If you're carrying around a few extra pounds of flab, that's not going to be great for your confidence. A bunch of friends of mine have recently forked out for an expensive coaching program to motivate them to lose weight fast; and although it seems to be working for them, I shake my head each time they talk about it.
Why? Because you can lose weight for free, without really trying. I know because I've been doing it myself for the last few months. In fact I'm kinda pissed off that the new board shorts that I bought at the beginning of this summer are too big for me now and I'll have to fork out for a new pair soon.
So here's how to lose weight without really trying:
Stop Looking For A Quick Fix
The biggest problem with the well-intentioned program my friends are on is that it promises a relatively quick fix. If you want your body to settle at its ideal weight, what you need is a lifestyle change. Looking for a quick fix to life's problems is symptomatic of childish thinking, indicating that you haven't really grown up yet. Adult obesity is a manifestation of childish thinking.
The diet industry makes a fortune out of you wanting a quick fix, but it's counter-productive in the long term because you'll just pack the weight on again later. If you have to pay someone to motivate you to lose weight, you'll lose that motivation once you get close to your target weight and stop paying them. They you'll end up just putting the weight back on.
Also, rapid weight loss is really bad for your body.
So stop looking for a quick fix, and instead address the personal and lifestyle issues that have caused you to put the excess weight on in the first place. Do that, and your weight problems will resolve themselves without you really trying.
Imagine How You'll Feel
Take a moment to imagine how you'll feel when you've reached your desired weight and fitness goals. Think about what you'll be doing, visualise what you'll look like, where you'll be, who you'll be hanging out with and how great you'll feel when you get there. Allow yourself to really feel it by imagining what it will be like. Come back to this whenever you're lacking motivation or get the urge to fork out money for a weight loss program or gym membership you don't need.
Don't Eat Because You're Upset
Do you ever find yourself eating because you're upset about something? Then stop. Only eat when you're hungry. If you're feeling sad, angry or anxious don't eat unless you're also feeling hungry. Learn to distinguish between these feelings.
The key to stopping emotional eating is to notice how you're feeling, and find a constructive way to express it. Most overweight people eat to suppress unpleasant emotions, just like anorexics avoid eating to suppress anxiety.
When you're tempted to eat because you feel upset, identify the emotion involved and follow the advice in the relevant chapter of Part 2 of The Confident Man Program instead.
Stop Eating When You're Full
Stop eating when you no longer feel hungry. Don't just finish all the food on the plate simply because it's there. If you feel guilty about throwing food away, put it in the fridge and eat it later when you feel hungry again or remind yourself to cook a smaller portion next time. Quit gorging yourself.
Quit Buying Junk Food
It can be difficult to resist the temptation to grab the chips from the cupboard when you're feeling hungry and lazy, but it's a lot easier to resist if there are no chips in the cupboard to begin with. Your first and easiest decision point is in the supermarket: don't buy the junk food in the first place. And by junk food, I mean almost anything that comes out of a factory.
My mind always boggles when I see TV programs about obese children, with their parents pretending to be helpless to control their child's eating while still coming home with truckloads of processed junk food from the supermarket. Just don't buy the stuff!
Food manufacturers go to great lengths to get your taste buds to trick you into thinking that the food they sell is good for you because it tastes good. None of this food existed when our ancestors were evolving and our taste buds haven't had time to adapt to recognise that processed food is not good for your body. Supermarkets position junk food to make it appeal to you because it's lucrative for them, not because it's a healthy choice for you.
Don't fall for this scam: buy the fresh fruit and vegetables instead.
Refined sugar wasn't a part of our ancestor's diet. You can't even eat sugar cane; the sugar has to be extracted and crystallised in a factory. Nor were alternatives like high fructose corn syrup which are just as bad for you. Sugars like fructose are what makes fruit taste sweet, but it always comes naturally wrapped in a heap of fibre.
You don't need refined sugar to survive, and the less you eat the less you need for sweet things to taste sweet. Also avoid processed foods with high sugar content. Never drink sodas, and avoid fruit juices where the dietary fibre has been removed. Eat actual fruit instead.
Replace Carbohydrates & Meat With Vegetables
Stop buying potato and pasta, and replace them with vegetables. If you're not satisfied at the end of a meal, add more vegetables. If you don't like vegetables, try some your mum didn't serve you as a kid. Carbohydrates break down into sugars in your body and provide energy; but if you're overweight you probably consume way more energy than you need.
You don't need to count calories; just fill your stomach with fruit and vegetables instead.
While you're at it, cut your meat intake in half and replace that with vegetables too.
Avoid Fast Food
When you eat fast food like McDonalds, Burger King or KFC, you're expressing repressed self-hatred. You know it's bad for you. You know you'll feel bad afterwards, but you do it anyway. You're punishing yourself subconsciously. Instead, learn to express your latent feelings of self-loathing as mentioned above. Yes, I am serious: eating fast food is an expression of self-hatred.
Start Every Day With Exercise
I get up at dawn every day and exercise. And I'm still recovering from chronic fatigue syndrome, so if I can do it, you sure as hell can. Do it regardless of how you feel. Think of the benefits: being out in the early sunlight cures insomnia, and the exercise gets your metabolism going. If you think you don't have time to exercise in the morning, you have a lifestyle problem not a weight problem. Rethink your priorities.
The key to exercise is to find a physical activity you like doing. For me, gym definitely doesn't cut it. I've recently taken up tennis, and also play drums; so I've got an enjoyable physical activity I can do regardless of the weather. Whatever you pick, you may need to stick at it for a while as you learn to master it. I recently met 78 year old marathon runner who told me he disliked running when he first started, but now he runs 28 km every second day of the week. If he can, you can.
Do Something With Your Life
In case you're thinking: “that doesn't sound like 'without really trying' to me!”, that's a symptom that you don't have enough challenge in your life. It's easy to sit on the couch and suck down grease-ball burgers while complaining about not having enough energy or women not finding you appealing while you stay overweight.
If losing weight is the biggest challenge in your life when half the planet is still struggling to feed themselves, you need to change your world view and start setting some serious goals to stretch yourself. Make your health and fitness a high priority so that you can do what you love with your life for as long as possible, and then you'll find yourself losing weight without really trying.