Invest in YourselfPosted: Jun 22 in Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
When is the last time you did something nice just for yourself?
So many people who begin a well-intentioned weight loss effort find that they hit barriers to weight loss and that they are prone to regaining the lost weight. In spite of working really hard to control their calories and increase physical fitness, the weight seems to come right back on.
As long as we believe the old formula, “Calories in / Calories out,” we will blame ourselves for this cycle – if we regained the lost weight, we must be eating too much or moving too little. In reality, the equation for successful weight loss is far more complex.
What causes us to gain weight?
Our weight is primarily a function of the relationship between our genetics and our environment. We gain weight for a long list of reasons – stress, sleep deprivation, abnormal food, excessive sedentary time, etc. If we only focus on what we eat, we are missing most of the equation. These things influence why we eat and how we store our calories. Trying to control calories, but not dealing with the chronic stressors and sleep deprivation that caused us to eat and store the calories in the first place will inevitably result in the weight returning to where it was.
If we are going to successfully improve our health, it starts out by making our personal health the highest priority. Most of us have our priorities set up in such a way that we don’t come first. We don’t come second. Oftentimes we come dead last. We take care of our kids and/or our parents. We do a great job at work. We do everything for our spouse / significant other. But at the end of each day, we’ve done very little for ourselves. We are tired and hungry and spent the whole day working on things for other people.
But what about ourselves?
When was the last time you took a break at work to go for a walk? Left early on a Friday afternoon to be with a friend? When’s the last time you got a massage or a pedicure? Or took a power nap in the middle of the afternoon? When’s the last time you bought yourself a new outfit, or a comfortable pair of walking shoes?
Investing in yourself
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, invest in yourself. You can invest in yourself in a variety of ways.
- Invest with TIME
Investing in yourself starts with taking TIME for yourself. You can’t expect to be healthy if you are working 80 hours per week. Figure out how to cut work hours to something more reasonable. Find ways to take time for yourself every day to do the things that make you happy.
- Invest with STRESS REDUCTION
What are the main stressors that are driving you crazy? Oftentimes this is a family member, friend, loved one or a boss. Can the relationship be improved? Couples therapy? Less time with the person driving you nuts? Can a meeting be set up with the boss or co-worker to openly discuss differences and plot a better path forward?
- Invest with HEALTHY AMOUNT OF SLEEP
Let’s face it, every day we start sleep deprived is a day we will be fatigued, hungry, and have trouble sticking with our food and activity plan. A well-intentioned weight loss program starts with a proper sleep schedule. Further, make sure you have a great mattress, pillow and sheets, and make sure you are sleeping in a room with comfortable temperature (cooler is better in the summer!) While you’re at it, remove televisions and screens from the bedroom to improve sleep quality.
- Invest with PROPER EQUIPMENT
If you enjoy walking, when is the last time you got a new pair of walking shoes? Proper shoes will make a huge difference! A few weeks ago, I was surprised to pull a muscle in my left calf while running my normal route. Then, this happened again a couple weeks later. From the top, my shoes looked brand new. On the bottom, I had worn completely through the heel on the left side! (See pictures, below). If it’s been a while, or your shoes are worn out, it’s time for an upgrade!
- Invest in your HOBBIES
When was the last time you took out the guitar or took a music lesson? Bought a new board game or card game? Got out all that yarn and started knitting? Read a great new book? Learned something new that you’ve always wanted to do? Hobbies keep life fun and interesting, and give us something to do besides eating! Further, many provide us great ways to connect with others and make friends.
This is only a very small list. What would make YOU happy? Invest in yourself for health, wellness, and happiness!