Reflection and analysis
We, as humans, are built of patterns. We have patterns for our speech, patterns for our movements, patterns for our schedule, and patterns for our lifestyle. Some go out on weekends, and some stay in on weekends. Some individuals drink on weekends, and some drink on week days too. And some eat cheeseburgers 5 times a week, and some never eat meat. Not trying to firebrand cheeseburgers; there is a time and a place for all food, but in this case: it was to display the meaning of a pattern.
We structure our entire lives into these patterns. Some patterns benefit us, active lifestyle choices, and some denigrate us, smoking cigarettes, but regardless: we become built from these patterns. Even what you eat becomes habitual after a period of time, and I’m going to assume most of us are short sighted on what we eat as well.
By that I mean we have “short term memory” in regards to what we ate. For example, a treat for you could be a chocolate bar. You get one after a long days work because it feels satisfying and fulfilling where work was tiring and stressful. You eat that candy bar and recount when the last time you had one was- most will tell themselves “it’s been a long time”, but in all actuality, it may have been a week since you’ve had something similar to the chocolate bar in nutritional value.
There are a couple layers to this example. First off, humans have a tendency to not view their dietary habits beyond a small scope. Very few individuals can remember what they had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this time last week. And viewing your diet in terms of a “greater picture” is rather important for continued success, but more on that later.
Secondly, the true rational behind eating the candy bar is more important than the actual eating of the treat. We love to connect feelings/emotions to things under our control. “This candy bar brings me satisfaction” rather than “I am satisfied with life and the candy bar I am eating will reinforce that feeling”. Our eating habits truly are a reflection to our underlying emotions or connections with the food we consume. Understanding the “whys” of your nutritional habits is of the utmost importance. There are a plethora of diets ready to help you achieve all your goals, but if you don’t know why you currently are who you are, you cannot progress forward. Find out the “whys” in your life, especially within your relationship to food, and then begin to think about a plan to obtain your goals.
Okay, back to looking at your nutrition in a larger scope. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will you be. Everyone is looking for “lose weight fast” tricks, and I got to be honest with you: it’s all a bunch of BS. You may achieve short term weight loss, but when you get off the diet or stop eating the meals or stop taking the pills, what happens? The literal opposite of your goals: weight gain. And for most people, all the weight you just lost is back. And you may ask “Why? I did all the things, ate all the things. Why did I gain all this weight back right away after I stopped?” Well- you see, humans are built of patterns. To create these patterns, it takes time and effort. Once these patterns are reinforced, it will take even more time to replace them with different patterns. We are made by the habits we create.
The way to create a pattern is first- create the action or thought you want to do on a regular basis, second- analyze what you are currently doing on a regular basis, third- create a method to change the old action or thought to the newly intended action or thought, and fourth- do this new action or thought habitually going forward.
The fourth step is the kicker- you MUST do the new action for a long period of time. Most patterns take 7 weeks to be reinforced enough to become a habit. Nutrition is no different. The real key to weight loss is looking at what you do in totality, analyzing it, developing new patterns of behavior, replacing the old patterns with new ones, and attempting to do the new patterns as much as possible until they are solidified.
If you look for quick fixes and band aids to the current behavior you want changed, such as a “Lose 40lbs in a month” diet plan, you are asking to fail in the long term. Nutritional success is determined by minimal changes consistently over a long period of time, and it also helps to have a guide or someone to support you through it all. Weight loss can be difficult at times, and it’s helpful to have an accountability portion to help you along.
To recap, the biggest trick to losing weight is putting the effort in. Take the time to understand all your behavior patterns around food, and then replace those patterns with alternatives that are in line with your goal set. Look at all your choices regarding food in totality, keep record of them, and analyze them. You’ll find recording them will alter your choices right away. Be present mentally with your food, and you’ll be happy you did.