Thursday, May 12, 2011

Weight loss: The Psychological Aspect

Dealing with weight gain is one of the most difficult psychological tasks. Many people might not agree with this but having consensus on this issue is not the aim. The intention with which this piece is written is just to inculcate hope and motivation regarding one’s ability in dealing with their own body.

There are a lot of issues associated with weight gain which is why loosing weight is regarded as a psychological battle rather than a physical one.

Self image which is derived primarily from body image is an important facet associated with person perception which our opinion is regarding our own self. How others perceive us also forms an important part of self image which largely determines our self esteem. Having an appropriate body weight is considered attractive. The day you look good is the day you feel good. If you feel good, self confidence shoots up and vice versa. Slow weight gain is like slowly losing control over one’s body and involuntarily surrendering oneself. Slowly we sit in silent and magical anticipation that a day will come when we will be able to fit ourselves in the old jeans. But obviously that day never comes. Sizes sought after are mostly L or XL with just cold sighs towards the S or M range. Dining outside is always associated with severe guilt which is compensated for by missing the next day breakfast or lunch and suffering perennially from hunger pangs. The taste of biryani is forgotten, cold drinks and meethi lassis are replaced by cold water. Mangoes and bananas are replaced by water melons, oranges or grapes. Wardrobe slowly is overflowed with baggy like clothes and good fitting clothes are said bye-bye to. One avoids fridge as if it contains some infectious microbes which will contaminate you permanently .The routes are changed so that the favourite sweet shop or junk food outlet is not crossed. One remains always hungry and frustrated. The results are either bulimic munching or anorexic dieting. Eventually long term outcome is loss not of those extra kilos but of self esteem, self confidence and happiness .

But the belief in oneself that one has control over one self is like half the battle won. The golden rule behind weight loss is not exercise primarily but PERSEVERENCE and MOTIVATION. These important traits are responsible for any act whereby long term goal is expected. Shedding those extra kilos is not impossible task nor does it require the help of those weight loss pills or slimming centres which claim weight loss of 3-5kgs in a short time. It results in more harm than good. If one is motivated enough to realise ones goals, there is no stopping. Motivation to shed those extra kilos will act as a fuel to the fire and if it is backed by perseverance then the aim is not far reaching any more. Usually time is taken out for all the important tasks except exercise. Remember that you are important, all the work and the world can take a back seat. If you can’t love or take care of your own self, how can you love or take care of others. Respect your own self first. Give yourself priority. In 24hrs, take out at least ½ hr for exercise. You can dance, do aerobics, cycle, treadmill or walk, do yoga or whatever form of exercise you prefer. Fix this time. Use music to make it enjoyable. Every mobile phone has got this option. Whatever you do, just do it regularly. Sunday can be an off day.

PATIENCE and HARD WORK is the key to success. Just give yourself a time frame and aim at loosing 5-6kgs. It is not a question of a month or two; it might take a year, so just keep going on. Something which you have nurtured over all these years like your own baby will take some time to shed away. Do not weigh yourself every day. Just hide the machine and weigh yourself once a month. It is very much acceptable that you do not loose even an inch in two months. Every machine takes some time to pick up momentum. Our body is the most astounding god made machine. The resistant extra kilos which have accumulated over all these years will take some time to go. When you invest your money, the long term investment pays higher dividends. Similarly you are investing time in your body, returns will take some time. After first three months of regular and rigorous exercise, returns will be visible. The body will be more toned up, mood will be fresh, and probably one or two kgs are lost. From there on, aim at loosing 1 kg per month. If the weight loss is slow, weight gain will also be slow. But never over do. Listen to your body.

Accompanying this is the right kind of DIETARY HABITS. Do not avoid healthy food like rice, roti, fruits, vegetables or non veg. The amount needs to be monitored. One can avoid excess oil, unsaturated fats, red meat, artificial beverages etc. People often stay hungry while dieting which should not be done. Where will you get the energy from to exercise? You should be found on the treadmill or park and not on the hospital bed. Eat everything but in moderation. Never skip breakfast, that’s the most important meal of the day. Avoid paranthas, eat roti instead or brown bread. Never push out anything completely from your diet like sugar or rice or meat etc. When you restart all these things, you gain more rapidly. Our body requires all these things including fats. You can even treat yourself to your favourite sweet or dish or can dine outside after a week. Eat small portions more frequently rather than following thrice a day meal plan. Eating in short intervals will kill the hunger pangs and the amount of food intake for the next meal will be reduced. The cravings will also reduce. Along with your body one has to take care of one’s face as well. Do not loose the lustre of your face in the race to shed off those extra kgs. Facial will improve only outside skin. If the skin is healthy it will show.

Be REALISTIC in your aim. One has to decide how much is extra and this goal has to be realistic. Every body’s body chemistry is variable and therefore the response to exercise differs. Be realistic in the amount of weight you want to loose. Do not expect drastic results. Do not aim at size zero as well. Every body’s tendency to loose or gain kgs is variable. Stop comparing yourself to your friend who has followed the same diet plan as yours and doing the same set of exercise yet has shown better results than you. Whenever your hope start diminishing or motivation starts dwindling, thing of what you will look like after 6-7 months, the feeling of getting back into your old jeans or eating as much as you want, is motivating enough.

“Every time I feel like exercising, I lie down till the feeling passes”, if your life mantra is this.....then you do not need anything but motivation.


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