There are so many ways to lose weight these days. Most likely, many of them work in the short run, but not the long run. What is important to realize is that you have to make it work for you and not the other way around. This is where most people fail, before they even start. They think that there is some new secret method out there that will help them lose weight. They search for it, almost as if they are searching for the key. The key however is with them all along. They have the power to make a change, not the method they will use. More time should be spent on this point and to focus on what needs to change first.
The way that you think, act and feel all need to change together. One without the others just will not work.
It all begins with a thought. For example, the thought that you are thirsty or hungry has to occur first before anything else happens. If you can change the way that you think then this will definitely be a step in the right direction to losing weight.
The first thing you can do to change the way you think is to begin recognizing your thought patterns. When do you think about getting that snack? Why do you think about it? What makes you think about it? Where are you when you think about it? Try to answer any of these questions and it will be recognition of the reasons why you develop your thoughts in the first place.
Here are some examples, I am usually sitting down watching television when I get the urge to have a snack, therefore I know when and where the thought happens. Another example, I am out visiting friends, or family, out come the snacks, others begin snacking so I think that it is fine if I snack as well, therefore I now know when, where, and especially why the thought happens. You have to change the way you think when it comes to food before you can tackle how to lose weight.
Once you recognize which factors (where, when, why and what) have an impact on your thoughts, begin by acknowledging these factors right when they happen. Stop for as long as it takes to recognize what is happening. Do this at least once every day for a full week. Keep track and take credit for your success.
Do the same thing in week two, but this time try to recognize it twice per day. Don’t be tempted to fast track and do both a single and double daily recognition in week one. This will only get you into trouble because like all habits, endurance is the key not speed. Walk before you run. Trying to lose weight fast usually does not last. It has to become second nature. Finally, in week three and four aim for three and four daily attempts at recognizing bad habits. It should get easier and become more automatic. Don’t stop after week 4, continue doing this indefinitely and it will become second nature. It will be easier and won’t need much effort at all – so don’t think this is too much work until you have tried it.
All of this will set you up for becoming fully aware of the triggers that lead to bad habits. Once you achieve this then you are ready to take the next step - how you act.
Now that you are aware of the triggers, you need to begin recognizing how you act. For example, I am watching television and a fast food commercial comes on which gets me thinking about what to snack on. My reaction might be to get up and look through the cupboards for a snack. I am aware of what made me start on this path because I just spent the past four weeks training myself to at least recognize the triggers. But now I am going to recognize how I act or behave. My initial behavior is to get up and look for something to eat. Or, if at a friend’s house my initial behavior when everyone is snacking is to reach and grab a snack as well. At this point I am physically doing something. I am acting on my thoughts.
How do I change that behavior? Well, first of all, if you are aware of the triggers which lead you into trouble you can begin by avoiding them. While watching television is fun, it really doesn’t do much for your health nor your weight. If you avoid it as much as possible then you are potentially avoiding the triggers. However, let’s suppose you do not want to avoid doing certain things, for example, visiting a friend. Then perhaps you can avoid sitting close to the snacks and not tempt yourself. These acts will help. A little at a time will help, even if it does not always happen. You need to do it gradually and consistently. Discipline will help you to lose weight.
In week one try to change how you behave once per day. So, for example, if you’re watching your favorite show on television, and a commercial comes on which triggers the thought for a snack, then change your behavior and do something else – like not getting up at all, or changing the commercial, or getting a drink of water. Just change your behavior once per day. Do this at least once every day for a full week. Take credit for this success. You might be thinking that these are small achievements, however, they are huge because they are your first steps to changing the cycle permanently and losing weight.
Do the same thing in week two, but this time try to do it twice per day. Likewise in week three and four, do it three or four times per day. Remember not to fast track. You need to make gradual and consistent changes. You will build more momentum and confidence this way and not crash and burn. Taking smaller steps builds more confidence and is more achievable. It will put you in control to losing weight.
If you can stop snacking for a full week after work when you’re watching television then you will be more confident that you can do it again, and again.
Once you have control over the thought triggers, and your behavior, you can finally tackle how you feel. Don’t just acknowledge how you feel, but rather why you feel that way. Decide for yourself what is more important, how you feel now or how you will feel when you’ve lost so much weight, when you start to feel and look better. Again, recognize how you feel about the choice you made at least once per day for the first week. Credit yourself at the end of the week if you’ve done this at least once every day. In week two, three and four challenge yourself to recognize how you feel two, three, and four times per day. All of this awareness will help you to better understand what is going on. And when you better understand it you stand a better chance at dealing with it.
All of these three methods of dealing with cutting down on bad eating habits will help you to become more aware of your thoughts – where it starts, your actions – what you do about it, and your feelings – the consequences after your actions be it good or bad. All three of these methods will help you learn to lose weight. When you deal with all three, one after the other, you will be dealing with the entire cycle not just one part of it. You will be applying yourself. That is the key.