Throughout my career as a personal trainer, I have often tried to find the common denominators that are shared by all those who succeed in weight loss.
It would be untrue if the complexities of this event could be narrowed down to one specific fact, and frankly, the social-psychological model is far too complicated to fully understand the emotions and physiology behind people's selection, frequency and overall volume of food.
There have also been spokespeople who have duped the public into thinking that eating one 12-inch sub sandwich per day is the best way to lose weight. These kinds of ads suggest that a person need not control their food selection and are incredibly misleading regarding whether a food is nutrient-dense or calorie-dense.
Any individual who wishes to put a cap or limit on their daily calories can succeed in losing weight whether they eat one cheeseburger with bacon per day, or one sub sandwich. This only occurs, however, if their caloric intake is less than their calories expended. Shoot, you could even have the "ice-dream diet" as a way of losing weight, provided that you burn more calories than you consume. For the record, I in no way advocate this, but I simply want to illustrate that anyone can call almost anything a "diet" if the amount consumed is less than the amount expended.
While there is no true "secret" to engaging absolute control of your food choices, I have always initiated my client's maps to wellness with one key word — "compromise."
Experience has demonstrated that while the "cold turkey" techniques my clients have used to abstain from snacks, sweets and fats, might work in the short run, the ticking time bomb of temptation does not go away very quickly. In fact, it seems to gain a quiet momentum, which in that moment of weakness at the next office party, family gathering, or football bowl game explodes into a no holds barred foodfest to overcompensate for the withdrawal.
I have always had more success tapering my clients off of their admitted weakness by engaging in the "one-half" rule. For example, if two scoops of ice cream are your usual portion, start by consuming one. If two glasses of wine per evening have been your indulgence through your favorite book or reality TV series, see if you can make it only one glass.
Weight gain and weight loss are similar to erosion. Much like the abyss called the Grand Canyon started as a stream and through eons of time, eroded into this monstrous void, weight gain is a similar event. We don't gain that extra 10 pounds overnight. Instead, very gradually over time, we overeat a little here and a little there and often years later, see a body that doesn't look anything like the one we had in high school or college.
Fortunately, the compromise approach I'm referring to here can provide a consistent stimulus for reducing calories while minimizing cravings. The sum total per week of this kind of discipline without "sinful surrender" of our favorite foods can be the beginning of a new year of improved health and wellness.
This holiday season, think "compromise," take walks, burn more that you consume and build an attitude based on the fact that the best is yet to come!
Bill Victor is the owner of Victor Fitness System Professional Fitness Trainers, Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists, and Performance Nutrition Consultants. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at http://theflashpoint.org and http://VictorFitnessSystems.com.