Spring brings to mind new beginnings and fresh starts.
It is a time to take a look at all the old stuff that is weighing us down or creating a barrier to new, healthier experiences. As I cleaned my garage the other weekend and certain rooms in the house, I felt more free and open. I threw many things away that were no longer serving a purpose, some things that I held onto too long for all the wrong reasons, and organized things that I often use and need better access too.
Similarly, you and I must go through the emotional and environmental inventory that are barriers to weight loss success, improved health, or maintaining good health. Are you keeping a lot of junk food in your cubbards? Most junk food has no nutritional value whatsoever and serves to aggravate conditions such as diabetes or increase symptoms of other diseases such as hypertension and high cholesterol. Is that next donut or German Chocolate Cake worth days off your life? Is it worth increased medical bills?
Some people hold on to old ways of cooking that can be unhealthy. Being from New Orleans, I get a lot of strange looks from my family since I have seriously limited my intake of the rich foods that made our region famous, like bread pudding, rich gravies and rice, every fried fish or vegetable you can think of, etc.
That is not to say that I never have them. These are occasional foods. I am not going to eat beignets or praline candy on a daily basis. That would be self sabotage. Sometimes, we hold on to unhealthy and unsustainable fad diets for quick weight loss fixes. This can be detrimental to your health as well. If you are considering a very low calorie diet (e.g., 900 calories), you should be in a physician supervised plan.
So what emotional junk is keeping you fat? You should do a self-analysis. Perhaps, it is your unhealthy and harmful ways of managing stress. Do you reach for food to stuff your feelings? Did you grow up in a home where it was common to reach for comfort food? Make room for healthier ways to manage stress, like meditation, exercise, social support or psychotherapy support.
Perhaps you have had a history of abuse or trauma that is the underlying reason for your unhealthy relationship with food. If so, you definitely should seek the help of a licensed psychologist. On that note, there may be some of you who have an actual eating disorder, which also would require working with a licensed psychologist and other allied health professionals. Another part of cleaning up the clutter to lose weight may entail looking at who your support group is.
Some of your friends and/or family may try to sabotage your weight loss efforts for various reasons. For example, Aunt Marge may not know any other way to show her love than bringing you a cake every week or cooking loads of pasta and other rich foods that you are trying to limit. Your husband or significant other may be threatened by what you will do if you do obtain that sleek, fit body that you have always wanted.
He or she may also harbor the belief that if you are more fit and healthy, you will not have time for them or begin to engage in more activities that exclude them. You may need to reorganize your support team or add more people who share your goals. Research shows that dieting success hinges on support and accountability. In short, people learn and retain healthier behaviors in group settings and by being held accountable for their actions and choices. Adding to your support group is one way to counteract the naysayers or saboteurs.
Once you cleaned, discarded and reorganized, it is time to look at new tools and methods. This could be as simple as joining a gym, going to Weight Watchers or similar weight loss programs, purchasing exercise tapes or videos, or purchasing exercise equipment. Remember, you do not have to do it all at once. You only have to commit, make the changes, and do the work. Every step you take gets you closer to your goal. You are building a lifestyle for longevity and better health.