We all have challenges when it comes to keeping our weight in check. And usually when we fail to lose the weight, we tend to find excuses to rationalize our weight gain or we find reasons or someone to blame. For example, it is not uncommon for us to gain a few pounds after the holidays. And there are others who would blame their weight on heredity.
I’ve never been overweight. However, I have dealt with certain health issues that made me reassess what I did wrong. I dig further to find out what I could do better. As I consider some of the problems, I realized that weight gain usually fall into several categories. Hopefully after you reading them you could understand them and find tactical solutions to help you in losing weight.
One of the major reasons that one is overweight is “Denial”. My family came from Malaysia and it is not common to have wellness check up. Most Malaysians (even today) would only visit doctors only when they are sick. Getting a wellness check up is unheard off. One reason is they don’t want to hear the bad news; they don’t want doctors to tell them they have high cholesterol or they have high blood pressure. They know that the bad news means they need to change their lifestyle.
That goes to show the same mindset is in this country as well. Most overweight people do not like to look in the mirror because they are afraid to see what they look like. Even if they “glanced” themselves in the mirror, they rationalize that they are either not too bad or they will lose weight starting tomorrow.
Solution: We just need to reconsider what is important in life. Is it food or our health? If it is health we need really sit down go over our diet, our lifestyle and our goals. Set SMART goals and go through one by one.
We’ve heard this time and time again every time we visit our doctors – we need exercise. The more active we are the better we will be in losing our weight. Obviously this is easier to say than actually doing it. Believe it or not, eating a muffin will need an hour of exercise to burn it off. This is not easy task consider that there is very limited time in a day. A lot of us fail in losing weight because of this – how do we balance our lifestyle when there are so many other things in life require us to focus on?
Personally, I have the same problem. Working remotely for the past year seem like a luxury but the truth is I sometimes can’t separate work and personal life because there is no commuting. Taking the train to and from work is the indication that tells me when to start and stop working. Working life starts to bleed into my personal life that I rarely have time to workout.
Solution: Consider come up with a plan on how to put several hours of workout in a week. Gradually add more and more time to the plan. One option is to reduce the amount of time watching tv or using the smartphone.
Our lives revolve around food and with limited time available in a day we tend to resort to fast food. I’m guilty of that too. Besides fast food, we tend to buy convenient food that we can easily put in the microwave. Unfortunately these options to not go well when we need to lose weight. We tend to overeat and many consume food that is tasty but not healthy. Combining with lack of time to exercise, the end result is we add more weight instead of losing it.
Solution: It is unavoidable if we don’t have time to cook healthy food when there are other important priorities. One solution is to limit certain food (i.e. fast food) only once a week. Other solution is to select food that are low in sodium, saturated fat and chemicals. I find that this is hardest to maintain because there are so many options of convenience food at supermarket. Finding the right mix is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Surplus of food
We gain weight during the holidays because we tend to overcook. The more food we cook the more merrier the event is. Instead of cooking for 5, we would cook for 20. Why? Because when we take photos, the food on the background “make” a memorable moment. Also, we would stuff ourselves as much as possible because we can. What we don’t realize is we also make ourselves overweight. Usually when we are unable to finish the food, we either divvied up the food or we put them in the freezer as leftovers. None of the options are healthy.
Solution: We need to break from “tradition.” This tradition is man-made and never existed prior to early 20th century. There is no reason for us to cook so much when there is only so much space in our stomach. We need to consider small portions and avoid having any leftovers. Healthy food is something that we eat on the same day. As we stored the leftovers, the nutritional values of the food deteriorate.
The “tomorrow” excuse is used quite often. We feel like getting up and exercise every time we sit down and notice extra bulge on our waist. However, that rarely happens because we starts to rationalize that you will work on in tomorrow. Why is this separate from the lifestyle I listed above? Because this is something that we can tackle today. When we have this feeling that we feel overweight, get up and pick up a pair of sneakers and walk around the neighborhood.
Solution: Don’t procrastinate. Place a pair of sneakers next to your sofa to remind you what is important. Every time you feel “heavy” after a big meal, look down at your sneakers. Either they make you guilty or make you move.
The reasons I listed are not new. It’s just that we rarely think about them when we have other distractions. However, none of us can avoid the fact that we’ve outgrown our clothes or we look different in the mirror. If you are on a quest to a better you, rethink your priorities and come up with a plan to make the quest a reality.