You’re trying to get to a healthy weight: but you’re miserable, exhausted, and snapping at everyone who crosses your path. Guess what: you’re losing weight the wrong way. You don’t have to hate every minute of it. You should feel more energized, more alert, and have better self-esteem (if your weight loss program is healthy and balanced). Here are some hints that you might not be on the right track– and some suggestions to change course for the better.
You’re one of the following all the time:
- And (drum roll, please) Hungry
It’s true you may be a little hungry when you’re first adjusting to a new diet. But if hunger, or any of the other symptoms listed above, are constant (and affecting your ability to engage in your normal activities), your calorie and nutrient needs are not being met. This can lead to other negative consequences in your body like hormonal imbalance, loss of muscle mass, and higher stress levels. If you’re stuck in this cycle of unhealthy weight loss, you need a change in your weight loss program.
Your program involves two steps: Microwave and Eat.
Beyond the convenience of these types of programs, there is a high risk of boredom (and eventual disengagement) from such a weight loss plan. In addition, there’s not much support beyond the plan. Say you wanted to eat lunch with friends at a restaurant, or were invited for someone’s home for dinner. Such a strategy would not give you practical insights and supports that would allow you to eat and enjoy meals anywhere, so it may actually turn out to be less convenient in the long run. Also, these programs are often high-cost, another thing that makes them difficult to sustain long-term. You’re either exercising too much, or not enough. Unless you’re a professional athlete, or the trainer working with them, any increases or adjustments you make to your exercise program need to be incremental, sustainable, and gradual. Too much exercise–to the point where you hurt or exhaust yourself– and too little exercise (where you only focus on limiting your food intake) are two “strategies” most diet plans use: but they’re the wrong way to lose weight. A healthy weight loss program balances nutrition changes with reasonable exercise habits that are appropriate for your goals and your physical ability level. There’s no one-size-fits all approach. A good program will be tailored to you.
You never eat certain foods or food groups.
Unless you have an allergy or a medical condition that keeps you from eating foods like dairy, wheat, or nuts, you should avoid weight loss strategies that remove a food (or a food group) from your diet. Completely eliminating a food or food group not only makes a diet hard to sustain over time, it lacks the balance necessary for proper nutrition and energy level.
You have no life.
It sounds harsh, but this feeling is common for people that are in unhealthy, unbalanced weight loss programs. Think about it: if you’re told to avoid friends with eating habits, diets, or weights contrary to your program, you’re going to miss out on meaningful relationships. If you’re prohibited from eating out, you’re going to miss special occasions and milestones that are often celebrated by sharing a delicious meal. To put it simply, the right weight loss program will improve satisfaction and quality of life, not diminish it. You should be losing weight in a way that aligns with a life you enjoy, not separates you from it.