance, they all achieved their weight loss through either Weight Watchers or other supportive programs, which meant that they had a firm support network as they tried to maintain their weight. The group meetings were highly important, because they learned to recognize that they were certainly not alone in their struggles with weight. The women were also quite unusual because up to 90 percent of individuals who have lost weight end up putting it back on within five years.
Another common trait of these women is that they appeared to undergo a profound mood shift as they made the transition from fat to thin. From all indications, they appeared to be depressed when they were heavy but, as they attempted to lose weight, their mood brightened.
For these women, healthy eating became a habit—a habit they refused to break. They themselves recognized the tremendous role that psychology plays in weight loss. They refused to give in to negative feelings of frustration and denial and chose a positive path instead. The women also made it a point to weigh themselves regularly so that they could chart their progress.
And they recognized that maintaining weight loss would be a lifetime struggle. They knew that they could not attempt a weight loss program then put it back on the shelf. They had to learn new eating patterns that they could continue week in and week out. In some cases, they likened their struggle to that of an alcoholic. In other words, they recognized the gravity of their problem and took steps to correct the situation.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these women’s experiences was the fact that their weight loss actually came in spurts. At times, they regained their weight, but they did not let that deter them from their final goal. They simply viewed their setbacks as challenges that they needed to overcome. This may be the key psychological trait that separates successful dieters from unsuccessful ones—perseverance. In essence, these women were able to change their personalities in a positive way in order to achieve their long-term weight loss goals.
Another interesting aspect of this study was that it showed that the women who had undergone weight loss transformation were genuinely happy. This shows the tremendous psychological impact that weight loss can have on an individual. Once an individual is free from the burden of extra weight, he or she is better able to meet the challenges of life head-on. The dieter benefits from positive reinforcement, as relatives, friends, and co-workers congratulate him or her for the weight loss. In this way, losing weight can be quite a life-affirming experience and can lead to a more optimistic outlook on life.
It must be noted here that the psychology of weight loss is a complicated matter. There is no single ingredient that can turn a fat person into a thin one. However, recognizing that there is a psychological component to successful weight loss may, in fact, be half the battle. Once an individual recognizes that he or she is engaged in a psychological fight, he or she is better able to do battle. By retraining oneself to seek healthy approaches to diet, one can, in effect, mold oneself into a new individual—one that no longer lives to eat, but simply eats to live.
Five easy resolutions to make you lean in the New Year!
Yep, it is that time of year again! Time to moan and groan about the weight we gained over the holidays as we resolve to lose it all in the New Year! If memories of failed New Year’s resolutions are haunting you, it is time you found the right resolution for 2005.
The reason that most New Year’s Resolutions fail is that they are too extreme or time consuming. Who is really going to give up all sweets or stick to sweating in the gym for hours each day? What you need this year is a New Year’s Resolution that is simple enough to become a part of your daily life, and will lead to long term weight loss. Read on for five simple yet effective New Year’s Resolutions for you to choose from…
Resolution #1: Drink a large glass of water before each meal. This simple action will save you mountains of calories in the coming year! By filling your stomach with water right before you eat you reduce your chances of overeating during the meal. Drinking more water is also healthy for all of your body functions, including converting body fat into usable energy.
Resolution #2: Wait 20 minutes before deciding on seconds. Do you remember the last time you were uncomfortably full after a meal? Chances are that you were hungry and, rather than stopping when you were satisfied, you overate. In the same way that your body tells you when you are hungry, it also has a way of telling you when you are full. The catch is that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you have eaten enough. What you eat during that 20 minutes is extra food that your body doesn’t need. Next time that you are in the middle of a meal contemplating getting yourself seconds, allow 20 minutes to pass before you decided if you still need the extra food. Chances are that your brain will get the “full” message and you will pass on the extra calories!
Resolution #3: Walk or Jog in the morning. Did you know that going on a 15 minutes walk right after waking contributes to weight loss? Getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier, lacing up your tennis shoes, and simply walking around the block will lead to fat burn and lost pounds! When you get up and move first thing in the morning, before breakfast, your body is more likely to used stored fat as energy. Weight loss is supposed to be harder than this, right?
Resolution #4: Obey the No Food Three Hours Before Bed Rule. Eating a snack after dinner is a widely held habit. Although food always seems to taste better right before bed, it is also more prone to stick with you when eaten late at night. It has been proven that not eating three hours before bed reduces fat storage throughout the night. If you go to bed at 10pm, finish eating for the day no later than 7pm. Once you have made this a habit you will be ecstatic over the long-term weight loss!
Resolution #5: Spice up you Workouts with Circuit Training Are your workouts consisting of the same exercises in the same order at the same weight? If you find yourself falling into a rut at the gym give circuit training a try. Start by doing one set of your first exercise and then moving on to do one set of your second exercise. After you have done every exercise once, start again from the top! If you want to burn extra calories add 5 minutes on a bike between each set. Get creative and add new exercises into your circuits, and your workouts will be fun and energizing!
Now all you have to do is pick one of these New Year’s Resolutions, make it a part of your daily life, and watch as the pounds fall off in the New Year!
Diana Keuilian, author, ACE certified Personal Trainer, and co-founder of HitechPersonalFitness.com offers online personal training and nutrition programs that fit your budget and schedule. Whether your goal is to lose weight, firm and tone, or to build muscle, HitechPersonalFitness.com will build a custom designed program just for you. Visit: http://www.hitechpersonalfitness.com/ and begin meeting your fitness goals today!
If you are like most Americans, you are embarking on a new fitness program about now. Within 6 weeks, many people will drop out, half will quit within 6 months and less than one third of those who begin a fitness program will still be exercising by the end of their first year…
The following are 10 simple tips to get you started in making the transition from fitness drop – out to a person who will get fit, feel fabulous, never have to diet again and have fun in the process.
1. Don’t work out too hard, too fast; you will end up sore and uninspired. Better to work out 2-3 days a week for life than to work out 6-7 days a week for a couple of weeks, every now and again. Consistency is key.
2. Schedule your workouts on your calendar as if they were any other important appointment. This way, you will be able to balance your exercise program with family, work and social activities. Again, you will be more successful if you fit fitness into your current lifestyle. A little is always better than NONE.
3. If possible, workout in the morning. You will get it done, feel energized all day and will avoid “life” getting in the way of achieving your fitness goals.
4. Stay off the scales. As you get fit, lose fat and gain muscle, you will actually drop inches and dress sizes and not move the scales all that much.
5. Choose a role model. Ask an instructor or fitness professional for suggestions and advice on how you can most effectively reach your goals. There are also a variety of other resources on health and fitness available.
6. Keep a fitness journal. Chart your progress and accomplishments.
7. Give yourself a little leeway – if you miss a workout or an entire week, get back on track as quickly as possible. Setbacks and challenges are normal. The quicker you get back on track, the quicker you will reach your goals. Remember – fitness is not about being perfect, but about a series of healthy choices that you make consistently. It is not an all or nothing proposition.
8. Evaluate your Progress every 6 – 8 weeks and increase the intensity of your workouts to stay challenged and inspired.
9. Feel like skipping a workout? Get yourself to do something for at least 10 – 15 minutes. Most likely, once you start you will complete your entire planned workout (If not, don’t fret, 15 minutes is better than nothing)
10. Bored? Unfocused? Change your routine a bit. Add a Yoga, Aerobics or Pilates class. If you don’t care to join a gym, there are many wonderful classes at the local rec centers. Try a new exercise video or machine. Or, try an out door activity such as bicycling or a beach walk
Article written by Dianne Villano, President of Custom Bodies Personal Training and Weight Loss Programs. Dianne is a personal fitness instructor certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine with over 16 years of experience who specializes in weight loss programs and programs for beginners.