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Say NO! to Dieting this 2013

Happy 2013 everyone! Yes it is that time again – the New Year’s resolutions have been made, many of which have to do with weight loss of course, so it’s no wonder that the web is littered with advice and promotions to help you drop those additional pounds…

But now that the month has kicked off with the kids back in school and the holidays officially done with for a while, many of us are already struggling to get started OR maybe even thinking about throwing in the towel! One of the biggest problems with dieting is the simple fact that it DOES NOT WORK. For as long as Fad Diets have been around, to be honest, in the 10+ years that I have worked in this profession, I have yet to come across 1 person who went on a diet, lost a ton of weight and then managed to keep it off.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are hundreds of people who have lost weight and kept it off – but these people DON’T do it by DIETING, they DO IT by making changes to their eating and activity habits which become a permanent part of their lifestyles (whether or not their success involves incorporating practices from popular diets like Atkins or South Beach or DUKKAN).

Take my sister Ayesha for example, she was always picked on for being the chubby kid in school – but that all changed when she hit High School – because the prior summer she finally decided to change her eating habits (choosing to eat healthier and watching her portions) – and blossomed into this extremely beautiful teenager. Ayesha maintained a healthy weight up until her pregnancies when she again gained a LOT of weight… and low and behold, with the weight gain came the fad diets (in fact she recently told me about all the crazy things she tried – like the Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle Diet and the South Beach Diet – behind my back because she knew I would disapprove). But a few years ago, she recommitted to eating healthy, walking and taking on yoga and again she is back to a healthy weight and is maintaining it.

So my advice to you this year is to SAY NO to DIETING! I know it’s enticing when you see weight loss supplements and diets that promise to help you drop 10 pounds in just 2 days, but I can guarantee that you will be much more successful if instead of investing in these marketing ploys, you take small steps in the right direction that you think you will be able to maintain for at least  the next year.

I want you to think long term because as much as we all want to lose 5 pounds every week; or think we will make it to the gym for 2 hours everyday – being unrealistic about our goals is a sure way to guarantee failure as well.

So instead:

1) Focus on making healthy choices over worrying about the scale – It’s actually the things you do everyday (like choosing more wholesome foods and making sure your not skipping meals) that cause the shift on the scale after all.

2)  Set realistic goals – It is important to think about the time you have and make health commitments based on these. For e.g. walking for 45 min 5 days a week beats going to the gym for an hour for 2 days and then not being able to make it the rest of the week.

3) Take baby steps – Like they say “A journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step”. But more importantly, if say you have a goal of losing 20 lb, you also need to have a plan of how you are going to get there. If you think baby steps on a week by week basis and get the tools and support you need to achieve these goals, in 5 months you’ll have reached that goal!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy Year!

 

 

 

Merry Holidays = Weight Gain

‘Tis the season to be merry! And like many people, it’s my favorite time of the year what with all the holiday cheer, family gatherings and warm traditions. But this time of year also means more social drinks, extravagant meals and tables full of delectable desserts, not to mention a certain level of stress!

So of course a question I get asked a lot of the time is “how to not gain weight over the holidays” which is why I thought this would be a perfect time to address this topic :). I hope you won’t be too disappointed with my answer, coz what I usually say is, “Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays – after all that’s what life is all about!” It’s ok to let loose once in a while, and gaining a few pounds is really not as big a deal as we make it out to be – in fact moving up or down 1-2 pounds on the scale is considered maintenance.

The key is to get back to eating healthy and fitting some activity in once the season’s over…

But if you want to be sensible during the holidays then by all means do :) You can follow these 3 steps to make eating over the holidays healthier:

  1. Plan ahead – If you know what, where  and when you’ll be eating, you can better prepare for it (so take some time to consider when you want to allow yourself to enjoy the moment with no strings attached and when you want to be a bit more sensible).
  2. Don’t forget to listen to your hunger cues – the point is to avoid starving yourself until the next meal is served (i.e. make sure to snack often), eat slowly and savour your meal (remember a lot of work was put into it so come up for air and enjoy the table conversation), and don’t overdue it (stop before you need to loosen that top button)
  3. Squeeze in a brisk 15-30 min walk whenever you can – there is nothing nicer than taking a quick walk to the grocery store to pick up a last minute item and it sure is de-stressing!
So now that you are a bit more prepared, it’s time for you to go and have yourself a Happy Holiday!