Let me guess… You have tried every diet out there: the paleo diet, low fat, low carbs, the apple diet, the garlic diet, weight watchers… YOU NAME IT. I have too.
Here’s a little story about me and my diet experiences.
When I was growing up I used to be so skinny it wasn’t funny. It was that kind of “unhealthy looking” type of skinny. As a kid I struggled a lot with my respiratory problems (asthma, allergies), going to the hospital and staying hospitalized 1 week at a time was not a big deal.
After turning 13 years old my health improved dramatically. I wasn’t having any more episodes of asthma and my allergies were under control (sort of). I started gaining so much weight during my puberty and I went from 100 pounds to 200 pounds over a 2 years period. When I turned 15 I thought I would go to the doctor and get “skinny” again. I was tired of being overweight because I couldn’t wear anything cute (relatable right?) I couldn’t even make it upstairs without being overwhelmingly tired. The first thing I found out when I first went to the doctor was that my cholesterol was higher than a kite and so was my blood sugar. “Are you kidding me?” that’s what I thought in that moment, and that was the beginning of me and my diet obsession.
I lost 15 pounds in two weeks (basically water weight) and I continued to lose a lot more. In 4 months I lost 55 pounds and I couldn’t even believe it. 55 pounds, are you kidding me? and I didn’t even suffered. But what about the diet? what did you do?- So I was basically following a nutritional plan, 1,200 calories a day, 3 meals, 2 snacks and lots of water. I could eat basically anything (burgers, hot dogs, rice and beans, meat, chicken, bread, milk, cheese, etc.) the secret has always been “reducing the portions.”
After having gone through all that here’s what I have to say: Diets don’t work in the long term. Though I was able to keep my weight off for about 4 years, however I ended up gaining more than what I had already lost. Diets simply don’t work in the long term. Period. So how are we supposed to lose weight? if you don’t want to read the entire post, scroll down and read the bullet points.
I am a binge eater, emotional eater, or whatever you wanna call it. I keep making bad decisions whenever it’s time to eat. I have gained over 30 pounds in the last year and I’m not proud of it. My clothes don’t fit the same anymore, I feel bloated all the time- like literally I feel like a giant balloon- and I don’t want that anymore. I have tried different diet, including the paleo diet (which worked for about 2 weeks). About one month ago I started a new life with a better understanding of myself, my body and what I need to do in order to lose weight. It has taken me every bit of my emotions to realize that my decisions are slowly killing my self-esteem and the way I see my surroundings. By changing just a few little things I have lost 10 pounds so far and I’m happier than ever. I can already see the changes.
Our bodies are smart. If you don’t believe me then stop reading right now. I have experienced it all when it comes to losing weight and I finally understand how it works. Our bodies were designed to perform certain activities to keep us alive. Anytime we (or our environment) change something our bodies will automatically have a reaction. Think about your body as a “masterpiece” because really that’s what it is.
I’m sure you’ve read so many things out there and you think you know what it all means. “low fat diets”- What the heck is that? fat is another macronutrient (also known as triglycerides) and it happens to be one of the three main macronutrients, can you think of the other two? Yes, Carbs and Protein. Because we don’t want to get into a biochemistry class (which I hated when I went to medical school) I will put it this way: your body is a 24/7 working machine, and like any other machine or device out there it needs energy to operate, that energy (Calories) comes from the food (real food) that we eat. The more we eat, the more energy (Calories) we have. That machine we call “body” can only take so much energy (Calories). Think of food as “energy”. When we put extra energy (Calories) in our body we gain those annoying extra pounds overtime. Why? because our bodies will store those unnecessary calories in the form of fat just in case you’ll need it later on. Obviously that if you have an active lifestyle you can burn some of those extra calories, but don’t worry, by simply changing some bad habits you can achieve great results in your body.
But that’s not the only scenario. When we consume fake nutrients (cheetos, splenda, doritos, coke, “extra virgin oil,” red velvet, white chocolate, popcorn butter-yummy- etc.) our brain does not recognize that crap (sorry) because it’s fake, and what do you think will happen? your body will store it in the form of fat.
According to data by Marketdata Enterprises, a market research firm that specializes in tracking niche industries, Americans spend north of $60 billion annually to try to lose pounds, on everything from paying for gym memberships and joining weight-loss programs to drinking diet soda, yet 68.8% of Americans are overweight. ISN’T THAT INSANE?- And that proves my main point: dieting doesn’t work in the long term.
For every problem there’s a solution. Here’s a few habits I promise you will love.
- Live in the present. This is not BS. You need to be in the present all the time. By being so, you’ll be aware of what’s going on with you and your environment. Why are you eating what you’re eating?- Is that extra large order of french fries helping you achieve your goals?
- Identify what’s causing you to gain weight. Being fully aware of our problems is the first step. Why are you gaining weight? is it emotional eating? is it stress? an underlying health issue? Or is it just a whole bunch of bad decisions? Once you have identified the problem you can start working on a solution.
- Don’t count calories. By eating the right foods you don’t have to count the calories at all. Eat real food and forget about processed food.
- Listen to your body. Like I said before, our bodies are smart. If you start listening to it more often you’ll be more successful.
- Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re “supposed to.” Your body will tell you when it’s time to eat, and it will also tell you when it’s time to stop eating. BUT YOU GOTTA LISTEN BOO!
- Drink water. You don’t need to drink 2-3 liters of water either. Just drink as much as your body needs. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
- STOP EATING DIET SNACKS AND FAKE SUGAR. Like I said before, your body does not recognize fake food, therefore you will be just putting more fat into your body. Please stop. Instead of diet coke, just drink water or a natural fruit-based juice with REAL SUGAR (not too much though).
- Eat Carbs, Fats and Proteins. Do not eliminate nutrients from your diet. You need all of it. You need to learn how to eat. Think rationally. Healthy fats, healthy carbs and good proteins. Get it?
- Move your body a little more. Look, I get it. I hate the gym too. And guess what? IT IS OK. You don’t need it (unless you have different goals, I don’t know). By simply going on a walk, cleaning your room, going up and downstairs, you will be doing your body a favor. Find something you like to do: dancing, sports, walk around the mall. Whatever. STAY ACTIVE.
- Be CONSISTENT. Remember it’s going to take time to get rid of all those extra pounds. You didn’t gain them overnight, so don’t expect to lose them in one week either. Make a plan and please STICK TO IT.
- Change your environment. Maybe your friends are not helping you achieve your goals, for instance they all want to binge eat while watching the new episode of Game of Thrones and you know darn well how that’s not going to benefit you. Change it up.
- Try meditation. I will cover this point in another post, but if you know what I’m talking about go ahead and practice.
- Plan ahead. No more excuses. Whether you’re going on a road trip or too stressed out because of school, work, whatever, you need to think of yourself first. Do you need to pack some healthy snacks to take with you? what about you take a few meals with you?
- Make better decisions. Sometimes life gets in the way and all you have available is McDonald’s. Don’t order an extra large combo for your own sake! Don’t even order those greasy french fries. How about you get a grilled chicken sandwich, a bottled of water and call it a day?
Losing weight can be frustrating, but it can also be a great experience if you do it the right way. You’re not trying to diet. You’re changing your lifestyle. You will notice changes not only in your body, but also in your self-esteem.
You’re the master of your life and you can do anything you want if you believe in yourself. Find the strength you need within yourself. Allow yourself to be YOURSELF and enjoy the process. Ultimately you have to make a decision and get a hold of your life. Love and respect yourself exactly as you are. Change the things that you need to change and don’t ever give up.
You’re stronger than you think!