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The dark side of weight loss: Embracing passion, overcoming hype

Mind KEY / Health  / The dark side of weight loss: Embracing passion, overcoming hype
You need fresh produce in your healthy lifestyle.
Overcome dieting pitfalls and commercialism’s influence on your lifestyle choices, and lose the weight to gain true health. Image by Amanda Hollenbeck.

The dark side of weight loss: Embracing passion, overcoming hype

By Amanda Hollenbeck

How commercialism affects your health

The term “weight loss” is often met with frustration, especially when we so often need to unravel weight loss commercialism myths. The idea of having to endure mental and physical self-control does not have to become a prison before the journey even begins. A weight loss journey can become a healthy, lifelong and passion-driven decision. Fad diets and the diet industry are cashing in on our need to be thin. They are also fostering an unsustainable practice driven by commercialism and not passion.

In the book Encyclopedia of Fad Diets, authors Marjolijn Bijlefeld and Sharon K. Zoumbaris state that diet products are a huge business which rakes in billions of dollars from hopefuls who desire the perfect image of themselves. However, only 95% of those dieters maintain or keep the weight off in the long term.

According to Marjolijn Bijlefeld and Sharon K. Zoumbaris, after five years of starting one of these temporary diets, 95% of the dieters studied were found to have regained the weight that they had lost. These dieters may had been motivated by their desire to fit into a “thin world”. Many may have simply wanted to have control of their own lives. However, 95% continued to fail and regain the weight, meaning their passion fizzled out. Their motivation faded away.

According to a 2008 article published in Science Daily, of those surveyed, 75% of women had negative feelings toward their bodies and food. The study also noted 39% of women expressed how their constant worries about weight loss and food would get in the way of their mental health and happiness.

 

You are more than a number on a scale

Dieters whose main focus is the number on the scale, rather than their overall health, may lose their passion for their weight loss journey. This often results due to associating the negative feelings over a fluctuating weight on the scale with their feelings about weight loss or healthy diet. But it does not have to be that way. There are ways to stay motivated and make a weight loss journey a sustainable lifestyle. Instead of a diet, which typically is considered temporary, you can have sustainable weight loss. If one wants to keep the weight off and consistently improve their health for the long term, the motivation needs to become a beloved lifestyle. I cannot be a prison of cravings and restrictions.

Morphing the idea of healthy dieting and living into a lifelong lifestyle instead of a temporary diet means comprehending the best ways for staying motivated and consistent. These ways include relying on whole foods. The individual also needs to create sustainable and realistic goals. Instead of using the scale as a crutch, it must be used as a motivator. And lastly, make your diet sustainable by treating yourself when need be with healthier alternatives.

 

Make fruits and vegetables the main event, not the side dish

In their 2015-2020 dietary guidelines, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) reported that three-fourths of the U.S. population’s eating pattern does not include foods that are essential for weight loss and health—whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. They additionally state that most Americans are consuming more than the recommended amounts of added sugars which, according to XYZ, are linked to fat gain and an unpredictable metabolism, as well as saturated fats, which ABC states are linked to increased risk of heart disease) and excessive sodium consumption, which is linked to higher blood pressure and heart failure.

In order to maintain a steady, healthy weight loss that is motivated by progressive results, one must rely on fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. Most whole foods are purely created with no added sodium, saturated fats or processed sugars that will mess with your metabolism. If fruits, vegetables, and whole foods become the main part of your dish instead of a side part of your dish, it becomes simple to incorporate meals that are very low in all of the dangers that lead to weight gain and unhealthy living.

 

Creating sustainable, realistic weight loss goals

Most people jump into the new year with a weight loss goal in mind; they want to start going to the gym, eat healthier, and have their perfect summer body by June. These are all wonderful goals to have, but most of these goals don’t end up lasting. According to Statistic Brain, an organization that brings accurate and timely statistics to a number of media and other corporations, the number one New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and eat healthier. This statistic came in at a staggering 21.4%, which was almost double life and self-improvement in second place at 12.3%.

To put it more into perspective, out of the 41% of people who said they usually make New Year’s resolutions, 42.4% felt that they had failed and never succeeded in their resolution. This statistic is based on all of the resolutions that were set, not just weight loss, but it does show that most people who set New Years specific resolutions end up not succeeding in their journey. Setting a New Year’s resolution could fail because the expectations are too high, and the goal has to be met before the end of the new year, which means many are setting goals that are impossible to maintain. Even if someone fails their New Year’s resolution and falls off their New Year’s weight loss wagon, weight loss is a process and there is always hope to start again and set new goals.

 

How to set a long-lasting and attainable goal

The perfect time to set a goal is when you feel you are ready to approach it and challenge yourself. Of course, this could insinuate that no one is truly ready to approach the fact that they need to lose weight or be healthier. It’s a hard thing to come to terms with. Weight loss is more attainable if it is done on one’s own terms. That means, when they are ready, not when the idea of the intimidating “New Year’s Resolution” is thrust hastily upon them. This makes it your own resolution that you created on your own terms. And even if you don’t reach the goal by the end of the year, you can sustain it and keep going.  

Another way to set realistic and sustainable goals is by making a list of everything you plan to do in the coming months. This includes goals other than weight loss. Then see where you can fit your weight loss journey in with those other goals. Prioritizing your goals is an excellent way to predict what goal you will be able to reach instead of overestimating what you can accomplish. A whole-life planner or guide, such as Stephanie Matthew’s Bringing the Wild Within or The Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner, can help you figure out how to fit a sustainable weight loss plan into your other dreams and goals.

A healthy amount of weight loss is about eight pounds per month. This equates to two pounds per week. If you find that you will be busier than usual in the coming months, perhaps lowering the goal of eight pounds per month to two or four pounds per month will be more realistic for your schedule.

 

Use the scale as a motivator, not as a crutch

The truth is that weight is constantly fluctuating in our bodies. On some days we weigh a certain weight and on other days, if we’ve slipped up and eaten a heavy amount of sodium or processed carbohydrates, we retain more water weight. Think about it. Things in your body are always changing, whether you’ve worked out, ate a large meal, or have an upset stomach. It is more than healthy and normal to have fluctuating weight.

Weighing yourself every single day, especially at different times of the day, will not give you an accurate image of where you are. On top of that, you cannot put the expectation on yourself that you will get closer to your weight loss goal every day. It takes months, and sometimes even years, to reach a weight loss goal.

As they say, slow and steady wins the race. Weighing yourself every day is not going to magically speed that race up any faster. It may only make you feel negatively about your journey. That feeling is the worst motivator of all. Though weighing yourself every day isn’t the best idea for sustainable weight loss and overall health, it isn’t bad to weigh yourself every two weeks, or once a month. When weighing in, you should preferably do it at the same time of the day—ideally in the morning after you’ve gone to the bathroom.

A simple way to avoid weighing yourself every morning is to not have a scale in your house. Instead, only weight yourself using the scale at your gym. Use the scale as a motivator to accurately indicate where you are in your journey. Do this instead of using it as a crutch to make you feel guilty. This will help keep your lifestyle sustainable in the long run.

 

Sweet tooths, don’t fret!

Even when you’ve established a healthy lifestyle that no longer feels like you’re resisting and you’re simply living in your journey, you still may want a sweet here and there or a tempting, greasy burger. To treat yourself while still following your healthy weight loss journey, choose heart-healthy options to occasionally indulge in.

Your favorite desserts don’t have to be made with processed sugar or sweeteners. Processed sugar can easily be replaced with one of the healthiest natural sweeteners on the planet—dates. According to an article by Nutritionfacts.org, a non-commercial, science-based public service providing free updates on the latest in nutrition, dates may be considered one of the sweetest fruits with the highest amounts of natural sugar in them, but they have not been found to cause weight gain in individuals who eat them every day. Not only are dates a good and naturally sweet source of fiber, they also act as an effective thickener for baking.

 

Treat yourself to other healthy alternatives

Veggie chips aren’t exactly the healthiest chip on the planet, considering the fact that they are processed and full of sodium. Conscienhealth.org, an advocate for evidence-based prevention and treatment that works with experts to identify different approaches to health, states that a small fry from McDonald’s shows to be healthier than some of these veggie chip brands on the market.

The best thing to replace chips of any kind is by making them yourself from natural ingredients. This can be done with thinly sliced vegetables of your choice, Himalayan sea salt, and whatever other spice you’d like to use to change the flavor. As was stated before, overconsumption of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and possible heart failure. To lower your processed sodium intake, all you have to do is cut your favorite vegetable thinly (almost paper thin). Then, evenly coat the chips in a small amount of olive oil and seasonings and bake.

Ice cream is hard to resist, even in the cold seasons, but the truth is that ice cream is neither essential nor healthy. It also contains saturated fat, a type of fat which many nutritionists agree that our body struggles to digest. Nutritionfacts.org notes the dairy in ice cream, as well as the high sugar count. The same site adds that the sugar count dulls the dopamine response in our brains, which makes a person continue to crave ice cream in order to get the same high they got the first time they ate it. To replace the dairy-made ice cream, which contributes to weight gain, freeze a few bananas overnight. When ready, slowly “pulse” blend them with a tablespoon of nut milk and cinnamon. You can easily put a healthy twist on any craving that might pop up during your weight loss journey.

 

Unravel weight loss commercialism and stay passionate

Staying passionate in your weight loss journey when there are so many unhealthy distractions and can be difficult. Focus on your weight loss journey as a lifestyle instead of commercial diets. Research and find access and knowledge about just-as-yummy alternatives. Create realistic goals that match your other life improvement goals. And lastly, rely on whole foods. In all of this, you will find that establishing the weight loss journey as a lifestyle is a piece of cake.

Need help on your weight loss journey? Mind Key works with a number of nutritionists, nurses, health and life coaches, alternative practitioners and more. They can help you find the right sustainable path for you. Contact us today for a healing consult with Danielle Rose. At the end of the consult, you’ll have a strong sense of what health and diet plans are most sustainable for you and all of your life goals, as well as recommendations for programs and professionals to help you along the way, should you so choose. Not sure if this is right for you? Use the code MINICONSULT to try a mini-healing consult at more than 50% off.

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