Find Your Ideal Weight
Ideally, our approach to weight loss should be to form lasting healthy eating and lifestyle habits, including regular exercise, but often, people find themselves yo-yo dieting, hopping from one diet to another, and having difficulty maintaining a restricted diet. Some never reach their ideal goal, but instead spend their lives dieting on and off, never satisfied with their weight or their diet.
Trip-ups and challenges aren't the problem though. The problem comes when we let them defeat us, or when we set our expectations too high too soon for us to achieve them.
Can You Lose Too Much Weight?
For some, dieting can easily become a fixation, where we think that losing the weight will make our problems go away. Losing weight can become an obsession, especially for those susceptible to the various pressures of our culture. We hear that obesity is an epidemic, but lament that supermodels are too thin. We are inundated with images of very skinny women in magazines and on our favorite TV shows and, while we can tell ourselves we don't need to be that skinny, it sometimes seems there's a little voice in our heads telling us that we do need to be that skinny.
Eating disorders are quite common, much more so than we might think and typically affect women and girls, and include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. While these disorders seem to be about eating, they are actually caused by an emotional problem. Try thinking of the eating problem as a symptom of the emotional problem in the same way a fever can be caused by a virus. Eating disorders are caused by an unhealthy attitude towards body image and perception of self. Many people with eating disorders have low self esteem, depression, or feel a lack of control over their lives. Controlling food intake is a way to manage these feelings.
Healthy Weight Loss
It's important to maintain a healthy outlook towards weight loss. Try to think of dieting not as deprivation but as a healthy habit to last your whole life. Work to think about food as beneficial to your body and to maintaining your health. Seek out cook books that focus on healthy eating and low fat meals Exercise regularly but not excessively. Exercise is great for your body, but too much exercise can actually harm you.
Most importantly, keep a healthy attitude towards your body and towards weight loss. It's okay to set a weight loss goal and stick to it, but be careful to set a goal that is realistic for you. Consider your goal in relation to your natural body size. Some people are simply larger than others, but that doesn't mean they need to lose weight. If you aren't sure your goal is right for you, ask a close friend or even your doctor, who can help you determine an appropriate goal.
Above all else, pay attention to your feelings. Do you feel you exercise excessively? Do you worry just a little too much about the extra food you ate and punish yourself for it by spending more time exercising? If you find yourself doing these things or others, including using laxatives, diuretics, diet pills or vomiting, please talk to someone. Don't be embarrassed by an eating disorder, they are more common than you may think. Tell someone you trust, whether it's a close friend, family member or doctor. They can help you seek the treatment you need.