This year is quickly coming to a close. As a holistic nutritionist I’m often asked: “What is the secret to lasting weight loss?” That’s a heavy question, no pun intended. Here are 10 things I’ve learned in the 20+ years I’ve been helping older women who want to lose weight:
Do you ever hear slender women talking about wanting to lose weight or how many calories they have consumed on a given day?
Somewhere deep in their brains they have learned to eat enough, but not too much. They don’t think about calories or weight… they think about other things and eat when they are hungry.
Weight is only one part of the story and is not the place to start when you want to lose some. Instead, look at your shopping list. Look at how often you snack. Look at how much you eat outside of your home in restaurants or take-out bars.
When do you get up in the morning, and when do you go to bed? You have a natural hormonal system that stimulates hunger and sleep. Take advantage of it and stop eating after the sun goes down so your sleep hormones can take hold and give you some quality rest.
Use the synergy of these hormones to naturally regulate your eating and sleeping patterns. This will help you stop eating to overcome fatigue.
Do you have stress in your life? Most of us do, and some manage it better than others. If you are someone who does not, learn some techniques. Stress keeps you from burning energy. It may also make you eat too much.
Are you lonely? Hugs and connecting with others feel better than any food can. Use the Sixty and Me community, your neighborhood, or church to build new connections.
Do you live in sweat pants or other loose garments that cover you up? Get just a few outfits that fit you and make you feel good. No matter your size, wearing clothes that flatter you makes a statement to you and to the world.
Who do you spend time with? Do they care about their health, their food, and their appearance? We tend to be like them.
What kind of food do you eat? Are you eating food that nourishes you and keeps you satisfied? Are you eating food that has few nutrients and leaves you feeling hungry?
Overweight can be a sign of malnourishment. When you eat foods with few – if any – nutrients, your brain will signal you to eat more. Quiet your brain with nutrient dense food.
Are you happy with your life? If not, use this time at year’s end to think about any changes you need to make and how to make them. Think about what you want to draw into your life and create a timeline and a plan for how to make it happen.
LOVE yourself. It’s not about the number on the scale. It’s not even so much about the food. It’s about the degree of self-care and self-respect – and yes, self-love – you are willing to give to yourself that puts food, eating, and weight in balance. Give it a try. You deserve it.
If you’re not sure where you are on the self-love scale, take this quick little quiz here.
As you can see, losing weight is much more than counting calories and following the latest and greatest diet. If you have extra weight, look at the list above and see where you have some fixing to do.
Love yourself enough to make the changes that will lift you up. That’s when the changes in your appearance and your weight will come.
Excess food is only a filler for the deeper longings we all have. It’s a distraction from the real things we need. When you give your attention to those things that really matter, losing that excess weight will be just one aspect of your ever evolving, increasingly fulfilling life.
Has there been a part of your lifestyle that triggered unwanted weight gain? How did you notice it, and what did you do to change it? Please join the conversation. Share your experiences and lessons you learned.