Secret to losing fat isn't dieting or exercise

Find out the missing piece in the weight loss puzzle.

 |  4-minute read |   02-09-2016
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Did I hear diet or exercise? Oh, you are thinking about eating more greens or raw foods. Kill carbs, no fats or join a Zumba dance class? Wrong again. The missing piece of the weight loss puzzle is, drumroll, your mind.

That's right. That little part of you that you never think of when looking at your roll of fat - the mind - is where it all begins. And where it all must end.

Why diet isn't it

Dieting is bad for health. Here's how.

Dieting refers to a temporary change in your food choices, with the specific aim of losing weight. It necessarily implies that you go back to the regular fare once you are at your target weight. Being on a diet also carries the connotation of a temporary sacrifice - denying foods that give pleasure.

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When on a diet, feeling left out during a family dinner is part of the deal. What's wrong with that? Here's what.

Our body is in a constant state of change. Everyday, our muscles either waste away or are strengthened, bones made lighter or stronger, stamina increased or not, depending on the demands made on the body (activity) and raw materials provided (food).

So, while this means that if you eat more cucumbers, your body will be stronger because of it, it also means when you go back to your old routine, your body will go back to its old state of ill-health.

In fact, losing and then gaining weight is now seen as more harmful for health than being heavy and never losing any weight. So dieting is definitely not "it".

foodbd_090216110952.jpg Dieting is actually bad for health.

Why exercise isn't it either

Here is a typical, though hypothetical, scenario: You are overweight, and to take care of that, you decide to start a running routine. The plan is simply: set the alarm 30 minutes ahead and run. Problem solved. But is it?

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The night before your first run, you are up late. Sleep is important, right? So you defer the start date by a day, and another, and yet another.

After a few days of kicking yourself for procrastinating, you do go for a run. Felt great! So exhilarated, you talk about it to everyone. By afternoon the pains come. By evening you are really sore. So you skip the next morning.

After the fifth successful run, you notice a chai and samosa shop on your route. You stop for a little "well-deserved treat". Soon the samosa is part of the routine. You are still always unhappy to leave the bed early and force yourself into it.

In about a month, you check your weight. No change.

What? "OMG, what have I been sacrificing my sleep and pain-free life for? Nothing?"

You quit.

So what happened here?

You encountered all the usual tricks of the mind - avoidance, resistance, distraction, and justification. You also increased stress by beating yourself up to get out of bed, and berating yourself for the days that you skipped. Positive chemicals were secreted when you ran, but were negated by feeling like a victim.

How the mind is it

Which is why you need to set up the mind before you can change your body. Believe it or not, you gained weight because your mind and body decided that it was in your best interest.

The mind and body work together to create disease and health. Everything from a headache, through weight gain, to cancer is a joint project of the body and mind.

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What else was happening in your life at the time that you started gaining weight? Chances are you were in "dis-balance". Situations made a demand that you felt ill-equipped to handle. Since inner harmony was disrupted, changes had to be made to recreate balance at the new level of stress or toxicity.

The added fat cells around the belly or thigh are a hormone-secreting organ. They also whisk away toxins from the bloodand prevent harm.

So gaining weight is a balancing act by the mind-body unity. Consequently, you can lose weight naturally and permanently by removing the reasons for the weight gain. This will push the mind to create balance at a lower level of weight and fat cells.

Now exercise and changed eating habits will give the long-term benefits you seek.

Writer

Garima Gupta Garima Gupta @garima_coach

The writer is a mind-body wellness coach, author and holistic weight loss specialist.

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