Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dieting: Keeping it real

A Marine of the United States Marine Corps run...Image via WikipediaDieting is a drag. Let's face it. It's all about self denial and sacrifice. However in proper perspective, it can be about alternatives, and healthy options. Either way, it is a commitment for life. This is the difficult part of the process.

How do we as consumers make such a strong commitment to ourselves when so often even making a commitment to pay a bill, stay in a relationship, or keep a promise can be so very hard? The easy answer is, well there is no easy answer.

Small changes
There are steps, small steps. I always find in my own health journey, that making small changes are a lot easier for me to handle than trying to make big changes all at once. If you break a small change you feel small guilt, but commit to do better. If you break big changes, you feel defeated, and like a huge failure.

Almost as dreadful as the act of dieting is the act of having to  exercise, especially for an obese person. Why? Exercising hurts. Again, making a small change may be the answer. Walk a half mile every day? Or every other day? Eventually you will walk a full mile, then ?? Another alternative for those that need to lose before you can walk is to invest in simple exercise machines like Shake Weights, which can be used in the privacy of your own home and help you to work out your upper body.  It's about a small commitment to move more. Lets say we don't measure the distance, but commit to 15 minutes of brisk walking? The idea is to do what you are comfortable with. As you become acclimated to the idea, you will no doubt raise your own bar in time.

Drink more water
It seems so simple, but for many people dealing with health issues there is a lot of dehydration at the root of it. Water cleanses the body, provides hydration and adding lemon juice is said to help rid the body of toxins and help with digestion as well.

Keeping a journal
For some people writing is good therapy. For a dieter it may be just the visual aid needed to help them see where all the calories, fat and extra weight is coming from. By keeping track of what you are putting in your body you can at least gain some understanding. When you begin to keep your diet journal do so at least a month before you begin your diet journey. This way you can keep track of every bite, and become more aware of what you are doing, when you are doing it and it will all paint the profile you need to see where to make changes.

Treating yourself
Dieting is not just physically hard but it is psychologically hard on you as well. The hard work takes a long time to start paying off and treating yourself to a monthly treat may be the very thing that keeps your mind and body from becoming overwhelmed. Just remember once a month only. Once you start slipping and going off the beaten track it takes very little to undo what you've accomplished. Remember, dieting is a lifelong commitment.

Setting realistic goals for yourself is a key part of the commitment you make to your health. Goals that are too ambitious too soon may end up being abandoned. Instead place realistic goals on yourself that you know you can do. Besides, goals can change as your success becomes apparent. You can always raise the bar in your fitness journey. The idea is to never give up on yourself.

Doctor visits
We all hate going to a doctor, but at some point we all have to. Not only that, but if we are struggling with obesity, its important that we consult with a doctor to come up with a plan for our health. Doctors can keep an eye on your weight, blood pressure, sugar levels and advise you on additional steps you can take including detoxing, and other alternatives.

The run down:

1. Small changes
2. Exercise
3. Drink water
4. Keep a journal
5. One treat/cheat once a month
6. Set a goal
7. See a doctor regularly

Good luck in your journey, keep it real, keep it realistic and keep it going!

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