If you’re overweight right now and unmotivated to change, then you’re definitely not alone.
There are more overweight people today than ever before. I too have been overweight (actually, I was at the borderline of being obese with a BMI of 30). I stand 5 foot 5 inches, and weighed 180 lbs in July 2010. I was fat and heavy, had trouble walking and moving, get sleepy while driving home after work, moody, and unproductive at home.
I know that when we are overweight, we often go into denial. We think it’s not a problem, or we’re not that unhealthy, or that it is something we can fix later. Personally, I used to think that my physical health is not that much important as my spiritual health, so oftentimes I just try hard not to think about being overweight.
Until I’ve found out that being physically healthy is also one of God’s desires for our lives. Scripture says in Luke 2:52 that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” In following Christ’s example, it means one should not only be mentally (grew in wisdom), spiritually (in favor with God), and socially (in favor with man) healthy. We should also be physically (grew in stature) healthy.
Now, I weigh 145 lbs, lean and light, and am able to run and play basketball again. I feel great and healthy, I get along with people better, more confident on standing in front of a crowd, and I am now more productive in doing house chores. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.
In reality, there are only two ways to lose weight, and they are pretty common and easy to remember:
1. Eat healthy.
2. Exercise Regularly.
Right. It’s that simple, eat right and exercise! But, let’s face it. Anyone who is overweight will testify that losing weight is easier said than done. All our best intentions often end up in doing nothing. Here are some simple tips on how to lose weight to be fit and healthy based on my experience:
1. Be disciplined. You can not accomplish anything without discipline. Self-discipline will help you go on and persevere when the times get painful and rough. Remember, nothing beautiful comes easy.
2. Have a vision. Having a clear picture of what you want to achieve will motivate you to actually accomplish your goal. A clear vision will cement your purpose and drive you to finish what you have started.
3. Focus on gradual loss. Many people try to lose weight fast. It’s not healthy, and it doesn’t work. You have to learn sustainable eating and exercise habits to lose weight slowly. That’s the only way that it will last a lifetime.
4. Become aware of your hunger. When we are too busy, we tend to skip meals and then eat when we are already famished. That’s not a good time to eat because people naturally don’t make good eating decisions when super hungry.
5. Eat when you’re hungry, not famished. Be aware of your self. When you first feel the hunger, that’s the signal to eat. God designed it that way! Don’t put it off until your hunger becomes an insatiable monster. Learn to listen to your body.
6. Learn to eat until satiated. Be mindful as you eat. Pay attention to your body. If you eat mindlessly, you will likely overeat. Eat slowly. Take pauses and savor the flavor, aroma, and taste of your meal. If you are with somebody, converse and be mindful of him or her. Build a connection. That’s one reason why we dine together. I know it’s not easy at first, but you’ll soon get accustomed to it when done regularly.
7. Exercise. Regularly. You don’t need me to tell you this: lack of exercise is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, colon & rectal cancers, diabetes, breast cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If you don’t exercise, you’re killing yourself. Put it in your schedule. Run, walk, or bike, whatever you prefer. As Nike coined it, “Just Do It.”
8. Drink lots of water, in intervals. Drinking water will not only keep you hydrated, but it will help you to eat less throughout the day. Water takes the place of food in your stomach. You’ll still need to eat, but if you stay hydrated, you’ll get hungry less. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
9. Keep healthy options available. Clear your fridge of unhealthy snacks and food. Plan some healthy breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners. Bring healthy food to work and wherever you go. Eat more fruits and veggies. Real foods are better than processed foods.
10. Allow yourself to cheat. A strict exercise and diet plan is a bad one. If you are severely restricting yourself, and you feel deprived of good foods, trust me, you won’t last that long. I’ve tried it and done it. Instead, relax a little bit, giving yourself a cheat meal once or twice a week. Allow yourself to cheat on special occasions, when you are with family or loved ones. It’s still best to eat healthy even on special occasions, but, hey, we’re Filipinos, we value dining together with the ones we love.