It’s time to stop feeling bad about yourself. It’s time to stop beating yourself up.
t’s time to stop blaming yourself for all the struggles you might have had in the past about your weight. It’s time to get smart about how to solve them. It’s time for a new approach – one that’s scientifically sound, doesn’t make you feel tired or ratty or hungry – and one that actually works.
If you’re someone who struggles with maintaining a healthy weight and tends to judge yourself negatively, I have something important to tell you. It honestly can’t wait a moment longer. It’s harder for you. Truly. If you’re struggling with excess weight, it’s because you’re different. You have a different body, which is functioning in a different way and has been on a different life journey to all those people who seem to be able to maintain a healthy weight so effortlessly. It’s not your fault.
This book will help you understand the true causes of your weight gain and show you how to reverse it in a responsible way. It will also help you keep that weight off with some easy and effective techniques that are fine-tuned to fit in with your life.
There’s more to weight loss than you’ve been led to believe. The good news is that reaching a healthy size and staying there isn’t a matter of starving yourself in the kitchen and hitting the gym hard. Any lifestyle programme that makes you feel terrible is going to have terrible results.
The fact is, rapid weight loss isn’t really weight loss at all. It’s an illusion. It doesn’t last and, worse, it raises your weight point, meaning you’ll probably end up with a bigger problem than you started with.
Keeping it off for good means losing weight and feeling great. It’s a longer process, but it’s much more fun. You’ll be learning about yourself, understanding your behaviours and nourishing your body and mind with nutritious food and positive thoughts. Over time, you’ll feel happier, less stressed and more energetic, and the excess fat will start to naturally disappear.
Remember: you’re not going for perfect. It would be nearly impossible to commit to every page of this book fully. You’re looking for enough. This means regular small steps in the right direction. Don’t worry if you have a bad day. Each morning, the sun rises again and that’s a brand-new opportunity to make different choices.
Throw away the scales and start focusing on those little daily habits that will add up to huge changes.
And don’t wait. Too many of my patients have some golden future in their minds when they’re at some ideal weight; they make the mistake of putting their life and happiness on hold until they get there. But your life is happening now. Your today is just as important as your tomorrow, your next month and your next year. You can begin the journey of nourishing yourself, mind, heart and body, the moment you put this book down.
It’s time. Not just to live, but to live greatly.
THREE EVERYDAY HABITS
The simplest and most effective way to start is by introducing these three daily habits into your life. They are easy to implement and within days of starting them, you will feel better and have more confidence.
Just as brushing your teeth for a few minutes each day takes care of your dental health for life, these quick everyday habits will help move you towards sustainable weight loss. I would love you to get to the stage where you are effortlessly doing all three every day, but feel free to start with one and build up slowly. Remember, each of them takes under five minutes to do!
Doing these small habits consistently sends your body a powerful daily signal that you are worth taking care of.
Don’t be fooled by their ease – they’re incredibly effective when done consistently. Once you have them ingrained into your daily life, it will make it much easier to implement the other ideas and principles in the book.
To increase your chances of success, stick these new habits on to a behaviour you already do automatically and as part of your daily routine, eg, boiling the kettle, making a coffee, your commute into work, or just before bed. Spend some time experimenting with the best time in your day for each one.
Lift something every day
Keep a dumb-bell or kettlebell in your kitchen. When you go in there each morning to make a hot drink or for breakfast, lift it. Even if all you do is five bicep curls, you’re showing your body each day that you’re a thriving human. When you’ve finished, make sure you allow yourself to feel good about it. Start small, but try and build up to a five-minute workout (or more!) each morning, as I do.
Connect each day with another human being
I often see people soothing their loneliness with food. That is why each day, I want you to connect with another human being in a meaningful way. It doesn’t need to take long. If you feel you don’t have the connections for this, join a supportive online community. We’d all love to see you over at my Facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/drchatterjeetribe/)
Make time each day to see how far you’ve come. Many of us live our lives at a hundred miles an hour and we’re often too busy to stop, think and reflect. If you’re going to change your relationship with your health in the long term, taking some time for yourself each day to reflect on how things are going is one of the most powerful things you can do. It needn’t take long – even just a few minutes will suffice.
These are the three core foundations of fat loss, which I want you, over time, to infuse in as much of your life as possible. Try your best to make small changes in each of them, to the best of your ability.
Please remember that these foundations are areas that can always be improved. I have been focusing on them for years and I am still making small tweaks in them. That is part of the process.
Don’t worry about getting them all perfect from day one. This is not a conventional ‘plan’ where you have to have completed specific tasks in week 1, week 2 etc before moving on.
My approach is all about progress, not perfection. Please don’t punish yourself if your progress isn’t as quick as you’d like. Small changes made consistently over time is what leads to the big results.
It’s possible that the ‘Prepare Your Mind’ exercise [in Feel Great, Lose Weight] will have identified that one of these foundations requires more attention than the others.
If this is the case, I would encourage you to focus on that foundation first. You will experience more benefits from small improvements in your weakest area, rather than making your strongest one even better.
In fact, many people are much more successful when they focus on only one foundation at any one time. When we try and change too much at once, it can quickly become overwhelming.
1 EAT REAL FOOD
Real food gets your signals working properly and helps you lose weight without making you feel too hungry. I want you to choose minimally processed food that’s as close to its natural state as possible.
2 MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
Not sleeping well makes you hungrier, makes you crave more sugary food, makes it easier for you to put on weight, makes you more emotional and makes it harder for you to resist temptation. Getting sleep right makes everything else easier. For most of us, a few small lifestyle tweaks is all that is required.
Use the tips [in Feel Great, Lose Weight] to help you. You do not need to follow all of them but the more of them you do, the more likely it is that the quality and length of your sleep will improve.
3 ALWAYS CHOOSE TO WALK
Choose every opportunity that you can to walk. Walking is the most fundamental human movement. Simply walking as much as you can sends your body the signal that you’re a thriving individual who’s engaging with life.
If you’re unable to walk for any reason, find another form of movement you can enjoy.
This is an edited extract from ‘Feel Great, Lose Weight: Long Term Simple Habits for Lasting and Sustainable Weight Loss’ by Dr Rangan Chatterjee, published by Penguin Life, £16.99