One of the most popular goals is to lose weight. That's a very tough goal to achieve. It's so difficult because most go about it in the entirely wrong way.
We view weight loss as a negative thing—we believe we're so fat (our thunder thighs could crush mountains!), and we now have to deprive ourselves of everything delicious in life, while torturing our bodies with exercise, to shed the weight. With that attitude, we've lost the battle before our first pound!
Psychologist Sofia Rydin-Gray, the assistant director of behavioral health and lifestyle coaching at Duke Diet and Fitness Center, says she hears the words “fat” and “disgusting” a lot from her clients. “They say they want to call themselves fat because it is negative and it is going to be an inspiration to lose weight,” she said. “But if you think about it, if negative self talk worked, I think everybody would be thinner!”
Women "fat talk" for a number of reasons. Some bad-gab about their bodies as (flawed) motivation to lose weight, but others (many who are not overweight) use it as a catch-all for negative feelings. So first, find out if you need to lose weight. Take our Body Health Quiz to assess your BMI and waist to hip ratio, two of the most important markers of your weight's affect on your health. You'll also get your optimal weight range, so you can set a realistic weight loss goal based on science, and not the body of the 16 year old models staring at us from billboards and magazine spreads (yes, most really are teenagers!).
According to experts like Rydin-Gray and YouBeauty's Nutrition Expert, Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., our psychological approach to weight loss is just as important as what we put in our mouth food-wise. As we begin our 2012's, intent to keep that resolution to lose weight, here are some important tips to help us from falling into diet-damaging traps.
1. Diet Is A Four-Letter Word
First and foremost, never say you’re on a diet. “There are a huge amount of negative connotations about this very word. A diet is something that is temporary, it is something that implies sacrifice and discomfort,” says Kirkpatrick. Instead spin it into a positive by saying, “I’m going to eat healthy.”
Kirkpatrick has helped many people lose weight from her post at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program. “But I never go with the weight first,” she said. Instead, she promises her clients that by eating food that’s good for you, “You’re going to live longer, feel better, have more energy and be happier. And by the way, you also could drop 20 to 30 pounds.”
So forget about dieting. It's a plan with a beginning and end, and where does it leave you? Skinny doesn’t always mean healthy, especially if you crash diet to get there. Being healthy is a lifestyle that radiates from the inside out, all over your body, in way that makes people take notice, no matter what the size label says inside your jeans.
2. Accept Yourself The Way You Are
Rydin-Gray warns from the start, “If you’re very critical of your body it’s difficult to have a healthy relationship with food.” And she adds, “If you put all your effort into disliking yourself, you’ll never have energy for actually doing what is healthy for yourself.” Your whole plan to lose weight is going to get lost in a sea of negativity.
So, while you’re resolving to be healthier in the New Year, also make a resolution to accept every inch of yourself, as you currently are. Rydin-Gray recommends making a list of 10 things you like about you. And don’t be shy! You know you've got it goin’ on.
3. It’s A Family Affair
Kirkpatrick points out that when it comes to our body image, “There are a lot [of factors] that are cultural. And who your maternal role model was really determines whether or not you’re going to turn out to be one of those women who is a size two and pinching at her waist saying, ‘I’m so fat today.'" Eye roll.
You have to lead by example because you are the example. It is important to be cognizant of the way you talk about your body and every body around you—not just for yourself, but also for your spouse, children and friends. And you know, they think you’re a total babe! No matter what you say, you’re not going to convince them otherwise.
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