3 Ways To Approach Weight Loss That Are Both Healthy And Kind To Your Body


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By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson    

A few years ago — after giving birth to my second child — I found myself still hanging on to 20 pounds of baby weight. I felt relatively strong and healthy, but there was an extra layer around my lower belly, thighs and hips that started to bother me once my daughter was about a year old. I knew that at 31, if I didn’t do something about it soon, it would only get more difficult to reach and maintain my ideal weight (the weight I prefer for myself, I should say, since everyone’s “ideal” weight is totally different) as my metabolism naturally slowed with age. I did not want to spend the next decade in a losing battle of the bulge. But after carrying a 9-and-half-pounder around in my belly, struggling and succeeding at breastfeeding for a year, and simultaneously managing the stress of losing my mother when my daughter was just a few months old, I had no desire to be too tough on my body or my mind. I needed to focus on losing weight in a healthy and gentle way.

I had already held onto the weight for a while, so I was also in no rush to lose it. What was several months after having been above my normal weight for almost two years? My plan? I was already doing yoga and short strength training sessions a few times a week, so I decided to start running, using a couch to 5K program in order to burn fat and improve my cardiovascular health (heart disease runs in my family) and I tracking macros and modifying food portions so that I was burning a bit more than I was consuming week-over-week. In less than six months, I reached my pre-babies weight. Keep reading to find out a few things I learned about losing weight in healthy and kind way.



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Don’t rush it. Though many people look for a quick fix when it comes to weight loss, those quick fixes tend to have less enduring results. Most physicians and nutritionists/dieticians recommend adults lose no more than one to two pounds per week. Losing weight at a more rapid pace for an extended period of time can be taxing on your organs, especially your heart, and can put your body into starvation mode causing it to hold onto the weight that you are so desperately trying to shed. Slower weight loss allows your body to gradually grow accustomed to your new way of eating and the new physical demands you may be placing on it. Plus, it’s much easier on your psyche to when there’s less pressure to lose weight quickly.

Choose your program carefully. If you’ve been inactive or eating poorly for some time, any program you use to get healthy will likely work, as long as you’re consistent. But some programs are much safer for and kinder to your body and mind. There are countless resources that allow individuals to set healthy personal weight loss and fitness goals and use a customized plan to achieve them without restrictive crash dieting or even spending excessive amounts of time in the gym -- both of which can be harmful physically and emotionally. It’s important to pick one that suits your individual needs, and some are better than others. For example, a program like Noom takes a detailed profile of each user, including family history, weight loss and fitness goals, lifestyle, etc., and uses it to build a custom plan. Noom’s individualized plans help users reach their health and wellness goals — whether it be to lose a certain amount of weight or just get healthier — without the crazy restrictions and inevitable stress of dieting. Be gentle with yourself and carefully choose a weight loss program that focuses on health and self-care rather than quick fixes and physical appearances.

Expect setbacks. Before you even start your weight loss journey, you should mentally prepare yourself for setbacks. They will happen and that’s OK! It’s the rare person who can resist a cupcake at a birthday party or stick to club soda every single happy hour. That’s just no fun and it’s no way to live a balanced life. The key to ditching the guilt and negative feelings is to accept that you’ll want to enjoy the occasional treat, or even an entire indulgent meal, and that you just might get the flu and skip a full week of workouts. Those things don’t have to and certainly shouldn’t set your weight loss goals back for good. You just move on and remember that each day is new and what happened the day or week before doesn’t have to determine how you proceed. Noom helps monitor such setbacks, and adjusts users’ plans to accommodate them, making the entire process far less onerous. When I was actively trying to lose weight, I did my best to be mindful about what I was eating, but if there were brownies, I ate the brownies. And didn’t feel bad about it even for a second. And you know what? I still lost the weight and you will too! Your body works hard and it deserves to be treated with respect and kindness, no matter what.


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