The best time to start is now
When did you decide you wanted to lose weight? Was it a new years resolution? Probably not the first time you set this new year goal. Was it just before going on holiday?
Chances are, if you are reading this, it hasn’t happened for you. You are not alone.
In the UK and elsewhere many people have put on weight during the lockdowns. I was one of them. It had started early on and only got worse.
I’ve now lost 10 kg (approx. 22 pounds). It’s been more than a year and a half ago. I am finally able to keep to my desired weight, and what’s even better is that I know I can do this easily and permanently.
In this post series, I’ll show you how you can also do it. All of it, including the ‘being easy’ part. I’ll explain why it hasn’t worked before and how to make this the last time you do it.
The first question is, when is best time to start?
The main problem is the food we eat in excess.
The food that our body doesn’t need to function properly. This food gets stored in the form of fat. Go back to the first post about re-framing the problem as a behavioral change to ‘Stopping overeating’. It’s useful because this is what needs to change. It means regaining control over what and how much you eat. It’s not the weight. Actually, it’s not about the weight at all.
Regardless of what you perceive as your main problem right now, the first thing you need to do is to start. Before you get started you will spend some time deciding when is the ‘right’ time to start. It seems logical.
When do we you want to start losing weight?
“I’ll start the 1st of the month”
Or, maybe, “I’ll start on Monday” Do you actually mean after the weekend so that you can have one last weekend to enjoy food?
“I’ll start after the holidays” You probably meant to lose weight before the holidays but it didn’t happen and you are now looking for reasons to wait after the holidays as it makes much more sense.
“It’s impossible to lose weight while on holiday, it’s my only time to relax and enjoy myself”
“I can’t possibly miss out on all that wonderful food in [insert country]”
Thinking there is a ‘better time’ implies a few things:
Maybe you think you need to do some extensive preparation: emptying the shelves of ‘tempting’ food, mental preparation, etc.
Maybe you think you need to find a specific time for ‘losing weight’
Without realising it you may be waiting to ‘start’ because you also think there will be an ‘end’. There will be a time that you will be able to stop whatever you are planning to do to lose weight.
Is there a ‘best’ time to stop overeating?
Yes, but no.
Yes, because the best time is NOW.
No, because NOW is any time right after you have decided to lose weight.
It’s easier to see if we ask the question ‘When is the best time to stop overeating?’
Which means, when is the best time to stop eating food my body doesn’t need?
The best time is now, any time, as soon as possible. Definitely not after the weekend, the first of the month or after the holidays.
Why would we want to delay stopping eating the food our bodies don’t need?
Any amount of food your body doesn’t need that you can prevent ingesting is a step in the right direction, and the sooner you start that, the better.
You want to be mentally prepared. I agree that will help. Unfortunately, it often means putting off starting because you are probably not particularly excited about the prospect. The result of this is that you will likely overeat on the weekend, one last blow out. Leading to that excess food being stored. There isn’t really an upside to delaying starting.
I’ll leave the ‘holidays’ for another post. For now, realise that there will be other holidays and other countries with wonderful food. What will you do then? You are probably not thinking that far. Or, your plan is to stop ‘dieting’ while on holiday and to start again when you are back. I do know that I can go on holiday and stay at the exact same weight whilst enjoying the new food. It’s possible.
The thinking that encourages you to delay starting is very often the same thinking that creates yo-yo dieting, the endless weight cycling: losing weight, gaining it back, losing it again to end up where you started, if not worse. We’ve all done it and it’s frustrating.
Don’t overthink it. Just decide to start losing weight now.
Or, decide that you do not want to start. And, stop trying. Don’t stay in limbo saying that you want to but not following it through. It’s exhausting. There is a lot of time and energy spent in wanting but not doing.
If you’ve decided the best time to start losing weight is now, continue reading.
What can you do to start losing weight now?
Start a food journal.
That is not what you expected. I know.
What I’ll show you involves a small amount of writing and it starts here. Very little. It won’t take you long at all. This is a short and quick type of journal.
To make it easier, have the notebook (or a piece of paper) in the kitchen or wherever it is that you go to make and eat your food.
Please, don’t use an App that calculates calories. I really don’t want you to calculate calories. I will go in detail about why, but for now, I’ll just say that counting calories doesn’t really work (has it ever worked for you?) And, it’s too complicated. Simple and easy are key.
This is the information I recommend you write:
|Time||What meal||What you eat||How much||How hungry were you? |
Very, somewhat, not at all, I don’t know
|Why are you eating?|
|7:00||breakfast||bread, butter & marmalade||2 slices||very hungry||Breakfast is an important meal|
|12:00||lunch||Salad: greens, peppers, tomatoes, carrot & cheese||big bowl||very hungry||I’m hungry and love salad|
|15:30||snack||biscuits||5||somewhat||I need something during the break|
What’s the purpose of a food journal?
Building awareness. It’s simple, so important and it is revealing.
Sometimes, we don’t know what we eat, how much or even why we eat it. What’s even worse, we don’t know that we don’t know it.
Just note every time you eat something. Don’t judge yourself if you eat something you think you shouldn’t or if you eat when you are not hungry. Just write it down.
Being aware of what you’re eating without judging yourself it’s a very good place to start, NOW.
Note: Aim to maintain a healthy weight (Body Mass Index between 18-25). Consult your doctor if you experience a non-intentional increase or decrease in weight (you are not trying to change your weight).