Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weight Loss Should Be Enjoyable, Not Painful

Are you caught up in the New Year's Resolution fad?  Gee, I hope not... such a waste.  The reality is that if it's worth doing you should start doing it immediately, rather than waiting until some designated starting point.

And what do you think one of the top resolutions is for 2012 or any other year for that matter?  Losing weight off course.  It's something everyone feels a need to do, but very few actually accomplish.  And the more someone fails at something, the more likely they are to avoid it in the future, which translates into: if I don't lose the pounds quickly and easily the first couple of times I try, I'm not going to ever try again.

I've said it a hundred times (as have many others) you have to incorporate a long term (forever) lifestyle change that you can live with, if you are serious about losing weight.  Bottom-line if you can't live happily with your program, you won't stick with it and won't be successful.  In fact, a successful weight loss plan should actually be enjoyable!

Thus, you must figure out what works for YOU.  Beware of some celebrity spokesperson pitching a commercial plan.  (Nothing wrong with a LEGITIMATE commercial plan, as long as it fits your lifestyle and delivers the results you need.)  And avoid programs that claim quick weight loss, as they are not long term solutions.

For me, as a meat-and-potatoes guy I wasn't about to give up the food I liked, though I knew that most of it wasn't all that healthy.  So I made a slow transition into eating much smaller portions and along the way I also started (gradually) eliminating some of the really bad stuff. (Much more info in my book.) Eating slowly was a huge part, as it allowed me to fill up much quicker.

Exercise was also key and I knew that a gym was NOT the right choice for ME. Nothing wrong with a gym if it works for you, it just wasn't my thing.  Plus, with all of my travel, a gym certainly wasn't practical as I needed something that could be done anywhere, anytime.  That something turned out to be walking.  I have progressed from 15 painful minutes per day on a treadmill to 60-90 minutes of enjoyable outdoor power walking.  And no matter where my journeys take me, I can find the opportunity to walk - airports are a big favorite.

But it's not about what works for me, but what works for you.  Lifestyle is the key ingredient of a successful weight loss program!  A great example of this concept was profiled in an article by Abby Ellin that focused on overweight Big Rig Drivers. 

When you take a minute to think about it, someone who makes their living driving a truck spends a good part of their life sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle, barreling down the highway.  How many calories does that burn?  Combine that with a bevy of fast food meals, and you have the makings for an extremely sedentary, overweight human being.

Driver Roy Williams 70 pound weight loss is chronicled in the article, which is a perfect example of making a beneficial lifestyle change.  Gone are the days of eating in Truck Stops and guzzling down sugary drinks and snacks, replaced with healthier meal and snack choices.  Plus he keeps a fold-up bicycle in the cab of his truck so he can get exercise during rest stops. It's the kind of story that everyone can learn from.

So, for 2012, avoid the hype, the ads, the promises and the pitches, focus on how you can increase your exercise (in a fun way) while decreasing your caloric input.  And put an emphasis on making it enjoyable, not painful which will help ensure that you can stick with it forever.

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