How I wish it were that simple.
But it isn’t and that’s why so many people who become overweight struggle to shed the extra kilos. It’s also why many physical trainers, dieticians and nutritionists have thriving businesses.
I’ve come to believe that the reason losing weight is such hard work is that so many of us just don’t know what or how much we should be eating and how our bodies react to food.
When I attended Paleo f(x) in Austin, Texas earlier this year, health coach Erin Power told me she firmly believed that “task-orientated health advice just doesn’t work for most people” and that the biggest “aha moment” for many of her clients had been when they learned to listen to the signals their bodies were sending them and realised that responding to them in a way that achieved the desired results could be really easy.
This turned out to be an “aha moment” for me, because I was finally able to understand why my previous efforts to lose weight had failed.
The problem, I realised, was that the programmes had been completely task-orientated. At no point was I being taught - or learning - to understand the reasoning behind the tasks or how to adapt to different situations.
I knew exactly how much of each food group I was allowed each day, how the different foods were categorised and how to measure a portion size.
The missing link was the “why”. At the time I didn’t realise that.
Added to this, said Power, people cannot simply be told to “eat less, but need to be taught how to influence their appetites how not to be hungry”.
One way to do this is to eat whole, nutrient dense food, with a focus on fresh fruit, vegetables and protein, rather than foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugars like crisps, sweets, sugary drinks and so on.
One of the comments I often get from people who follow my weight loss experience on Instagram is that my meals look delicious and that I eat “so much”. This of course, is informed by the misconception that eating healthy means eating tiny portions of food or bland, boring meals.
Not so. I love food and one of the greatest contributors to my weight loss success over the past year has been having fun, experimenting with delicious, home-cooked meals and regularly trying out new recipes.
And then there’s something Paul Chek, an expert in corrective exercise and holistic lifestyle coaching, said that totally blew my mind. “Most people confuse hunger for thirst. And as a result, they eat when they should be drinking.”
But when I started paying attention to what happened when I felt the urge to eat (but was not necessarily hungry) and then drank some water, I realised that Mr Chek just might have been on to something.
For more on health, wellness and the paleo lifestyle go to www.editedeating.co.za or follow @editedeating on social media.