Make your weight loss healthy and sustainable!
Losing a few pounds (of fat, as I like to say, because this is really what we want), is at the top of many women’s lists this month. February is only the second month of 2017, and getting in shape is still on our minds.
This is hard. Losing excess fat that your body wants to keep is just hard. It may not be as hard for some. But ask anyone who has ever lost weight, and they will tell you, it takes time and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen by magic.
Now, lest you think I’m going to leave you on that downer….today I’m here to help make it EASIER for you. Not harder and more complicated.
Whether you’re trying to lose fat or not, we’ve all been bombarded by messages that tell us how to lose weight. New methods, diets, programs, etc. I’m not here to give you a set of rules or foods to eat, that will help “melt the fat away”. I’m here to tell you the 3 key factors to losing extra fat in a healthy and sustainable way (as in, good for you physically and mentally, AND maintainable) NO MATTER the template/format you use. These factors apply whether you’re doing a fat-loss program or not. And they help ensure that you keep your sanity, while embarking on any fat-loss journey.
3 Key Factors for Healthy and Sustainable Fat Loss
Nutrition and fat loss science
You need to have a good foundation in the science of metabolism, how certain foods interact with different systems in the body, etc. All kinds of good stuff. 😉 You might think, “Eat less and do more cardio”, but that’s not necessarily the case. You don’t have to get a degree in nutrition or anything. But you want to come from a place of being informed, so your hard work will pay off (and stay off ;)) Dedication will only take you so far (and oftentimes, painfully so), if it’s misguided. So, knowing what kinds of foods will be the best for your body to get in fat-burning mode, and understanding the concept of fat-burning will be key. Way too much to get into, in this little post, but do I have the resources for YOU!
Dr. Jade Teta from Metabolic Effect says it better than anyone else I know. Seriously, you’ve got to go check out Metabolic Effect for accurate fat-loss information. It is well researched, and makes SO MUCH SENSE. If you’re wondering how to lose fat sustainably, in a way that’s healthy for your body, there are tons of resources over there. Programs, books, and even blog posts. (This is just me being a total fangirl, in appreciation of how much I personally have been enlightened.)
The Right Mindset
Okay, this one is a biggie. I’m talking about your motivation WHY. If you want to lose fat because you hate your body, then girl, you are in a bad place. I’m serious here. My motto is “never exercise to punish yourself for eating, and never eat what you hate because you hate your body”. I know, pretty long motto.
First of all, you shouldn’t go hating on your body in the first place. Yes, recognize if and when you need to make changes. But let your desire to change be because you want to respect and care for your body, which has been intricately designed and created by God. Not because you hate it so much that you can’t stand it (and obviously, there are things about our bodies that we CAN’T change. Know that God created you this way with a purpose). There’s another motto I love, which is, “Don’t exercise because you hate your body. Exercise because you love your body.” Whether you have extra fat to lose or not, exercise is a necessary component for a healthy lifestyle. So, look at the discipline of exercise as part of self-care. Make it part of your life, not just a quick fix.
And, let me just touch a little on the “lifestyle” factor. You’ve probably heard something like, “make it a lifestyle, not a diet”. While this sentiment sounds nice, and I nodded my head and amened for so long, I have to tell you…it’s not REALLY true.
See, to make change, you have to enact change. And change usually requires us to be uncomfortable…maybe do hard things. I dislike the term “diet” as much as the next person. But in this whole craze to make body change a lifestyle (which I agree with by the way), I think we tend to push so hard this direction, that we forget we may need to CHANGE our CURRENT lifestyle to a harder one. Perhaps only for a season.
I hope that all makes sense. I am NOT saying you need to follow a strict diet or anything. What I am saying, is that you’ll probably need to build a lifestyle that looks different than it would if you were simply skipping along “maintaining your weight” as they say.
Come at your weight loss/fat loss (whatever you want to call it) from a desire to be a good steward of the body God has given you. Take care of yourself so you have MORE time, and MORE energy to devote to loving and serving others well.
Healthy Relationship with Food AND God
It’s easy to think of FOOD as our enemy. To see cravings as the Dread Pirate Robert, coming to steal our hard work and dedication.
And something that we don’t really like to talk about is food addiction. Yes, you read that right. I’m talking about, you start eating one, and before you realize it the whole bag/box/plate is gone. Some foods (I’m looking at you, processed, preserved, sugared junk foods!) really do affect our brains in the same way that drugs do. They activate the “reward” centers of our brain, releasing dopamine, and leaving us wanting more. This is a literal, physical addiction. And we can also be emotionally “addicted” to food. We like to use it as an escape, or to numb some emotional pain. Believe me, I know how easy this is to do!
In order to consistently make good food choices for your body, and make it a sustainable lifestyle, you must start by having a healthy relationship with food in general. Food is not the enemy. It is a gift from God. If food is causing you guilt, shame, fear, or frustration, it’s time to take a look at why. And cravings are not always a bad thing. It could be your body telling you of some deficiency. It could be you’re experiencing withdrawals from the afforementioned junk food). Even more, physical cravings can point us toward our spiritual cravings, which CAN be filled and satisfied. But not through food.
Our relationship with God. This. This is what so many of us miss. It’s like we keep our health and God in two separate boxes, and open and interact with each one separately, thinking that “never the twain shall meet”. In order to not be dependent on food as our source of comfort, joy, and satisfaction, we have to turn elsewhere. And yes, there are a thousand other things we can try to numb with or escape by. Food isn’t the only one. But none of these will ever be truly satisfying, truly comfort, or bring us true joy. Only God can. And that’s why it’s so important for us to be looking to Him. Talking with Him, and listening to Him.
It may seem silly, but I believe that our relationship with food, and even with our bodies, can both be tied deeply to our relationship with God. If you’re struggling in your relationship with food, please don’t think that God doesn’t care, or that it doesn’t affect your spiritual walk. Even when dealing with eating habits, your relationship with God should be your main focus.
So, before you embark on your fat loss journey, or before you give up on the one you’re on now, think about these 3 factors: Know the science. Have the right mindset for this change. And get to know your Creator.
P.S. Tell me you got the Princess Bride reference. I want a comment or email. 😉
Also, I’d love to hear what your biggest struggle is, when it comes to eating healthy, exercising consistently, or even food cravings. You can schedule a FREE coaching session HERE to talk about any frustrations or struggles you have, and I’d love to help you form a strategy for getting around them!