If you are heavily overweight, it’s easy to find the idea of slimming down to be daunting. We go through phases of dieting and trying out new fads, only to be disappointed with the poor results. We told ourselves for a long time that we could shed the extra weight in a month or two and be as fit as a fiddle. Yet, after trying a number of times to do exactly that, we found that it wasn’t as easy as we had thought. Even worse, many of those who did see good results, got down to a weight they were happier with and then rebounded spectacularly to an even bigger size.
Then there are those who are driven to drastic action – perhaps by seeing the death of a friend who was a similar size, or from having their own health scare. These people often take dieting to an extreme, eating the minimum they can. They lose weight rapidly, but dangerously. These people experience a whole range of problems, including losing muscle along with fat – leaving them weaker than before. They can experience prolonged dehydration, which negatively affects the central nervous system, and other deficiencies which result in hair loss, constant fatigue and dizziness. They become unemployable as they are so weak and unable to focus, and look worse than they did when they started.
None of this is good news for someone who wants to lose weight. But the good news is that most people don’t need a quick fix. Simple changes in your diet and lifestyle – nothing to stress about and nothing worth bragging about, are the key to sensible weight loss – shedding the pounds and keeping them off. Rather than losing 30lbs in six months, aim to lose it in two or three years. That’s a pound a month. It doesn’t sound much because it isn’t. But, if you weigh 120lbs now, in three years’ time you could be down to 90lbs. If you do nothing, you’ll still be 120lbs or even more. That’s worth it.
If you’re completely idle at the moment, you need to start doing something. Get yourself outside at the same time every day for a walk around the block. Get a dog to make sure you have to do it. Have fun on your walk – talk to other dog walkers, admire the views, relax. You’re not on a treadmill. You just have to walk for twenty or thirty minutes. Try to find more ways to keep yourself on your feet. Make short journeys on foot, rather than taking the car. If you feel exhausted after your walk, leave it at that. But, if you can, do more.
The big one is the food. You’re probably worried about feeling hungry, and you’re right to be. Rather than cutting down on the volume of food you consume, simply change the amounts of different ingredients. Try as much as you can to avoid what you know is unhealthy – sugary soda drinks, processed cheese, pizza, candy bars etc. You don’t have to abandon them, but if you’re eating them regularly, you’ll struggle to make progress. Switch to brown rice and brown bread. Fill up on green veggies. You might be surprised how great a stew can be with a small amount of fish or meat, a great sauce and plenty of veggies.
Drink water when you feel hungry. This does get rid of the feeling of hunger as the water fills your stomach. If you get sick of water, get yourself a food processor here at Mrs Foodprep and make yourself some smoothies using fruit and vegetables. You can find some great recipes online. The ingredients might not look all that delicious when you lay them out separately, but they taste great as a snack to quell your hunger until meal time.
Lastly, if you’re a big drinker, you’ll have to cut down. If the thought of cutting down annoys you or frightens you, then it’s likely you have a drinking problem. That could well be the reason you got so big in the first place. Find help to deal with your problem and stop or cut down drinking. A few glasses or beers on a Saturday night isn’t a problem, as long as it remains a few.