We all have days like this when our motivation is low and our need to overeat or be a couch potato takes over. But it’s best to bust those excuses before they become a well worn mantra of failure.
Cultivating true resilience is a lifelong process.
Lifesaver #1: Use the Buddy System
Corny but proven: You get by with a little help from your friends. Nine out of 10 women in Werner’s study said they relied on their friends for emotional support – but not just any friends. It’s about quality,” Werner says. “People who survive adversities usually have one or two close friends from early in life.” Having a social life is one thing, but having someone to talk to is the thing.
Lifesaver #2: Mine that Silver Lining
In order to remain resilient, you need to learn how to dig the positive treasures out of the muddiest pit, but – pessimists, stay with us – true optimism is not just thinking annoyingly happy thoughts all day long. Rather, it’s believing that you have the power to bring about good results, or at least fix the bad ones, says Susan C. Vaughan, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City”.
Lifesaver #3: Look for Better Excuses
The gym may have closed down or membership fees may be astronomical, but keeping fit and exercising needn’t cost a penny or be painful or inconvenient. Why not start a walking club with others who want to lose weight? This is a great way to socialize and keep each other motivated – not to mention an enjoyable way of earning extra exercise points. The courageous among you could start a beginners’ jogging club. Set yourself realistic goals and see yourself improve. Exercise isn’t something that should be constricted to the realms of dieting and weight loss, it should be, and indeed anyone who undertakes any sort of regular exercise will tell you, it is fun.
Lifesaver #4: Create Better Habits
Something you do for a couple weeks to a month is not going to change your life. Create habits that you know you’ll be able to keep up every day for the rest of your life, and, even if it’s one habit at a time, dedicate yourself to making the changes for good. This way, your weight loss will be for good, too! Celebrations like weddings, parties, leaving dos and birthdays don’t have to be a weight-loss nightmare. Again, pre-planning helps. Decide to budget for the occasion by sticking to your weight-loss program and exercising up to the event.
Lifesaver #5: Be Realistic.
If your expectations for weight loss are too high, you’re bound to get disappointed, and your frustrations could lead you to stray from your healthy eating and exercise efforts. Set a realistic goal for your weight loss — no more than one or two pounds a week — and keep in mind that you may occasionally hit weight-loss plateaus.
Lifesaver #6: Plan your Meals in Time
Cook your foods on the weekends. Freeze lunches for work and always have a protein bar or energy bar in your purse or duffel bag. This way when plans change your diet doesn’t have to. Always have almonds, water, and protein bars with you at all times. Plan your meal for the day in advance (chop vegetable, soak beans, stock fruits); in order to prevent jeopardizing your diet. Once you have a goal and diet plan on paper, you are ready to get behind the starting line of that race track. If you do stray drastically from your healthy eating, don’t throw in the towel in despair. Forgive yourself and get back on the straight and narrow the very next day.
Lifesaver #7: Learn to Cope with Stress
A recent Harvard study found that the most common triggers for stress-related weight gain are work and bills. In men, hot buttons include feeling a lack of authority, and in women, family pressures and perceived life constraints. We’re wired to eat when we’re under stress. Evolutionarily, that was a good thing. If you needed to escape a dangerous situation, high calories would give you the energy to do it; but in today’s modern society, the stress-food response no longer works in your favor. “Every time you reach for food when you’re stressed, you deepen the wiring,” says Mary Dallman, PhD, a neuroscientist and professor Emerita at the University of California, San Francisco. To compound the problem, the release of stress hormones causes a surge of insulin, which turns extra calories into belly fat.
Lifesaver #8: Avoid Deprivation
Depriving yourself of your favorite foods is a powerful trigger for overeating. Humans naturally want what they can’t have. In order to avoid certain foods you tend to focus on them more, increasing the risk of bingeing. Plus, a diet of low-calorie foods simply isn’t satisfying, so it’s easy to eat too much. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that when people go to “healthy” fast-food restaurants such as Subway they choose sides (such as chips), beverages, and desserts containing up to 131 percent more calories than they would have consumed if they’d gone to a restaurant they perceived as less healthy. Focus on fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, and eat healthy but calorie-dense choices such as nuts in moderation. Any food, including chocolate or butter, can have a place in a balanced diet. To reintroduce foods you’ve come to think you shouldn’t eat, experiment with them mindfully. Pay attention to every single bite.
Quick weight loss is inspiring, but it is important to think ahead too: you need to retrain your palate and eating habits and reassess your physical activity so that you can lose weight and stay slim. You cannot expect to achieve miracles in a few days, but you will see a difference within three or four weeks if you eat properly and exercise regularly. Losing weight successfully is like getting fitter: you need a horizon – or goal – ahead of you to help spur you on.