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DIETING AND BEHAVIORAL CHANGES

Speaking of dedication and focus, changing your behavior is a key component to conquering obesity. Crash diets that cause people to lose weight drastically almost always backfire because there is no change in behavior and habits. Obesity is a lifestyle, and conquering obesity is a lifestyle also. Losing focus is a common problem with those who are trying to lose weight and keep it off.

Most of us do not have goals, and are generally not in the habit of goal setting. Many of us think we have goals, because we have stated what we want. However, if we haven't written them down in completely positive language, and eliminated goals that conflict with each other, then we don't truly have goals. What is positive language? A statement that uses positive words and not negative words toward achieving a goal. An example of a positive statement would be, I weigh 150 pounds. I am fit and trim, and full of energy. To the contrary, examples of negative statements are, I will not be fat anymore. I will not overeat. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I will not eat fattening foods. While these negative statements appear to say what you want at first, they truly only say what you don't want, and the subconscious mind does not know the difference between want and not, it only focuses on subjects. Therefore, if you speak of not being fat, it only hears being fat; if it hears you speak of not overeating, it only hears overeating; and if it hears you being sick and tired of being sick and tired, it only actually registers being sick and tired. The subconscious is very literal, so use positive language at all times. Notice I also made the statement in the present tense, even though I may currently be 210 pounds and not 160. The subconscious mind does not register the words I will either, because it has no concept of past and future. Think of dreams; have you ever dreamed of something and it seemed like it was an episode that took forever, yet when you awoke you realized the entire dream sequence took place in minutes while you dozed off? Or have you experienced a dream where people you know may look as they did many years ago? This is because the subconscious is simply storing images and words as they happen, not in past or future tense. It is important therefore to speak into your life what you want, and not what you don't want.

Developing your goals is a process, and will help you in your quest to becoming motivated and staying that way. Ask yourself why you want to lose weight. Carry around a notepad and pen for a few days and write down every benefit you can think of that relates to weight loss. You will use these to develop not only a goal, but also a mission statement. Some common examples are wanting to have more energy to spend quality time with family and friends, being able to fit into all your clothes, improving your health for longevity, wanting to feel comfortable in public, desiring to climb stairs or perform daily tasks without becoming breathless or fatigued, wanting to be more active with your children, or wanting to wear a nice outfit you saw. In a few days, you should be able to write a statement similar to this:

"By August 31st I weigh 150 pounds. I eat foods that are healthy for me, and I enjoy them. I am able to fit into that nice bikini I saw at the beach shop last month, and I look awesome in it. I am able to run and play with my children and have boundless energy. I remain energized throughout the day and am very alert at work. I feel great while following my new meal and exercise plan, and am happy that I am making changes that will improve my health and longevity, so that I am alive and healthy for myself and my loved ones for a long time."

Of course you will customize your statement to fit your life, but you get the point. Make sure all of your statements are positive and in the here and now.

The next step is to keep focused on your goals. Once you write your statement down, keep it posted where you can see it daily, such as next to your bathroom mirror, or stuck on the refrigerator door. You must keep your goals literally in front of you in order to maintain focus. The mind begins to steer you in the direction that you are focused on, just as you steer a car down the road. Letting your goals out of your focus is like looking down or away while driving, or letting go of the steering wheel: eventually you will crash. Let's avoid the crash and plan for success.

The first week is always the hardest regardless of what your eating plan is, whether it be low fat, low carbohydrate or anything else you will no doubt feel the uncomfortable feeling of hunger pangs at first. The good news is that if you can make it through the first two weeks you will have a significantly better chance of meeting your goal. Your appetite will become significantly smaller, which will likely escape your notice at first.

Realize that your aim is to succeed by all means, but not meeting your goal does not mean total failure. If you end up cheating or missing a scheduled workout its not the end of the world. Beware of beating yourself up and deeming yourself a failure, and instead accept that everyone makes mistakes and get back up on your horse and right back on your plan. We're all human and we are bound to fail once and awhile.

Another obstacle especially amongst Americans is that we tend to want instant gratification. Perhaps it is the trappings of automated society and high standards of living, but we want things to happen here and now. Keep in mind that this is a process, and things will not happen overnight. There is never something for nothing, so you must give things time to work Especially with the more natural lifestyle-change plans mentioned earlier, it can take weeks before you see improvements; give it time. If after about a month you don't see anything happening, you can then assess what you are doing and make some adjustments.

It is great to build alliances with people who are striving to reach the same type of goals you are, and avoid spending excessive time with those who do not share the same goal you do-at least in the beginning of your new regimen. You might want to make an assessment of who you spend time with currently and what practices you engage in with them. Do you have regular associates that you binge with? Do you often go out with friends or family and visit restaurants that serve unhealthy foods? Although this is probably the hardest thing to do, you will have to excuse yourself from such activities for a while in order to accomplish your goal as you build up will power. After a few weeks, your habits will have changed and you will be able to resist temptation a lot better than you used to. One good practice is to exercise with a friend. Studies show that people who exercise with a friend are more successful at exercising consistently. You can keep each other accountable. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to exercise with them can be great motivation to show up and get it done.

Obesity and its Relationship to: Anorexia, Bulimia and Other Special Eating Disorders

The Science of Obesity: Fats & Cholesterol

Childhood Obesity

Popular Dietary Treatments

Surgical & Medical Solutions

Natural Alternatives

Exercise Management

 

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What I Read

Books by

Lyle McDonald

The Protein Book, The Protein Book is a comprehensive look at the issue of protein intake for both strength/power and endurance athletes. Coaches looking for the latest scientific developments in terms of optimizing protein nutrition for their athletes as

A Guide to Flexible Dieting is a look at some of the psychological and physiological reasons why diets so often fail. Among these is the research demonstrated fact that individuals who are too rigid in their approach to dieting (e.g. expecting complete un

The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook offers a scientifically based approach to quick weight and fat loss. Recognizing that people need or simply want to lose weight and fat rapidly, I set out to develop the safest, most effective way of accomplishing that goal.

The problem of stubborn body fat (typically the abdominals/low back for men and hips and thighs for women) is one that lean dieters have been trying to deal with for decades. Various simple explanations (typically involving estrogen) have been offered but

When trying to diet to extremely low levels of body fat, muscle mass and performance loss, crashing hormones, runaway hunger and others are perennial difficulties that the non-genetic elite (or natural) dieter has to face.

Very low-carbohydrate (aka ketogenic) diets such as The Atkins Diet, Protein Power and The South Beach Diet have come and gone repeatedly over the years and there is currently great research and real-world interest in their effects. Unfortunately, altoget

 

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