We live in an all-or-nothing culture. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – the desire for success is the reason most people get up in the morning. We are a culture of motivated, American-Dream seeking kind of people. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate to the best health habits in our daily living.
Take a look at how we approach weight loss. If you’ve ever been on a mission to improve your health, you know the dangers of trying to do it all at once. Despite what you might see on TV if you try to lose weight quickly, you put yourself at risk for kidney failure, thyroid problems, heart irregularities and changes to blood pressure to name a few… Not to mention the risk of injuring your joints or muscles by pushing your deconditioned body to do too much, too quickly. As if that wasn’t enough, studies show that most people who lose weight too quickly end up putting all the weight back on, plus more!
Most health experts agree, if it took time to put the weight on, it’s going to take time to burn it off. In our culture of instant gratification, people want immediate results without having to do the work; so it can be demoralizing to be told that you won’t see results for weeks, or even months. Fortunately, we have some strategies to help keep you motivated – not just to stick to a diet and exercise plan, but to explore the benefits of living more healthfully day by day, for the rest of your life.
In a culture of instant gratification, you can buy that $1500 MacBook now and pay it off later. Unfortunately, a new, healthy body is not the type of thing that you “buy now and pay later.” You actually have to work at changing your habits before you see the benefits. Many of us get ourselves psyched up about the latest fad diet, thinking we’ll lose all this weight first and then change our lifestyles later. Even people who succeed at fad diets often end up gaining weight in half the time it took to put it on.
Small Changes Lead to Big Results
The only way to sustain real weight loss is to get rid of the “all or nothing” approach and focus instead on small changes that yield big results. It’s not about seeing results tomorrow; it’s about seeing results for the rest of your life. No one wants to face the reality that not taking care of your body can lead to weight gain, serious illness and/or early death, but this is what happens if you sacrifice long-term gains for short–term gains. By changing your mindset to try to live healthier every day, you’ll make better choices to help keep you looking and feeling better for years to come.
Confront Your Food Addictions
Food is another way people in this country achieve instant gratification, almost to the point that we have become addicted food. Many people look at addiction as a concept that only extends to things like alcohol or drugs. The reality is that food is a drug and has the same kind of effect on your body chemistry and moods that drugs do. Many of us are chemically addicted to the good feelings we get from eating refined sugar or drinking caffeine. Your body does not actually need these foods to survive, but somehow you have convinced yourself that just the opposite is true. This sounds a lot like addictive behavior, doesn’t it?
If you are addicted to food and you know it’s taking a toll on your health, it’s time to do something about it. As with any addiction, the first step is to remove the temptation. Don’t go near those office snack machines while you’re on a break, and avoid driving past your favorite fast-food restaurant. When you do encounter a moment of temptation, ask yourself, “Is this really a healthy choice?” Once you have better control over your food cravings only splurge when it feels more like a reward rather than a “fix.” These small behavior changes will help you treat food as nourishment rather than gratification. This shift in mindset will benefit your health tremendously in the long run.
Patience is a virtue that many of us lack but making small changes every day can pay off big in the long run. Changing your mindset can make a huge difference in how you approach weight loss. Avoid the “buy now pay later” thinking and instead focus on making small changes to improve your long-term health. Not only will this help get rid of your “instant gratification” mentality when it comes to food, but you’ll also reap the weight-loss benefits as you go! The more you educate yourself and take a true, honest look at your habits, the more your mindset will change – leading to a lifetime of good eating habits and a clean bill of health.