by Brenda Rogers
Finding What Works For You
Weight management has many contributors some obvious, some not so obvious. Factors affecting a person’s weight range from genetics to lifestyle to mindset. There is no single solution to helping any one of us to be our healthiest weight. However there are some essential components of a quality weight management program, which are described below. To work out what you need and what will work for you, take some time to consider:
Do you think that a lot of your eating comes from a hungry mind rather than a hungry body (for example, eating when not physically hungry could be due to things such as boredom, habit, sadness, feeling bad about your body)?
If so, you’ll probably find that nutritional advice alone will not help you manage your weight. You may need a team approach with doctors, counselors, homeopaths and a naturopath helping you to address the underlying issues and regain control over your eating.
Do you think you have gained weight because your lifestyle has made it more difficult to eat healthily and be physically active?
If so, support from qualified fitness and nutrition professionals, who are experienced in the area of weight management and behaviour change may be helpful.
Why do you want to lose weight? Do you think you could be trying to achieve an unrealistic size and shape, which you think might solve a whole range of life problems/difficulties?
If this is the case, coaching and talking it through may be helpful along with remedies such as Bach Flowers, homeopathics and gentle herbs to support your nervous system. It’s important to shift your attention and intention away from weight loss so that your life is not so dependent on your weight or shape.
What makes up a sound weight management plan?
Which ones are the most important for you?
Changing unhelpful or unkind behaviours
Most of us need some help making lifestyle changes. Helpful strategies include finding appropriate support, self-monitoring, problem solving and learning how to deal with the times when we go off focus.
Learning to distinguish mind hunger from body hunger
Eating when we are not physically hungry is a major contributor to weight gain for many people. If this is true for you, it may well be helpful to learn ways of dealing with the underlying reasons for it. This could involve simply becoming more aware of why you’re eating, making more time for self nurturing (the more you can nurture yourself, the less likely it will be that you will need to depend on food), or learning stress management techniques (as learning effective ways to cope with the demands of life can help reduce stress-related eating or drinking).
Body Image and self-esteem
Many people want to lose weight to improve the way they feel about their bodies and to boost their self-esteem. It is important to learn how to improve your body image and self esteem regardless of what happens to your weight. Developing a positive attitude to your body will also motivate you to want to look after your body, rather than punish it through strict diets.
Regular and enjoyable physical activity
Finding an enjoyable form of physical activity that can be integrated into your lifestyle should be one of the highest priorities in a weight management program. Also, undertaking this activity for positive reasons rather than for weight loss can put a whole new joyful perspective on physical activity.
Sound nutrition education will help protect you from the vast array of misinformation that exists about food and weight loss. Individual support can also provide you with advice about all the nutrients you need that take into account your current eating habits, lifestyle, food preferences, ethnicity and any medical conditions.
Cooking and shopping tips
These will give you the ‘how to’ of selecting and preparing nutritious and tasty meals.
… And don’t forget – that while you’re aiming to be the healthiest weight you can, it’s important to be accepting of your inherited size and shape.
by Brenda Rogers
Weight loss coach, naturopath, life coach, yoga teacher.
Acknowledgement to Body Image and Health Inc. and Rick Kausman.