Successful fat release is most certainly not only about “Eat This, Not That!”. At its core, it is something very different than a mere hyper-marketed, thousand times repackaged and embellished list of restrictions and prohibitions endowed with a remarkably constant characteristic over time: failure to provide lasting results!
I’ll cite ONE number: 85% of people who try and initially succeed in releasing fat with dieting regain most, when not ALL their previous weight (if not more) in the 3 years following the attempt.
Fortunately, there is another approach to solve this vexing problem.
“When you want to lose weight and keep it off, you don’t go on a diet, because diets are about artificial restriction. Instead, you change your lifestyle to match your goals.”
~ Lewis Howe, The School of Greatness p. ix
Data, as well as my personal experience, support the above. The power of acquired habits trumps artificially restrictive program every day of the week. Habits require much less mental and emotional energy, which greatly enhances our chances of success over the long term. Losing weight is totally a long-term endeavor if one wishes to stay healthy.
The key question is: which habits gives us the best chance to reach and keep a healthy weight? Here’s a digest list of the most important:
1. We lose weight mainly by controlling how much we put in our plate. There has been, is and will be quasi-theological debates about the type of diet is the best for weight loss. Yet, the mere fact of controlling portions works wonders over the long term.
2. Eating wholesome foods is a winner, hands down. The Yale University Prevention Research Center did a comparative study of all kinds of diets, only to find that the winner is…real food! A healthy weight is a significant factor related to disease prevention. As Dr. David Katz puts it:
“A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”
3. Approaching nourishment mindfully is proven to be effective, either as an adjunct or even as the mainstay of a successful long-term weight loss. The practice of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation has well-documented positive effects on modifying the attitudes toward food. It is pretty amazing what can be achieved merely by stopping to argue with our plate!
4. Moving every day is an obvious one. Losing the extra weight is pretty much a food affair. However, and this is CRITICAL, we maintain the desired weight with physical activity. Moreover, physical activity of any kind shifts the flow of extra nutrients toward energy availability instead of fat accumulation. It boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides, temper the appetite, improve stress management as well as sleep. It is also an excellent protector against depression, anxiety and cognitive decline.