Monday, February 11, 2008

A Winning Attitude And Weightloss

Photo "Salad" courtesy of woodsy

"When we win, I'm so happy I eat a lot. When we lose, I'm so depressed, I eat a lot. When we're rained out, I'm so disappointed I eat a lot." Tommy Lasorda

Losing weight is like so many other things in life, a large portion of its success can be attributed to having the right attitude. I talked with a friend the other day who said that she had just “outed” herself at the weekly Weight Watcher meeting. She had told her group how she had told her group how she was frustrated because since the Christmas holidays she seemed to keep gaining and losing the same pounds and not getting farther in her weight loss. Her group leader and the rest of the group provide a lot of support and encouragement and it seemed to be the thing that she needed to get past that plateau. It was one of those moments of clarity for me, when I realized that so much of success in life is dependent upon having a positive, can do, or the right attitude.

When I say “Diet” in a room of 100 adults, most of them will cringe or tune me out. What is your reaction when you hear that four letter word? One of the problems is the definition the way that we think of diets. Diet has many definitions including its most basic; “the usual food and drink consumed by an organism (person or animal)” (, but most people tend to think of diet as “the act of restricting your food intake (or your intake of particular foods)” ( and to “eat sparingly, for health reasons or to lose weight” ( Sadly, many people look at a diet as a short-term highly regimented limitation on your food intake with little choice, that it sub-consciously doomed to failure. With the later definitions and beliefs it is no wonder that most “diets” (of the short-term choleric and quantitative restrictive type) fail, before they even really start.

My friend said that she would have days where she was already over on her points and figured that eating this or that then didn’t matter and that since her group was on vacation that she still had time to lose weight before the next meeting. This is a common defeatist attitude that people on “diets” often have. Life does go on and while you might find yourself having to “deviate” for a meal, a day, or so but then you need to get back to following what you know is in your own interests and not give up.

Since food is our body’s fuel and is needed for most everything that we do and can have such a dramatic impact on a whole host of health related conditions, it would be to our benefit to be more selective about the kinds and amounts of foods that we do eat. You would not put diesel into your car, if it ran on normal gasoline, or if you did it probably wouldn’t run for very long!

Heat disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes; while they can’t always be totally eliminated by diet alone, a lot of the effects can be minimized through diet and you might be at a stage in your life where you can still ward them off with a healthier diet.

Most of us have reasons to live. That is maybe you want to see your kids grow up, maybe you want to see your grandkids grow up, maybe you have exciting plans for your retirement. Whatever the reason, most of us have a reason to live and a reason that we use to help us find our attitude and motivation.

There are a lot of “diets” out there and while many of them aren’t really designed to work on a long-term basis, there are still many others that can be successfully used (you might need to modify some of them slightly). Some basic elements of a good menu of foods designed to help your body perform better and increase your health, while losing weight include the following…

· You must like enough of your selections that you can follow it on a long-term basis. I remember hearing about a cabbage soup diet and thinking that there is now way I could do that for very long. You should also be able to add recipes and other items to the selection available.

· The diet isn’t designed so that you’ll lose too much weight to fast. While crash diets, can help you lose weight quickly, losing huge amounts of pounds in a short period of time often leads to that yo-yo effect of gaining back all that you lost and gaining even more.

· The quantities of foods and the types of foods that you eat should not leave you feeling like you’re starving after having just eaten. This will almost invariably lead to cheating on your diet.

· Most diets don’t have provisions for those occasions where you don’t have good choices available (going to parties, the holidays, and so on), if your diet has such provisions, this is definitely a plus.

· The diet is made up of foods that your body needs. If your diet doesn’t provide the nutritional elements that your body needs then you might be able to use some supplemental vitamins but it is better if your body gets all that it needs from your diet.

· Should be easy to implement, with the items that you need to buy available at local stores. A family member went on a diet where she and her husband had to buy a lot of special stuff that was very expensive and while they did lose a lot of weight at one time, it all came back (and then some).

· Can you easily return to it after that occasion where you where at an event where it wasn’t possible to eat things from your diet’s menu selection? While this could fall into the easy to implement item from above, your diet should get bonus points if accommodates this point, better still if it helps you deal with those events by offering menu items you can eat or suggestions.

I have previously recommended the Lose Weight With The Power of One as a must have diet book. While it doesn’t to tell you what to eat, it will give you some strategies that should be following in incorporating any changes that you plan to make to the types and quantities of food that you eat. It is written in story form, which helps you to better absorb the strategies.

When you have found your reasons, motivation, and a “diet” that is sustainable, then you’re stacking the cards in your favor. Remember that there will probably be times where you won’t be able to follow your diet, in which case you accept this and make the necessary adjustments at the next snack, meal, or day because it is in your best interest to be healthy and you stand to gain the most of anyone by a healthy you. Do you have some tips on finding or keeping your motivation while on a diet or do you have any other good diet tips, I’d love to hear from you.

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