4 Ways to Lose Weight You Haven’t Heard Before
By Kimberly Wulfert, PhD
It’s a new year but if you’re repeating a resolution to lose the extra weight, read on. I’m sharing my unusual approach to weight loss that continues to help me maintain my thin self decades later. Add these with what you know about eating healthy, and they’ll help you too.
Think of willpower like a muscle in your brain; it has limited strength and its ability to assist you wears out with overuse. It must rest to regain its strength. When I was overweight I had little willpower to avoid eating too much or the wrong things after a stressful situation, hurtful event or long day of work. I thought I was weak.
I want you to know that you are not weak. Your willpower simply wears out some days and when you’re under chronic stress. Then you fall back on old unhealthy patterns in your attempt to feel better or get energized. When the patterns repeat enough, your brain will form the habit luring you into the repeating patterns it knows. When your willpower is strong it helps you build a new habit of your choosing through repetition and when it’s worn-out you can’t depend on it.
I lost my extra weight for good when I realized this connection and saw the food I ate was fuel for my mind and body. Over time, choosing the right foods for me became easier. I felt more positive, energized, and in control which built habits I was happy to have. Losing weight became easier as my awareness expanded to the bigger picture.
With awareness of how your food choices affect your whole life, not just your weight, you will see new options and be able to use willpower to your advantage.
1. Save every food, drink, and grocery receipt for a week. Keep track of the money you spend out of pocket. Add up all the related items and subtract from your weekly pay. Next add what you spent on those high in fat,( Exceptions are high-calorie healthy fats such as nuts, olive oil, avocado, and nut butters.) calories, sugars and processing (have ingredient lists that include chemicals). Tell yourself the truth.
How much money did you throw away? What time of day do you waste the most money and where did you spend it?
How strong is your willpower then?
2. Widen your view. For the same week, keep track of the time spent relative to food, including shopping, transportation, waiting, preparing, cooking, eating and cleaning up, and anything else involving food. Subtract the total hours from 168 (a week). How do you feel about the time you spend concerning food? Are you wasting time acquiring and eating food that you do not need to eat? How might you spend those additional minutes or hours? Add how much time is spent thinking about getting food.
3. You’ll save a lot of time and money buying all of the food and drink you need for one week at one time, or two if you include a stop for your local/fresh produce or fish. If your willpower is weakest at the end of the day, don’t shop then. Use a list, shop when your will power is strongest, and resist buying foods that are filled with empty calories. Buy food you like that is also good for you and stock up extra whenever it’s on sale. You’ll eat fewer calories because you won’t have easy mindless or habitual access to junk food at home or convenient stores. When ordering take-out, call in advance when your willpower is strongest.
4. Discovering and eliminating the food group(s) you are not digesting right can change your life immediately in many ways. Unutilized poorly digested calories won’t settle into fat cells and extra pounds will naturally drop off when digestion is unobstructed. Cravings will lose power over you when nutrients are absorbed and your body gets what it needs.
Find out about yourself by rotating foods. Starting with your most favorite food, stop eating it and its food group (i.e. dairy, wheat, soy, egg yolks, sugars, gluten) for one week, as hard as that may feel. Each day note all changes in your body, mood, energy level and digestive track. Then eat it for two days, and note the differences again. If problematic, eliminate it for several months be-fore eating it again occasionally. Test your next favorite food.
After applying these changes, you will have an expanded awareness of how food and eating affect your life. This shift makes new options clear. Partner with your willpower when it’s strong, and can gain control instead of pounds, while spending your money and time on things that matter to you.
Kimberly Wulfert is a licensed psychologist, life coach for women over 40 and meditation teacher located in Ventura CA. She is running a class on Mindful Eating for Weight Loss starting January 16 or she can work with you in person, by phone or Skype.
See: KimberlyWulfert.com or call (805) 320-9361.