Many of us know that our weight is a problem, however, it really doesn’t interfere with our abilities to do the daily tasks at hand. We know it leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, liver disease, gall bladder disease, high cholesterol, stroke and cancer. The list is pretty long, but the fear factor isn’t REAL to us. We know about these conditions, but unless we taste, touch, feel, smell or experience them, they aren’t truly real. How do I know this? I know this by listening to people. I hear them make comments like,
“I know I should lose weight.”
“My clothes are telling me I need to lose weight.”
“The doctor told me I need to lose weight.”
“I don’t like the way I look.”
The FEAR FACTOR about maintaining too much weight or gaining additional weight is not enough incentive to change our behavior. When life threatening situations seem imminent, we call on God and promise to make changes if he assists us in our hour of need. What prevents us from changing behavior short of near death experiences?
Genetics – we like to blame genetics on this weight problem. Doctors are trying to find science to back this belief because billions of dollars would be generated if this was true. New drugs would become the “answer.” The problem is, science (at this time) only holds genetics accountable 10% or less of the time.
Diet – diets don’t work!!! Short term weight loss is possible using diets, but weight maintenance is only successful 5% or LESS of the time. That means that 95% of the people who diet will regain the weight (and typically more.) With this knowledge people continue to turn to diets for weight loss. They believe that temporarily sacrificing their usual behavior for an unappealing daily food agenda will help them achieve weight loss. Weight loss is NOT ABOUT PUNISHMENT.
Laziness – there I said it so get your frustration and anger out NOW. We don’t “want” to give up the foods we like. We feel a sense of entitlement and the right to reward ourselves for working hard and being good people. Shouldn’t a reward be something that’s good for you? Why would something that leads to diseases and a shortened life expectancy be called a reward? How about trading in the pizza and cake for a health spa treatment if you want a reward?
Selfishness – if you didn’t get angry before, this reason may do it. We are responsible to more than just ourselves. If we are parents, we have children relying on our guidance. What examples are we creating for our children when we teach them that health has little value. If we have significant others, we have silently or openly stated vows or promises to each other. Do these promises include burdening each other with self inflicted health issues hindering a quality of life for both people?
Weight problems are not caused by one factor. Emotions play a big role that doctors and diets rarely address. Unfortunately most people focus on negative aspects of life rather than positive aspects. Why not look at this article as a wake up call to turn the tides. I am proposing a weight loss challenge. Here are the rules:
Your GOAL must be IMPROVED HEALTH, NOT weight loss. Improved health WILL result in weight loss.
You must start by eating the SAME FOODS you currently are eating. For meals, you will use salad size dishes instead of dinner plates to eat your meals on. No eating in front of the TV. If you currently eat snacks (potato chips, pretzels, doritos, etc…) you can’t eat out of the bag. You can choose 1 snack per meal, but it has to fit on a tea or coffee cup plate. (smaller than the salad plate) Don’t choose a snack if you are not really in the mood. No eating out of boredom!
If you eat fast food, you will reduce the frequency to no more than 2X/week. Total meals eaten outside the house per week (including fast food) should not exceed 3 meals. If you don’t like to cook, find easy foods to eat at home with good nutritional value. Examples could include: (1) greek yogurt, (2) chicken, (3) fish, (4) eggs, (5) lower salt soups, (6) beans and brown rice (7) vegetable, (8) fruits. These are examples of foods that are fast and easy to prepare and will help improve your meal choices over time.
If you want a between meal snack, you must first drink 6 oz. of water, have 1-2 servings of vegetables and go for a 5 minute walk. Upon returning, if you still truly want the snack, go for it. (remember, snacks must fit on the coffee cup plate.)
A 6 oz. glass of water must be consumed before and after each meal. A 6 oz glass of water must be consumed before or with each snack.
5 minutes of walking 5 days a week. It must be continuous (does not have to be fast) for the entire 5 minutes.
You must minimize salt intake. You don’t have to avoid it, but be aware that fast food, meals out, canned goods, prepared meals are all high in salt. Reducing salt will help shed water weight.
Weigh yourself to get an accurate starting point. Weigh yourself ONE time per week at the same time of the MORNING after getting out of bed and BEFORE eating or drinking anything. Record the weight and forget about it! You will do this for 8 weeks. At the end of 8 weeks, you will add all the weigh in values together and divide by 8. This will show whether you successfully lost weight by comparing this value with the original weigh in value. You will notice, I didn’t make anyone give up any food they enjoy. The object of this challenge is to prove you can become a healthier person (resulting in weight loss) without feeling like you’re being punished. In addition, as you become healthier, your desire for different foods will become more evident. You won’t have the same attraction for the addictive damaging processed foods your currently eating. This is called “Creative Lifestyle Planning” (requiring some reasonable compromises) yet realistic for anyone that chooses the challenge.
I would love to hear your thoughts BEFORE you begin the challenge; DURING the challenge, and at the END OF THE FIRST 8 WEEKS. Your participation and COMMENTS will help motivate family members, friends and reader’s of this blog site. Thank you for participating and making a difference.