A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss
Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Healthy, sustainable weight loss is absolutely achievable when you use a multi-faceted approach
The prevailing wisdom regarding weight loss is that in order to lose weight you simply have to eat less and exercise more. Period.
On the surface this idea makes sense. How much you eat and how much you move certainly influence your weight. However, this concept is woefully inadequate and doesn’t begin to tell the whole story.
There are a number of factors that influences your ability to lose weight, including the following:
The metabolic effects of food and how they your body’s ability to store food as fat instead of burning it as fuel
The metabolic effects of exercise; long exercise sessions are not only unnecessary, but often ineffective
The detrimental effects of stress on hunger, food cravings and metabolism
The tendency to overeat when you are not paying attention
Your very human propensity for turning to food when you seek comfort or distraction
The myriad underlying reasons you might resist the lifestyle changes necessary for healthy and sustainable weight loss
A weight management program is most effective when it addresses all of these issues. Its goal is not only to help you become slimmer, but to enhance your physical and emotional health. It guides you to eat better, move appropriately, eat mindfully, and explore and heal the emotional issues that prompt overeating and weight gain.
Let's look at these various aspects of weight loss.
The ideal food plan includes lots of vegetables, a moderate amount of fruit and whole grains, and an adequate amount of protein and healthy fat. It also minimizes refined flour, sugar, and processed food.
Fat does not make you fat - an abundance of refined carbohydrates does. An excessive amount of flour (even whole wheat), and sugar (of any kind), raises your insulin levels to such a degree that your body is likely to store what you eat as fat instead of using it for fuel. These foods can also make you hungrier and increase food cravings.
The amount of food you eat also affects how much fat you store. However, there is a direct correlation between what you eat, how often you are hungry, and what foods you crave. Making healthy food choices will make it easier to eat less.
Exercise is an essential component of any healthy, successful weight-loss endeavor, but this does not mean that you have to spend hours in the gym. It does entail identifying activities that you enjoy and then setting up a program that is safe, effective, and realistic for you.
We are all meant to move. Some of us enjoy being physically active more than others. But exercise does not have to be something you trudge through. Walk. Dance. Ride a bike. Then add two, 20 to 30 minute resistance-training sessions per week.
The benefits are enormous and the time and effort you put into your fitness program will not only help you lose weight, but will improve your mood, reduce stress, and make you a healthier, happier, and more joyous person.
Losing weight is a matter of eating only when you are physically hungry and then stopping when you have had enough. In order to accomplish this, you must learn to pay attention.
This means that when you feel the urge to eat, you tune into that desire and develop the ability to figure out if it stems from real, physical hunger. If it does, you eat slowly and mindfully so that you can actually taste and enjoy your food, sense fullness, and stop eating when you have had enough.
If the urge to eat is born of a need for comfort, distraction, or some other emotional need, pausing and tuning into your feelings can allow you to address those feelings without turning to food to numb them.
Pay attention to thoughts, feelings, sensations, and to the eating process itself. Engage fully in your experiences. You will find it far easier to eat “just enough.”
Stress usually plays a significant role in the impulse to overeat. Examining the effects of stress and developing ways to manage it will not only reduce compulsive eating, but also bring more peace and balance into your life.
Resistance will always rear its ugly head sooner or later. If this were not so, weight loss would not be such a long and arduous task for so many. Even the most successful weight-loss journey often consists of two steps forward and one step back.
The impulse to judge and blame yourself when you slide back into old eating patterns can bring your weight-loss efforts to a complete halt. It is much more helpful and appropriate to see it as a normal part of the weight-loss process. Looking at your resistance, naming it, and learning from it is far more beneficial. Combining this with a healthy dose of self-acceptance and forgiveness will allow you to move forward once again.
If you frequently find yourself eating or thinking about eating when you are not hungry, you are probably prompted by emotional issues that you may or may not be aware of. Here is a list of possibilities:
Uncomfortable feelings arising from your current situation, such as stress, anxiety, grief, frustration, or anger
Unresolved painful memories from the past
Innate feelings of shame, guilt, or unworthiness
A belief that it is unsafe to change your eating habits or to be thinner
Fortunately, there are a number of tools and informational sources to guide you through your healthy weight loss journey. Here is where I suggest you start.
Check out my book, Waist Management: Train Body, heart and Mind for Permanent Weight loss. This book explores all of these issues in greater depth.
Learn how to use Tapping, a very simple but extremely powerful energy technique you can use to manage food cravings and emotional eating
Peruse this blog site. Much more helpful information is on its way.
And please, join me on Facebook. Leave a question or comment. I look forward to joining you there.