Changing food and exercise habits for a more healthful lifestyle isn’t easy. Hitting the gym instead of the sofa after work takes commitment. Reaching past potato chips for fresh vegetables takes discipline. So if you’ve recently made the decision to make some changes, cheers to you!
Keep in mind, however, that seeing real change in your body takes time. Many of us expect that the pounds will magically melt away as soon as we start making significant behavior changes . Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, says Dr. Alexis Conason, psychologist and research associate at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center. In our haste to see results, many of us begin to see weight loss as a sprint rather than a marathon, and Conason believes this attitude actually leads to weight gain.
“When we are on a diet, we are taught to mistrust our body, ignore hunger and cravings, trick ourselves into believing that a large glass of water or some magical high fiber cookie will satisfy our body’s hunger for nourishing food,” she says. “We are taught that certain foods are “bad” or “good” and that we should deprive ourselves of eating these foods, even if our body is calling for them. Dieting has physiological, mental, and environmental consequences that promote weight gain.”
But crash diets aren’t the only reason it’s difficult to lose weight and keep it off. There are, as Conason says, physiological, mental, and environmental reasons that can derail even the most sensible fitness plans. It seems like everything from our office jobs to own stress levels ensure that losing weight is as difficult as possible.
Just because it’s tough, doesn’t mean you should give up! The best way to permanently lose weight, according to Conason, is to “start approaching your body with a sense of compassion and acceptance.”
The first step to losing weight while still being kind to your body is understanding why it’s so difficult to lose weight in the first place.
In the U.S., an average adult sits about six hours per day. Unfortunately, sitting too much decreases the body’s production of lipoprotein lipase, which helps you burn fat. So get out of that desk chair and walk around for at least a couple of minutes every hour. Better yet, take a walk on your lunch break.
Research shows that those who sleep less than six hours a night are more likely to overeat than those who get eight or nine hours of shuteye.