Losing weight this year? Let’s not start with a diet or exercise!
If you are aiming for (a big) weight loss this year (like I did for many years), let me give you my sincere piece of advise. Don’t just jump into another Harvard-approved-diet or the diet that worked for your neighbour in the past. Don’t take up a gym membership for the whole year. Let’s start with something else this year.
Last year I learned a few new things that are finally working for me. Things that made me loose 12kg in 3 months without a diet or any exercise. What was it? Magic? Acupuncture? A herbal tea? No, none of that. I just stopped listening to the wrong people, consulted a physician and started listening to my own body. Let me elaborate, so that it might help you as well:
1. Stop listening to the wrong people and that’s probably the majority of people. Don’t listen to people that say that you are simply eating the wrong food, that you are lazy, you look awful or you should be ashamed of yourself. I’ve heard people say this around me and to me for a really long time, and this year I finally started actively ignoring these voices.
I started kicking ignorant people off from my FB feed (when I still had one) if they would insult overweight people by posting insulting images or by stating that overweight people are simply lazy. Obviously these people were just people in the periphery of my life, so it was easy to loose them. We nowadays let too many people into our lives and this means that we let too many voices influence how we feel about ourselves. We don’t need that, I think. I didn’t need it. I needed to have a strong mental state to start with.
Instead of listening to the wrong (or random) people, I decided that it was good for me to find people that can make me feel good about myself. You can find these people in your core group of friends. People that treat you with respect and understanding. I also turned to the internet for positive body image examples. There are some great plus-size bloggers around, that preach and show a positive body image (and you really don’t have to buy (all) the clothes they are selling ;-)). I have been following Stephanie Zwicky (FR) & Gabi Fresh (US) mostly, for the past year and that helped me get into the right mental state to work on other things.
2. Go to a physician and let him/her do a blood analysis and other tests, to find out what you’re working with. It’s very difficult or impossible to loose weight if you don’t have the right stuff running your body. Not every body is the same. Not every head ache has the same treatment. Just listening to your body doesn’t cut it. It’s not enough. These are complex processes.
In my case, after several blood/urine tests, they found an auto-immune disease that gave me a slow metabolism. They have many different things they can check to see if everything works properly (like levels of stress hormones in you urine etc) and hopefully help you with whatever is malfunctioning to give you a fair start to start working on yourself.
I recently heard a doctor that is specialised in treating people that are overweight say, that medicine knows by now that it’s not diet or exercise that makes people thin or fat. It’s not the source at least. It’s all the stuff that is flying around in your body. The things that you can’t always see on the outside. The thing we start with. The thing we are born with.
3. Eat when you need to eat, not when social customs tell you to eat. For me that means that I eat the big part of my food intake during mid-day, not in the evening. And I also generally don’t eat after 19h. Because I don’t need it. Even though some people say you need three meals a day and other say you need six, you only need how many you need. And even if your company only allows you to eat from 13 to 13.30 for lunch, if your body asks for food on socially inadequate moments, you should listen to your body and not your boss.
I found out that this helps me, since I only have to eat on the times that are right for my body. And not also on the socially right times. For some people that might cut the food intake in half. Seriously!
Does this make me a social outcast (more than I was before ;-)). No, not really. I still go out for dinner late with friends, but as an exception to the rule. And if Eduard comes back home late from work and I have already eaten, I can sit with him on the dinner table and eat a big bowl of healthy vegetable soup or a miso soup, while he is eating his dinner.
As said, by now I have lost 12kg in the last 3 months. No diet, no exercise, just more knowledge about how my !very! specific body works and what it needs (mentally and physically). It doesn’t mean you don’t need to exercise. You should! I will probably in the future, but I just wanted to show you that for everything in life, there is a right place to start.
If you have to start somewhere, it better be your own body!
And in my case I wanted to find out what this new situation (with the newly diagnosed auto-immune illness and the medicine) would do to me without changing much. I wanted to find a right balance first. And in my case I didn’t eat crazy amounts of (bad) food to start with. It needed some finetuning. I didn’t need to go from a daily McDonalds meal to chia seeds overnight, as I rarely or never did fast food (as a vegetarian). I easily found that balance this time. That’s probably because my physical core is much more in harmony due to medicine (which regulate parts of my hormones). And due to the right mental attitude, which I have been working on for a longer period (see point 1).
In the upcoming period I will probably incorporate some other small changes to my lifestyle. I’ll keep you posted about the progress.
To great beginnings!
**I’m not a medical professional, so this isn’t medical advise. Just my own experience.**
**I need to loose quite some weight. If you only need to loose a hand full of kg’s, you can probably skip most of my advise.**
**Image on top is made at the light festival in Lyon.**