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Paige Waehner

Exercise and Weight Loss Lesson of the Week: Weight Loss Starts With Taking Care of Yourself

By May 23, 2012

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We often look at weight loss as a numbers game. If you burn and/or cut x number of calories from your diet, you should see x number of pounds drop from the scale.

Tracking these numbers can be like a full-time job, writing down and counting the calories we eat, monitoring our exercise intensity and the calories we're burning and, finally, stepping on the scale day after day to see if what we're doing is actually working.

The results can, sometimes, be excruciatingly slow.

When you think about it, what really changes these numbers, or at least the number on the scale, comes down to our choices. The choice to exercise, to eat less, to move more.

These don't always feel like choices, do they? To many of us, they feel like chores, things we must or must not do if we want to lose weight. But, your perspective on weight loss, exercise and diet plays a major role in your success. If these choices feel more like restrictions, you're always going to feel like you're missing out on something and, therefore, you'll always go back to those things you think you're missing.

What if there's a different way? What if these choices weren't chores or restrictions, but based on the decision to take care of yourself? If you think about it, all the things you need to do to lose weight are also all the things you need to do to take care of yourself: Eating when you're hungry, stopping when you're full, eating foods that give you energy and make you feel good. Taking care of yourself means moving your body and getting out of your chair as much as possible, simply because your body feels better when it's moving.

Taking care of yourself means getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, dealing with your stress in healthy ways...all things that, when accomplished, can also lead to healthy, natural weight loss.

Learning how to take care of yourself is an important part of the weight loss process and it starts with:

  • Knowing where you are - How well are you taking care of yourself right now? Keep a health journal for a few days and track your sleep, stress levels, exercise, meals, water intake and how you feel in general each day. How are you doing overall and what could you change?
  • Checking in with yourself - Taking care of yourself starts with being aware of how you feel throughout the day. This is especially important if you tend to be an emotional eater, reaching for food to deal with stress, boredom, fatigue or loneliness. Set an alarm to go off every hour and take a moment to check in with yourself. Then, ask yourself what you really need right at that moment. Practice giving yourself what you need before giving into emotional eating.

What do you think? Does healthy living feel different when you look at it as a way to take care of yourself? Would you find more success if you focused less on losing weight and more on taking care of yourself? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

May 23, 2012 at 11:25 am
(1) Irwin says:

Weight loss should be a goal unto its self. There is no better strategy for long life and general health than to be within the BMI ‘normal’ zone.
I came to the realization that some foods, no matter how much I liked them, were going to be out of my life. Ice cream, potato chips, deep fried anything, etc. Once I had this mindset, I had to find alternatives such as raw carrots/celery, romaine, any vegetable, all fruits.
Combine this with a regular activity and the weight goal is easily achieved.

May 24, 2012 at 2:59 am
(2) Mark says:

I work out religiously every day for 2 hours usually. My true enemy is this constant yearning for sugar via chocolate, cakes, etc…. It seems I cannot get enough…. Yet, I know it is a killer when it comes to fitness. What I truly notice about sugar is its impact on how I feel overall…. Like in mood swings, etc. I am doing my best to write off sweets / sugar; and it is difficult. In speaking with others who work out often, it appears there could be a relationship in working out often and a craving for sweets. Can it be that those who do the right thing when it comes to physical fitness crave sugar or sweets more than others?

May 24, 2012 at 8:44 am
(3) A Swann says:

This is a timely article, as I have been struggling with my attempt to ‘keep up’ with all the things I’m ‘supposed’ to do, and focusing exclusively on what I’m not doing right…hence my lack of weight loss. It’s been causing undue stress on top of the other things going on in my world.

I do get plenty of sleep & understand what it takes to take care of myself – and now after reading this I will try to focus on the positives of what I’m doing, and take even better care of myself versus focusing on the numbers.

May 24, 2012 at 9:41 am
(4) Irwin says:

Hi Mark,
Reach for an apple or orange or banana or any friut when you get that craving for ‘sweets’. Tell yourself you wil have the ‘sweet’ after the friut. Guess what? After the fruit, the craving for sugar will not be there.
But you have to have that mind-set, go fo rthe fruit!

May 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm
(5) Gloria says:

Well, this makes a whole lot more sense than just focusing only on the numbers of losing weight by just not eating. If I look at it this way I think I will do better in the long run because, its not just about the weight. Its about being able to move and function and at fifty-something I have let myself go. Always too busy with being the mom and looking out for everyone else and not my self. When you don’t believe in waste the pounds find you, so now is the time to find yourself and not by eating just to be eating. I am very glad that I took the time to read this post. It offer a new way at looking at why the weight will not come off because, it not about the weight its about being HEALHTY and the weight will follow.

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