by Robert Maxwell
No one likes dieting. I’ve explained at length in previous articles the mechanics of weight loss, and they’re not complex. Not really. Want to lose weight? Eat less, do more, or both. Not sure how? Millions of diet books, exercise programs, and fitness DVDs have you covered. Trouble is, lack of knowledge isn’t really the limiting factor to weight-loss for most people. Lack of motivation is. Not many overweight people doubt the fact that if they start eating only steamed celery and chicken breasts, they’ll lose weight pretty quickly. But none of them have any desire to start this, or continue if they do. So they don’t. No one is immune to this aversion to dieting. Fact is, most diets are far too restrictive to continue long-term, especially in this era of so many delicious, high calorie foods. So what’s the solution? I think I‘ve finally figured it out, and I’m going to share it with you in this article. Here are four tips for losing weight when you’re lazy.
Cut One Bad Habit
One of the biggest problems with most weight loss programs is that they try to fix too much at once. Human beings are creatures of habit, and after several years or decades of junk food binging and sedentary living, the neural pathways for repetition of these behaviours are well and truly established. Changing these pathways all at once is like trying to reroute a major superhighway. It’s going to take a lot more than one road worker holding a sign. That’s why the vast majority of overweight folks aiming to get healthier start enthusiastically, but fail long term. If you need to lose some weight and have struggled in the past, don’t set yourself up for further frustration. Instead, rein in your enthusiasm and focus on changing or cutting out one bad habit. Maybe you’re a late night snacker, and those snacks usually involve plastic wrappers and nutrition information you purposely avoid reading. Start by quitting this, and see what happens. You’ll most likely be surprised what a difference it makes, not just to your weight, but your other habits and thought processes, too.
Start One Good Habit
Too many weight loss programs and personal trainers would have you go from being an overweight, donut eating couch potato to exercising hard for an hour and a half, four times a week while slashing your calories and filling 85 percent of your grocery cart from the produce aisle. If you’re thinking “not going to happen with me”, you’re probably right. Very few people can sustain this level of change. You’ll almost certainly have more success by making one positive change, and sticking with it. Eat too much junk? Start eating more vegetables daily. Not active enough? Find a form of exercise you enjoy, and do it for 15 or 20 minutes every morning. These moderate changes might not sound like they’ll get you where you want to go, but they're certainly solid steps in the right direction. Making a single healthy behaviour habitual also trains your mind to take further healthy steps in the future.
I’m not saying weight loss programs never help anyone. Many folks are far better off after reading and following the recommendations of their favourite fitness or nutrition guru. But as stated above, one problem with many with many pre-made programs Is their drastic, unsustainable nature. Another is their complication. I don’t care who you are or how motivated you feel — counting calories and macronutrients is a pain for everyone. I know, because I’ve done it. For years. This sort of approach might be the most reliable way to lose weight, but it’s certainly not the easiest. If you struggle with sticking to your fitness routine, choosing one that’s complicated is a nail in the coffin of your goals. Choose an approach that’s simpler, less painful, and more similar to your norm.
Don’t Ruin Your Life
Let’s say you decide to take the advice in this article, beginning with the removal of one unhealthy habit. Let’s suppose you choose to cut out dessert. This is a perfectly reasonable choice. If dessert is your Achilles’ heel, avoiding it will probably help you lose weight without unbearable emotional pain. Trouble is, cutting out all desserts forever means that you won’t fully enjoy many fun family occasions, like Christmas and birthdays. Sticking to your guns is certainly important for long-term weight loss success, but not to the exclusion of all special occasions with loved ones. Don’t turn into a diet Nazi, sitting stiff-shouldered and tight-lipped at the dinner table while your family enjoys Christmas cookies. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to exercise your willpower for the rest of the year. Ironic as it might sound, a little bit of bad habit is good for you.