Featured Health Lifestyle

A New Year – A New Beginning

By Beatrice Davis

It is the beginning of a new year and like most of us, I too am ready to make a healthy start resolution. How many times have we all said, “I will stick with the new year’s resolution,” and really meant for those words to remain true?  But, sooner or later, we gradually begin to sink into old habits, unintentional of course.  The question is, “How many of us are really focused and determined to make a commitment to losing weight and getting healthy?” salad-374173__340

Are you one of the 95% who resolves to lose weight in the new year?  Keep your hand up if you fit into this category. I promise not to hold it against you, because, I know, and you know that only 5% of those who begin a weight loss program achieve their diet goal.

Are you the one who can announce to the world, “Yes, I did it!” Losing weight and achieving your desired weight is a daily struggle.  It takes more than just setting a goal.  Willpower and determination are the ingredients to succeed, but how does one find it? After all, the extra pounds did not occur overnight.  Sadly, over a long period of months and years, it almost silently crept up. Sadly, it might take the same amount of time to lose it.  That means, recognizing the results in small steps.

Twelve years ago, I decided to fulfill my own weight loss journey.  I lost 40 pounds by making gradual changes in my choices of food portion sizes.  I eliminated sodas, fried food, meat, and my favorite, sweets, over a period of time. I increased my workouts with more cardio and weightlifting. I achieved this without professional support or medical assistance.  I did this because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this. I stopped smoking and was so elated by this accomplishment. This is when I began to feel that I really could empower myself to lose the weight.  To be quite honest, quitting smoking was a hell of a lot easier than it was for me to lose the weight.  I actually didn’t start the weight loss program until 4 months into the new year.  I am unclear as to what motivated me to do it in April.

Over the years, I have seen numerous friends struggle with weight loss. I have tried to be a supportive friend and to help them to lose the weight and get them to commit to a healthier lifestyle. I have had some small successes, but in the end, the goals got lost in transitions. Let me make it clear, this article is not about me and the weight loss, it is about the struggle and how one handles the realization “I am overweight/obese!”

I reached out to several friends who deal with the struggle with food addictions. I wanted to get to the bottom of their diet struggle.

We all come from various backgrounds and cultures.   Our upbringing certainly makes a big impact on how our relationship with food and eating habits affect us. With so much information on diets and how to lose weight, I wanted to reach out to a few of my friends who have struggled their entire life with food and obesity. I realized early on what they all had in common; the emotional pressure that comes with it and how they feel an overweight person is viewed.

The most common response they receive is, “You have such a pretty face, if you just lose a few pounds or were thinner, you could be a model.” When I would hear this, it made me feel bad.  Why would someone ask such an insensitive question?  I have been guilty of the same response. Yes, I have in the past responded the same way.  Today, I realize how very painful it must be to hear these words and I know it makes the person feel less acceptable.

So many of my friends have tried numerous diets; from the cabbage diet to Weight Watchers.  However, nothing seemed to work for them. I personally think that one must be mentally and spiritually ready to lose the weight. They must do it for themselves and not be pressured by friends or society.

We are not perfect.  We are humans and we love to have fun and enjoy life. Food is not the enemy. Without food, we would not be able to live.  In plain context, we learn to love food.  However, the right foods are rich in nutrition and are attractive in color. Start exploring with vegetables and fruits and how you can create wonderful new recipes that fit your taste and make you feel happy. Over a period of time, your skin and hair will change and will make you look beautiful.

Let’s not forget an important component of weight loss.  That is mental and spiritual support. Even though you might not be able to afford to work with a therapist. find a great and supportive friend. A good therapist can assist you in easing into the transformation and learn what is it what keeps you from losing weight). Friends may not be the utmost expert, but in the end, love is all that you and I need.

A few important keys to remember for successful weight loss:

Start a healthy diet that fits your lifestyle

Keep an eye on your portions–diet-1Eat slow and chew for about 20 seconds

Identify your emotional triggers

Add more protein, vegetables, and fruits

Don’t beat yourself up when you slip up

Eat several small meals over the day

Stick with water, tea, and coffee

Eat at home if you can

If you have to eat out, once your food arrives, ask for a second plate and remove half and take it home

Keep a food journal

Allow yourself daily a piece of chocolate or one candy

Get enough sleep

Workout daily even if you have just 10 minutes

Weigh yourself only once a week

Be real, set realistic goals–one pound per week

Never give up, you are stronger than you think!

“I am worth it, and I deserve to be free”

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