In part one of this article, we talked about the total failure of dieting and how the focus needs to shift to food quality.
A focus on lifestyle changes will bring about good health and permanent weight loss. This includes proper eating, activity and exercise, good sleep habits, and managing stress. Let’s work together to get on the proper PATH. Plant strong foods, Accountability, Think positively, and Habit change will go a long way in bringing lasting success.
P – Plant-strong foods
What’s the first step to make when trying to lose weight and improve health? Often it’s revisiting and deciding how to make adjustments on the food front. As we said, steer clear of diets. Opt for something sustainable; a way of eating for life.
The way of eating that proves to be beneficial to overall health and lead to weight loss is plant-based and whole-foods. Whole-Food Plant-Based eating (WFPB), is the only way of eating shown to absolutely reverse heart disease and diabetes. It also is being used to lower blood pressure and reverse many symptoms of autoimmune diseases. WFPB eating is a sustainable and satisfying way to eat. Calorie or portion counting is for the most part not important (except on fattier foods). WFPB will crowd out most of the highly detrimental processed foods in your diet, too.
A – Accountability
There is nothing wrong with getting help. Find someone to help you stay accountable and hold yourself accountable to new behaviors. Work with a health coach or friend who can help you remain accountable.
Find a program that gives you a comprehensive way of life to gain your health back. Remember that you should include all three essential elements in your program: good eating, good exercise, and maybe the most important, integrating behavior and habit change into your daily life. At The Wellness Clinic, we take every individual’s uniqueness into account.
T – Think positively
Stay optimistic and have positive affirmations about your new way of life. This will bring greater and better success, especially when you make mistakes. We are all human. We all have to make choices and sometimes we make mistakes—ALL OF US! Use your missteps to get better and learn from them. Handle mistakes without negativity and an overly self-critical attitude. A mistake is something to learn from. Take the positives, put the rest behind you, and stay on track.
According to Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist Dr. Judith Beck, to lose weight successfully, one must learn how to stop at the first mistake, put it in perspective, and recommit right away. So when the inevitable happens, and you’ve eaten an entire box of cookies or have missed consecutive days of even minimal exercise, just write yourself a positive note like, “I can succeed” or “now’s the time to improve.” Read your note a few times or hang it up where you will see it.
H – Habits
At this stage you will also want to break some old habits and form some new ones. Understanding how habits are made will help you. The “habit loop” has 3 parts:
- Cue – Cues trigger behaviors. A school bell ringing tells you the class is over. Cues can also be negative. Depression or stress can be a cue to overeat. Slight hunger can be a cue to have a small snack or can trigger binge eating.
- Behavior – The behavior is the actual habit. It is learned over time and occurs automatically. We always brush our teeth before bed, or carry our keys in the same pocket. The more of a habit the behavior becomes, the more ingrained it is in the brain.
- Reward– Rewards teach the brain that the behavior in question promotes pleasure, making it easier for that behavior to recur in the future. A reward can be something positive, like a good feeling after an exercise session or satisfaction in knowing your keys aren’t lost. The pleasure from a reward can also be harmful, like how good you feel right after smoking or eating unhealthy fast food.
Contrary to popular belief, habits do not take 21 days to form. Habit formation varies greatly from person to person and can take as long as 66 days (Gardner, Lally & Wardle 2012). It’s a long process that requires consistent implementation. If you have an ambitious goal like losing 25 kilos, it’s important to “chunk” it into smaller, less daunting and more realistic outcomes. For example, instead of focusing on losing 25 kilo, a good first milestone is to lose 2.5 kilos in the first month by increasing daily walking and cutting your daily dessert.
Changing eating behaviors becomes so much easier when a diet consist of healthier, less addictive foods.
The other things
There are no shortage of studies showing the importance of sleep. People who don’t get enough sleep simply cannot be successful in losing weight. In addition, lack of sleep increase the risk of disease. 7-9 hours is what we need.
There was a time that I looked at this as a side issue, but no more. Sleep is incredibly important in a healthy lifestyle.
Activity and Exercise:
Activity and exercise are huge. The main benefit is not just burning calories. Exercise and activity change your metabolism and are as anti-inflammatory as eating a plant-rich diet. WFPB eating and exercise, along with managing your stresses, can lower your disease risk by as much as 80%–AND THERE IS NO PILL ON THE PLANET THAT CAN COME ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THAT.
So, here we are at that time of the year when we all resolve to get our health under control and to keep it that way. We can do it if we do it the right way. At The Wellness Clinic we provide one-on-one guidance to help bring lasting change and success. Wishing you enduring success in your health and weight loss journey! Using the steps and following the PATH outlined above will help you “add hours to your days, days to your years, and years to your life.”