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Will tai chi help me to lose weight?
Weight loss usually involves balancing out food intake and activity. Undertaking a daily qigong and tai chi regime will most certainly help your body exercise.
This must be paired with a diet that best suits the individual.
Find out why we eat bad food
If you are hungry, your body seeks out a source of energy. Sugar is the obvious choice. But it is not the healthy one. Use your intelligence to select an alternative energy source.
Use intelligence not willpower
Willpower is about forcing a result. It requires resistance. Rather than will yourself slim, why not simply cultivate new eating habits?
Doing something different involves shedding familiar, comfortable habits (unlearning) and acquiring new habits. This is the essence of change.
People are innately slow to make changes to their lives. It is easier not to.
Shedding bad habits
Change requires us to stop doing what we are used to doing, and do something unfamiliar instead. This sounds easy enough.
In reality, people are reluctant to let-go of habits. There is much comfort to be found in the familiar. In order to respond spontaneously to what is occurring, we must shed certain habits.
The first step is to simply become aware of their existence.
Although it is not easy to make changes, we all can do it. There are some simple steps to follow:
Become aware of what you are doing (habit)
Inhibit (stop) the urge/habit
Consider your options
Over time, old habits are shed and new/more effective
habits replace them.
False body image
Many people who are notably fat genuinely do not realise quite how fat they really are. How come?
• People tend to become fat gradually
• Getting fatter is seen as a natural outcome of aging
• It is impossible to look at your own body objectively
• There are many fat people in society these days, so being fat is not unusual
• If you admit how fat you are, you may feel compelled to address the problem
Fat people fabricate a defensive mechanism for coping with internal and external criticism:
• They comfort eat
• They pretend to be happy
• They identify themselves with being fat
• They latch onto a fat-inducing medical condition as a 'plausible' excuse
• They argue vehemently against 'societal body image' stereotypes
Self-loathing, insecurity, fear and laziness are hidden by an elaborate game of self-deception. Meanwhile, the problem remains.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
There are many BMI charts available on-line: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx Why not weigh yourself and see what your BMI is?
The BMI result may not be to your liking. This is unfortunate. The key is not to lie to yourself:
- it's muscle
- I'm big-boned
- I can't help being fat
Who are you fooling? Only yourself. If you earnestly want to be healthy, start with the truth. As a guide, BMI isn't perfect and can be criticised, but it's a starting place.
Let's say that you're 5 feet 10 inches tall and 13 stone 8 pounds in weight... This is a weight you've grown accustomed to and it may not seem so heavy relative to many people around you.
Try putting your height and weight into the NHS BMI calculator. You're overweight.
Now try inputting different weights until you reach exactly halfway in the healthy range... It will be around 10 stone 8 pounds. The conclusion - you're 3 stone overweight.
We get used to being a certain weight. Unless you're a body builder (or very short) the BMI calculator is worth using.
To gauge fat, look in the mirror or explore your body with your hands. If you have pouches of fat throughout your body, they will be quite easy to locate.
Use a tape measure around your natural waist line.
Some calorie calculators will suggest an 'extreme fat loss' calorific value which is exceedingly low. This should be avoided.
Typically a 500 calorie daily deficit is adequate. If the calorie drop is too extreme, your metabolism will slow down, your sleep may be affected and any fat loss will be short lived.
Fat is unhealthy
It represents stored food and is a redundancy that adversely affects your health. Do not be concerned about media representations of a healthy body. They are an illusion.
A skinny person is not necessarily a healthy one. They may be anorexic or metabolically fast. Use your own judgement, but do not lie. Are you flabby? Do your have pouches of fat?
Be honest with yourself.
Fat or obese?
Heart disease, diabetes and other life threatening conditions can arise when you ignore your body fat.
It is quite scary and sad to think that the Western world is becoming fatter and fatter, whilst many so-called 'developing' countries still struggle to maintain a basic standard of living.
A fat person has eaten more than they need to. They have exceeded their body's requirement. Considering shedding this surplus and changing how you eat.
Fat accumulates in the body over many months and years. Losing excess fat is a slow process. You must be prepared to look at it in terms of months and years if you desire a healthy, lasting effect.
The underlying psychological habits that result in fat will not change overnight. It is a slow arduous journey of careful, considered eating and patience. Do not expect a miracle.
Remember how long you invested in getting fat? Allow your body the time to shed the excess sensibly.
Exercise will assist in fat loss, but food should be your main concern. There is no point doing a lot of exercise when the source of your fat is unchanged. Consider what you eat.
Losing fat should be a by-product of healthy eating, rather than a goal in itself.
If you eat a balanced, healthy diet and avoid sugar, processed food, additives, colouring, junk food, desserts, alcohol and caffeine - your fat level will steadily fall.
The aim should be to intake nourishing food that improves your fitness and wellbeing, rather than ego-food designed to coddle your depression, apathy and boredom.
Eating small regular meals is a healthy way to start your fat loss campaign. Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, try a banana instead.
Instead of 3 meals per day, eat 6 or 7. Make them small and satisfying. If you consider what you eat, much of it is simply habit. Habits can be changed.
Ask yourself what you really want - a chocolate brownie or a leaner body? Be honest.
Sugar creates a yo-yo effect on your blood stream. You go through highs and lows continuously. This is mistaken for hunger.
Only by cutting out sugar (and any food that might remotely have sugar in it) can you stabilise your body and find equilibrium.
Once you have operated without sugar for a few days you will discover that you are no longer as hungry as you once were and that you do not need to eat as much food.
Losing fat will not be easy. Your body is chemically addicted to unwholesome food and your palate is unaccustomed to subtle flavours.
It will be an arduous test of character and endurance. If it was easy, the world would not be slowly filling with fat people. Think of it as an investment in your future.
The work you undertake now may add years of quality life to your existence and keep you out of hospital. If you want to lose weight badly enough, you will.
"Like me for who I am"
People in modern culture are very defensive. They take exception to everything and over-react without realising it. Emotions are attached to the most trivial of things. People are very quick to anger.
Consider 'being fat' as a topic. If you are carrying around excess fat, it is a factual situation. Your body has pouches of fat dispersed around it.
There is no denying the existence of the fat. It is there for everyone to see.
People who are fat are often too lazy to do something about it. The fat person knows they are fat and they know that being fat is unhealthy.
The urge to act is weak. Apathy is strong. Self-discipline is poor. As a consequence, being fat becomes an emotional situation.
Rather than remain scientific and factual, the fat person becomes irrational and defensive. They pretend that being fat is ok.
You are not your fat
A defensive person see the excess fat as being part of who they are. An outer manifestation of an inner self. In a way they are correct, however, the fat is not who you are. It is what you have allowed.
Who you are is one thing. Excess body fat is something else entirely.
Truth is tangible
Seeing the truth in every situation is very important. Looking at the heart of the matter, the centre, the essence. Until you can see what is, there is no scope for understanding or change.
The biggest real impediment to losing fat is psychological. People want to keep on eating the things they like eating and yet shed the fat. This is a fantasy. A delusion.
Shedding the fat also means shedding the food that made you fat in the first place.
There is no greater disaster
2 April 1998
Last updated 07 November 2018