The easiest and best weight control method centers on making lifestyle changes, not dieting.
Diets have a very high rate of failure. The diet industry is so big because people are looking for a magic fix and when one doesn’t work they go on to the next program and so on. They are looking for someone or something to do the work for them.
Diets are an event with an end in mind. Lifestyle changes are a process that creates permanent habits. Lifestyle changes are not a fix they are a personal revolution!
I’m going to present four lifestyle changes that can lead to weight loss, permanent weight control, and much better health. You may have heard of some of them before, but let’s look at them in a more “appetizing” way.
1. Get Motivated with Knowledge
The more you learn about the benefits of healthy eating, weight control, and exercise the more motivated you’ll become.
You’ll also learn about how unhealthy eating, body fat, and lack of exercise damage your body and reduces the quality and length of your life.
When I started learning about healthy foods, I quickly realized that I was completely ignorant about nutrition. Like most people, I had been taught about so-called good eating through a lifetime of exposure to food producers and fast-food restaurant advertisements.
I concluded that I had been brainwashed by this advertising and so had everyone else. I had been eating unhealthy food believing it was good for me and it seemed like everybody else was doing the same.
We have also been taught over the years by the various USDA food pyramids, which have not reflected a healthy diet. They have more closely resembled the interests of animal food product companies and the grain producers that feed their animals. How do I know these things? By watching documentaries that point out that the USDA’s “other” responsibility, which is an obvious conflict of interest, is to support food producers. And the biggest and most influential player is the animal food products industry. In addition, these documentaries present statistical information that clearly shows a pattern of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a host of other health problems associated with the USDA’s diet recommendations. Browse a list of these documentaries here.
The most recent USDA food pyramid (June 2011) is better than those in the past, but it still does not represent the optimal diet. The Harvard School of Public Health describes a much better diet in their Healthy Eating Plate graphic. It still doesn’t reflect the “best” diet though.
It was a similar situation with exercise. The advertisements convinced me that I needed some exercise contraption or a gym membership to be successful. Not true! I started out with a health club membership, but I eventually got smart and put together my own inexpensive home gym. It saves me massive amounts of time, I don’t get colds or flu anymore, and I control the music that is being played.
I learned about healthy eating and exercise by reading articles and books and watching documentaries. The documentaries had a particularly strong impact on me. They inspired me to go from being 90% vegetarian to 100% vegan without much effort.
One of the most compelling facts that convinced me to become a vegan was this. All the bad fats come from animal-based products. There are no bad fats in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Words like beef, steak, pork, nuggets, and seafood were created to enhance the appeal of these “foods” and separate them from their animal source. Referring to beef as “dead cow flesh” doesn’t sound too appealing.
Once you gain a working knowledge about healthy and unhealthy foods, you’ll be motivated to make the right choices.
2. Fall in Love with Healthy Foods
Something amazing happens after you’ve been eating healthy foods for a few weeks. Your sense of taste changes and healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts start to taste more and more delicious! And that’s not all. The junk food that’s typically high in bad fats, sugar, and salt begins to taste more and more unpleasant.
Those who say that healthy food doesn’t taste good haven’t given their taste buds enough time to adapt. Once they do and with a little creativity, each meal can be very satisfying. It just takes a little time to learn how to spice up healthy foods.
The best part of healthy eating is what these foods will do for you. They can dramatically improve your health, prevent and eliminate disease, enhance your mood, improve your complexion, and give you permanent weight control without much effort.
3. Become a Small Portion Gourmet
By reducing the size of the portions you put on your plate, you can easily lose weight and maintain it. And you can do it in a way that makes it very satisfying.
You make it appealing by putting together small food portions that are very attractive. You do this by having a lot of variety, selecting multicolored ingredients, and arranging it thoughtfully. You make it tasty by adding healthy spices and fresh spicy vegetables like peppers and chilies to enhance the flavor. I use a lot of chili powder and crushed red chili peppers. You approach the preparation of these meals like a French gourmet chef.
If you’ve ever been to a French restaurant you know what I mean. The portions are small but incredibly beautiful and delicious! I’ve seen this kind of preparation at Asian restaurants as well. Their portions tend to be comparatively small but extraordinarily gorgeous and flavorful.
The other part of this is to savor each bite by chewing it thoroughly. You accomplish several good things when doing this. You’ll enjoy the taste of the food more. You’ll prepare the food for more efficient digestion. And you’ll give your stomach more time to signal your brain that you’ve had enough to eat.
I just recently adopted this strategy myself and I love it. It makes a lot of sense. I think I’ve heard about the value of small portions before, but I’ve never looked at it from the perspective of it being a gourmet technique.
I was looking for a way to lose a few extra pounds that I’d gained over the winter when I ran across this approach. I added the gourmet dimension. I’ve noticed some significant weight loss in just a couple of weeks. I already know that this way of eating will become a permanent part of my lifestyle. I’m really excited about it. Here are a few tips.
During the first few days, you’ll probably still feel hungry after you’ve eaten. This will go away after your stomach shrinks. 😀 You’ll also get better at savoring each bite of food by chewing it longer. You’ll need to concentrate on chewing longer at first, but it will soon become a habit. These things will lead to getting the “I’m full” signal quicker.
Becoming a “small portion gourmet” is much more appealing than the idea of “limiting yourself” to “small portions.” One makes you feel like you’re enhancing your meals. The other makes you feel like you’re sacrificing.
4. Feel Good Look Good with Exercise
Many people say they don’t like to exercise. People who say that simply don’t know what they are missing.
Exercise provides a long list of benefits. Here are a few. Exercise keeps you healthy, slim, firm, strong, energetic, youthful, attractive, and feeling fantastic.
Many experts say that the feel-good brain chemicals (endorphins) that are released after exercise can last for hours. In addition, they say that the fat and calorie-burning activity can also last for hours.
For me, one of the most appealing aspects of exercise is how it makes me feel. There are days when I may be dragging a little in the morning, but once I complete my 4:00 am power walk or swim I always feel great! The same thing happens after I finish working out with free weights or doing abdominal exercises just before lunch.
In a book by renowned psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD entitled, “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” he talks about how exercise is truly the best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer’s. I am extremely pleased to see a psychiatrist promote the value of exercise over medication.
The best advice I can give you about establishing an exercise routine is to keep it simple. Don’t get caught up in all the hype. You don’t need some super high-intensity exercise regimen like advertised on TV to get fit. You just need three things.
- Aerobic exercise like power walking, swimming, jogging, or biking.
- Resistance exercise using free weights or stretch bands.
- Abdominal exercise using a multipurpose workout bench or mat.
Health clubs have machines for all these things, but going there is very time-consuming. If you’re new to exercise, joining a gym is a good place to learn how, but not a necessity. I suggest a trial membership during which you ask for (free) guidance from a staff member on how to workout safely.
If you have any health concerns, it’s important that you talk with your doctor before you begin. It’s also imperative that you learn to use exercise equipment like free weights properly.
Here’s one of the coolest things about exercise. If you’re ever feeling down for any reason, physical or mental, you can always depend on exercise to make you feel better. Much better in many cases
The emphasis of this weight control method is efficiency and ease. Weight control should be a natural result of healthy eating and exercise. Quick fixes using diet pills, diet food, diet programs, and boot-camp-style workouts aren’t sustainable long-term. Pick instead a healthy diet and exercise protocol that you can use for a lifetime.