Author, trainer and speaker Nicki Anderson talks the talk about weight loss but she's also walked the walk, having dropped 50 pounds and managed to keep off the weight for years now.
I recently sat down with Nicki to ask her a few questions about the current obesity epidemic and to get some sage advice on what it really takes to lose weight and get healthy.
It's done for all the wrong reasons, simply vanity. Hence, it's not really taken seriously because in truth it's never enough. The truth is that being overweight isn't the end of the world. Being unhealthy is the real issue here.
Unfortunately, people have made weight loss all about size vs. health. We are NOT all meant to be the same size, yet diets and the dieting industry and the media, Hollywood, etc. have us believing that we should. It's just so wrong, so we're unhealthy both mentally and physically and yet we still focus solely on the scale.
Again, it's because our motivation is misplaced. If people stopped dieting to reach a certain weight and instead started changing their lifestyle in order to be healthy and strong, things would change. Focusing on the scale and "hurry up and lose weight" mentality is far from a successful strategy.
Our country simply has to get rid of the "diet head" and start to embrace the value of a healthy body... THAT'S WHAT'S IMPORTANT! Weight loss is simply a by-product of eating well and moving more.
Honestly, it's a matter of deciding what you really want. Every one thinks they want to lose weight, but what they really want is the by-products of weight loss: moving around easier, fitting into clothes better, having more energy, sleeping better, feeling more confident, etc.
The best way to start is looking at the big picture and deciding what is holding you back from embracing a healthy body. If it's the fact that you're sedentary, what's one step you can take towards moving more?
Pick just one thing. With food, start with one change. As it sticks you add on. Lifestyles weren't developed in three weeks, why should we expect to adjust to a lifestyle that includes changed nutrition and exercise habits in that same time? It's insane.
As we age, how the body responds varies. If a woman is menopausal, she'll respond differently. If someone has yo-yo dieted their whole life, the process will take longer. It's so unique for everyone.
There's also a mental component that plays a role as well. I tell people to stop looking for the external changes and focus on the internal changes, losing bad habits and implementing healthy habits.
When you finally decide to let the weight focus go. The weight loss approach is far from a success. It hasn't worked for people in the past, it's not going to work now. There has got to be a reason that's important enough to motivate you to change your life.
How about people with kids. Do they want their kids growing up with the same unhealthy habits? My hunch is NO.
Or what about grandkids. I know that I want to be able to keep up with my grandkids and be a fun grandmother, and that is a motivating for me to stay strong, healthy and active. If I'm sedentary and eat poorly, I'll have nothing to offer them.
It shouldn't be about permanent weight loss; it should be about healthy changes that become permanent.
I got in to the fitness business because many people at the time didn't understand obese and deconditioned populations. I was that -- I was an obese, inactive teen. When I lost my 50 pounds, and I worked at a health club inspiring others to be healthy, it was my calling. I was fired for spending too much time with the customers (don't you love that?) so I vowed then that people cannot be successful long-term if they don't have a strong support system and some day I'd have a business that would offer that.
Most diets or health clubs are there on the front end. But the back end, where it's the toughest part (maintenance), well no one is there to help you. I'm a firm believer in consistent motivation both before, during and after lifestyle changes. That's the key to long-term success. That and WANTING to make changes.
I loved that you asked that question because isn't it what we see all the time. We see promises like "20 pounds in 20 days" or "3 minutes a day to killer abs!"
Here's the secret and let's keep it between you and me and your readers shall we? The single step is making the mental switch from dieting to living. Deciding once and for all that you're going to make changes for all the right reasons.
The single step is a change of mind. From there, I supply a lot of things that help you to make positive healthy changes and STICK with them. It's not rocket science. Much of it is things you know, as well as offering up some new ideas.
The truth is that all of those things that you've heard before about weight loss and getting healthy hasn't changed. For 27 years, I've been teaching the same thing: "Move more... eat better and less... don't move and eat well for weight loss, do it for health gains." That's your surest way to success.
What is success? Simply a healthier you!