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Dietary advice

10 things you need to know before you start losing weight

It's a topic I have to talk about but always try to avoid. Why? Because I don't have any easy tips or magic pills that will produce miraculous results. Many people do not realize the complexity of weight loss and do not understand the real and long-term risks it brings to their health. The content I'm about to talk about probably won't be interesting to most, but in my opinion, it's exactly the facts that people should be aware of before jumping on a new diet or weight loss program again.

Before you decide to start a new diet, take a step back. Statistically, your chances of getting rid of extra pounds and not gaining them back are very low. One of the largest weight loss studies, conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that individuals who follow various diets lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, but most gain it all back—and that in just one year. Other long-term studies have shown that only 10-20 % of individuals who followed a structured weight loss plan succeeded in not regaining at least 5_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_% of body weight lost.

You might ask why it's worth the effort then.


Don't give up. Losing (or maintaining) weight in a healthy way undoubtedly has benefits, such as a reduced risk of certain problems such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes. It can lower blood pressure and total cholesterol levels. It can also relieve the symptoms of being overweight and prevent injuries related to it. There is a way you can succeed in losing weight permanently. The key to success is to take your time in the preparation phase before taking action. If you build a foundation now that will allow you to lose weight consistently, you will never have to start a new diet again.

1. Create your own vision of well-being.

Ask yourself why you want to get rid of excess weight. What exactly – besides the number on the scale – does this mean to you? How much effort are you willing to put in?
If you answered that you'd like to look slimmer/younger/better, but you're only willing to cut back on your meals and drink protein shakes, you need to stop and look at the bigger picture before you get into trouble or experience disappointment.

2. Assess your own situation.

There are important facts about weight loss, and it's good to be aware of them right from the start. The first fact is your weight, and the second is your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is based on your weight and height. For doctors, BMI is the best indicator of your health risk. The medical terms "overweight" and "obesity" are actually based on the BMI scale. If your BMI is between 25 and 30, it is said to mean that you are overweight, and a BMI above 30 indicates obesity. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk of obesity-related diseases. These include type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Your doctor can help you calculate your BMI, or you can calculate it yourself with a BMI calculator. The same BMI scale applies to adult men and women, but there is a separate scale for girls and boys under 20 years of age. There is also a special BMI calculator for Asian patients.

3. Find the reason for being overweight.

Do you eat a lot of sweets, fatty foods, snacks and alcohol? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you exercise regularly? Do you have chronic diseases? Are you over 40? Have you ever given birth?


If you are aware of your habits, you may already know the reason. Every body is different, so what works for others may not work for you. If you are over 40 years old, weight loss should not be as aggressive as for twenty-year-olds. However, some individuals need professional help due to their health side, so it is good to seek it early enough.

4. Create a support group

You should be aware that losing weight is solely your responsibility and that no one else is responsible for it. But that doesn't mean you have to tackle it all by yourself. Who will support you along the way? It can be extremely helpful to share your vision with family and friends and let them know how they can help you. It is important that they share this vision with you so that they can help and motivate you. You can also find experts to help you with various aspects of weight loss. These can be, for example, a doctor who will constantly monitor your health condition, a personal trainer who will help you with new exercises, or a psychologist who will help you overcome problems with emotional overeating.

5. Understand your body

If you are on a diet, it does not always mean that you should not consume absolutely any carbohydrates and calories. Let's take a look at the TCM perspective on healthy eating and you'll be surprised that you missed so a lot of essential information.
Healthy eating: how TCM differs from what you already know

6. Anticipate obstacles and create strategies to overcome them

Good things are always the result of hard work. Your weight loss probably won't always be easy. What weight loss obstacles have you faced in the past, or what do you fear will stop you in the future? Anticipate problems before they happen – and create strategies to avoid them. Do you spend a lot of time in your car on the way to work and then buy whatever is available at roadside stands to satisfy your hunger? Brainstorm and make a list of non-perishable and convenient snacks to take with you on the go. Do your friends get together every Friday after work for drinks where they drink and eat more calories than they would like? Maybe you can get someone to join you at the gym instead, and you can go out for a healthy dinner together later.

7. Create an environment for success

It's time to think about what you'll need as you begin your weight loss plan and eliminate potential landmines. Are your fridge and cupboards full of snacks and junk food? Give it to someone else or throw it away! Fill the shelves with a wide selection of healthy foods that will be available to you when hunger strikes or when you need to prepare a meal. The same goes for the office. Remove sweets and chips from drawers. Keep only quality, healthy foods on hand. If you don't have access to a refrigerator, perhaps you can buy a small one - or a cooler; you will be able to keep healthy snacks there. If you're thinking about joining a gym, make sure it's close to your home or office. Ask if there is an option for a trial period to make sure you are comfortable there and that the atmosphere is pleasant.

8. Create a realistic plan

Once you've done the cognitive part, it's time to create a plan. At this point, you can decide which steps are right for you. Will you stick to a structured eating plan or will you slowly introduce healthier foods into your everyday life? Will you start by walking in the park close to home, will you sign up for a gym or will you decide to take a dance class? Are you going to start making your own lunch and take it with you to work instead of eating at a restaurant every day? The beauty of this choice is that you can decide for yourself what best fits your lifestyle. Don't follow rules that make you uncomfortable. There is no such thing as a perfect diet that works for everyone.

9. Make changes slowly and gradually

Now you have a plan and you want to succeed. But do you realize that it takes at least 60 days to develop new habits? Therefore, introduce the diet into your life slowly, while making gradual changes. The steps should be small but firm. Many people try to eliminate all bad food from their diet at once. That's why losing weight is too much of a challenge for them, because at the same time they crave for many unhealthy products, as a result of which they cannot achieve the set goal.


Start small. Don't go overboard and eliminate all the bad food at once. Work gradually and eliminate one thing at a time, such as sugary drinks or candy, and then slowly remove other items.

10. Stick to the plan and remind yourself of your vision

In fact, all of this is not about dieting, nor is it just about losing weight. It is about establishing a healthy lifestyle. Stay focused and keep the big picture in mind. The initial months may be more difficult, but compared to the lifetime, the effort will undoubtedly pay off.

TCM diet
Image by Eaters Collective

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