Why “kickstarting” your weight loss is a bad idea
Looking to “kick start” your weight loss? Here’s why that may not be as helpful as you think.
“I’m just going to do this detox/drink meal replacement shakes/cut out sugar for a few weeks to ‘kick start’ my weight loss because seeing a big loss initially helps motivate me to keep going.”
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard some version of the above statement. I hear you. You are desperate to feel better…to feel different…to feel less…well…”fat.”
The typical diet cycle tends to go like this.
You feel rubbish about yourself or your body for one reason or another. You start some type of diet or exercise program (usually an extreme version promising quick results). You lose weight initially and it feels great! Maybe people are even commenting which makes you inspired to keep going. But then something happens. A horrible day at work…an all inclusive holiday…premenstrual cravings…something makes it impossible to continue following such an extreme regime. So you give in and have some chocolate…a few biscuits…a slice of birthday cake. Then you think, “well, I’ve already blown it so i might as well just carry on eating whatever I want. I will start being strict again on Monday.” But now that you’ve had a taste of freedom from what some people call, “food jail,” it feels so much harder to go back to punishing and torturing yourself. And even if you manage to do it for a while, it isn’t long before something else crops up. Your birthday…a friend’s wedding…Christmas…another blip in your well laid plans for eating “perfectly.” Or maybe you get to the point when you think, “to heck with this, I just can’t deal with this right now” and then you go back to eating whenever and whatever you want. Until you see a picture…or something happens to make you feel bad about yourself… and then the entire process starts all over again. Sound familiar?
Then comes the blame…
Sadly, so many people blame themselves when they stop following their “program” and then regain the weight that they have lost. “I’m such a failure, I can’t do anything right.” “I’m so lazy, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” “I just need a bit more willpower and next time I will be successful.” But they just keep going around and around in the above cycle using different diet or exercise programs to get them there. And sometimes, people have been on this cycle for so long that they don’t actually know what or how they are suppose to eat any more. I mean, which rules do you follow? Do you eat breakfast or fast intermittently? Do you eat 5-a-day or avoid all fruit? Include carbs or avoid them?
The missing link is this…
The problem with all of the above examples is that in all cases, you are lacking a good, solid foundation to your eating. I like to think of building lifelong, healthy eating habits like building house. If you are paying someone to build a new house, yes…you are very excited and want to see “results” straight away. Some walls…a roof…a visible sign that something is happening! But what happens if you start building your house straight away on uneven ground, with no cement foundation? Without that foundation, it isn’t long before your instant, positive “results” of walls, a roof, etc start crumbling before your very eyes and the entire thing may even come crashing down all around you. Visible results, in the absence of a good solid foundation, cannot last. It doesn’t matter how hard you are trying, or how “good” of a person you think you are or how much willpower you have. But building a foundation is boring isn’t it? I mean, it doesn’t even look like anything is happening! But as with building a house, you need a solid foundation for your eating habits otherwise it cannot last.
So what does the foundation to a healthy relationship with food look like?
1. Do you know the difference between physical hunger (your body asking for food) and wanting to eat (which is your brain and mouth wanting food without consulting the rest of your body)? And do you eat based on physical hunger about 80% of the time?
2. Do you consult your body when deciding when and how much you will eat?
3. Do you let your body dictate when you will stop eating?
4. Do you feel confident choosing foods which are nourishing your body but also satisfying to your mind and your taste buds?
5. Are your eating habits flexible depending on where you are and what you are doing and are you comfortable with this?
If you answer yes to most or all of these questions, you have quite a strong foundation for your eating habits. If you answer no to most of these questions, your foundation is a bit shaky. A shaky foundation leaves you incredibly vulnerable to all of the unethical charlatans out there just looking to make a quick buck selling detox programs, shakes, pills, and whatever else you can think of. So what is your plan? What do you need to focus on today, to start building a stronger foundation for your eating habits? Comment below and I will do my best to help.
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