When you first start to get serious about Losing Weight, it’s best to put your finger on whatever may have driven the weight gain in the first place. The next step would be to determine which of those factors can be remedied first, which may be remedied once those first are dealt with, and which you may never be able to do anything about.
So here’s a possible list: see which might have been having an impact on you, and which categories they represent.
AVAILABILITY of many foods, so much to choose from, and just SO MUCH of it! Wherever you look, and whatever you watch on TV or read in magazines, we are encouraged to pay homage to Taste Buds and follow current fads. Under this degree of bombardment, it’s no wonder we give way to continued temptation. Since my adult years I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of new choices available in Supermarkets — mostly ethnic foods added to the shelves, and since some of these are indeed healthy, it’s worth looking into what we can afford to try. But what a task to keep up! I ask an acquaintance who’s a great hostess and into fine dining: she’s usually well up on what is what.
SERVING SIZES are often too generous, especially in some restaurants (and unless you know how they cook their food, better to do it yourself and have control). Take home part of the portions. Back at home, what your prepare can be served onto smaller plates.
TRANSPORT is readily available, and WORKING TIME often stretches, so getting out the wheels is an alternative to spending time walking or exercising. We don’t feel we can spare the time to take anything but the quickest alternative.
CONVENIENCE is something we’ve come to see as our due. Advertising will confirm that “You deserve it” when what really drives that sentiment is the desire for profit of the producers. Despite this, I’ve seen numerous television programmes which DO present healthy alternatives, but often these become no more than a talking point and prove to be easily forgotten or popped ‘momentarily’ into the “Too Hard” or “Do Later” baskets.
EATING TOO FAST is a factor in a world where there’s always a meeting to attend, tasks to do before one’s favourite televisions how, or a phone call which simply must be made. Or we eat unthinkingly while watching TV. Feelings of urgency can get us consuming food without chewing sufficiently, and consuming more than what is needed, before our stomachs have had the chance to register fullness and signal “enough”.
PROCRASTINATION is part of the problem. For me, it was frequently “I just need to collect some more details/facts/ideas for implementation, then I’ll make out a list, a then I’ll start a proper Regime.”
And meantime in the world outside, for whatever reason (self-esteem being the main one), some trends are to CELEBRATE BIGNESS. This may lead to never solving the problem of obesity — or, should I say, recognising what CAN be done.
FADS IN FOOD PRODUCTION: If you can Google, here are some statements to delve into, so as to make up your mind regarding the hidden dangers in food production, and what you may decide to do about them (or what simply has to be lived with/without):
- The cheapest and/or most convenient food is often the least healthy. Packaged food is probably highly processed and therefore food quality compromised. Learn to read the Ingredients list, especially chemical additives (“E numbers”).
- Food additives are often used for reasons that are nothing to do with Nutrition: they lengthen shelf life (so the retailers don’t lose), improve flavour (so the public will buy that particular brand more), improve colour (what looks good must surely taste nice!), affects texture and so on.
- Some food additives are called “Obesinogens” because they stifle the body’s sense of fullness and create cravings for more and more of the same.
- Large food-producing groups have political clout, and often laws are passed to maximise their profit, regardless of what it does to the consumers!
- Concepts of what is “healthy” change — and are often driven by food producers, or by research which moulds opinion until somehow proof of the opposite or alternative might be made public some years later. Post-WW2 there was a general condemnation of saturated fats such as in dairy products, hence much profit to be made from the dash for alternative cooking oils of which few are actually healthy. Steer clear of canola oil! I’ve been using rice bran oil but recently have read the huge health benefits of coconut oil especially as a weight loss aid. Since I rarely fry anything, and don’t really want to swallow oil by the tablespoon, and have a husband who hates coconut, I disguise a tablespoon of coconut oil within our daily Smoothie. And of course I’ve noticed that our bodies need Omega 3s that come from what used to be outlawed as “bad fats”, so am no longer afraid of butter, dairy and red meats.
- In place of what were seen as “bad” fats, food producers replaced fat content with the only other thing that would produce an appealing taste: SUGAR.
- However, sugar is recognised as unhealthy for the human body (“toxic” is the word currently used) and creeps into processed foods in alarming quantities. Current TV news is suggesting that quantities of sugar be expressed in “– teaspoons” since people don’t tend to look at how many grams and divide it by 5. Other forms of sugar include “high fructose corn syrup” which must also be avoided. Companies which replace sugar with artificial sweeteners are doing an equal disservice as most are based on Aspartame. Look for products using Stevia natural sweetener, or similar.
HEALTH FOODS often mislead us. We think we’re providing well for our children whenever we pour fruit juice — but it’s not so, since fruit has high sugar levels and fruit concentrate will therefore have higher levels (even “with no added sugar”). It’s better to give pieces of fruit which supply fibre as well as flavour — or dilute the juice.
REWARDS TO SELF often take the form of a bar of chocolate or handful of cookies. Until a supply of healthy nuts or muesli bars can be established, weight loss is being undermined.
LAZINESS and LACK OF MOTIVATION. Sometimes we just need to have a moment of sufficient embarrassment to motivate us; perhaps we’d respond if a friend gently but firmly said “I’ll be your mentor”; perhaps we need to join a group if we know their philosophy, and can afford to follow their meal plans.
Perhaps this list will help any reader toward healthier lifestyles. A lot of these points are still condemning me! It’s a task in progress.