Saturday, July 26, 2003

Trendy Diets and Weight Loss

A friend suggested I blog about the Hacker Diet. I'd never heard about it, so I was intrigued. It seems to be one of those new trendy diet schemes heralded by people who want a quick fix to their current weight situation, which isn't in itself the worst thing - but not always the best thing either.

When most people say they want to lose weight, what they really mean is they want better form - building muscles and toning. You don't need to be on a diet to do this, you need to run and do crunches and lift weights.

Truth is though, anyone can lose weight. I lost 65 lbs, in just over a year. As I previously have had two children, my body shape was not what I particularly wanted for myself. I wanted and needed a change.

I didn’t use the hackers diet mentioned above, but I incorporated a bunch of different elements into my lifestyle that worked for me, and I will share them here. First I considered very carefully what I ate, and then I began to eliminate the less healthy choices (junk food, pop, candy, fats) in favour of more healthy choices (rice, fruits, veggies) and I observed how much better my body felt when I ate them. I quit junk foods cold turkey. I realized that in our western society we ate too much, so I toned down my actual portion consumption (they say the suggested portion should be the size of your fist) and found that eventually I just wasn’t hungry all the time, like before. Then I changed the way I expected to eat – I started to eat when my body told me I was hungry, and I didn’t eat if I didn’t feel hungry. I drank water - lots of water. Through all of this I used coffee at times as an appetite suppressant (still do, and I love coffee so it’s a bonus) but never gave up chocolate (have to have your vice and rewards right?). Most importantly, I also started to exercise, mostly mountain biking (would ride 3-5 times a week for about 2-4 hours a time) and working out (3-5 times a week, running 2 kms each time), but also stairs (running up and down), roller blading, ice skating, hiking, walking and weights at home. Find a friend to do each activity with, which always makes it more probable that it will get done, as well as being much more fun. Whether running on my own or with a buddy I found fast paced music took my mind off of any discomfort.

Losing weight is also about presence of mind. If you have an eating problem, or a disorder, get some help. Any weight you lose merely by starving yourself will come back when you begin eating again - You have to convince your body that you are meant to be a different weight then you are now. Then change your lifestyle to reflect the new you that you envision: Demand your food be of a high quality; serve yourself smaller portions; Get rid of the cable; Don’t drive when you can walk or ride; Stop eating cookies, for crying out loud!

Sadly, if you aren’t ready to make these kind of choices for yourself you are likely not going to be successful with any weight loss program. Ultimately, in the end it is up to you to decide the type of person you would like to be and how much you are willing to do to achieve that. Weight loss isn’t hard, but if you continually sabotage yourself (like eating foods you know you shouldn’t) it certainly isn’t going to be an easy process. If you don’t really want to change your lifestyle, then consider accepting yourself the way you are, because it is ultimately more important to feel good about yourself.

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