You decide you want to lose weight naturally and keep it off but how? You may watch a YouTube video, read quick advice on the internet or buy a book on diet – High Protein, Mediterranean, South Beach, etc….. You lose a few pounds initially, feel thrilled about your achievement and may even post your success story on social media but soon, you gain it back and that makes you sad. You don’t want to tell anyone about your failure. You simply keep your sadness inside, which often leads to “emotional eating behavior.” You may end up gaining even more weight than where you started out. One day you decide to go through the emotions of fighting off your weight again…
The Key to Successful Weight Loss – The Mindset
Over the years, I have counseled thousands of patients about their obesity. I have learned what works and what doesn’t – which I am going to share with you. The most critical point is this – your mindset. If you make an emotional decision to lose weight – for your looks, for your spouse, for an upcoming wedding event – you will continue to be on the roller-coastal ride of weight loss and weight gain. However, if you keep your emotions aside and make a logical decision to lose weight, it might work.
So, first of all let’s talk about some basic facts about obesity – not to scare you – but to make you aware what obesity really is.
Harmful Effects of Obesity:
Obesity is the mother of all – almost all – diseases. Prediabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer, fatty liver (and cirrhosis due to it), hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, low back pain, and polycystic ovarian syndrome ……..
Abdominal Obesity Versus Generalized Obesity
Abdominal obesity is the worst form of obesity. It is also called Visceral obesity. In this type of obesity, fat accumulates inside your abdomen, around various organs – viscera. Hence the term visceral obesity. It is this type of obesity that predisposes you to Prediabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer, fatty liver (and cirrhosis due to it), hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, low back pain, and polycystic ovarian syndrome ……..
Best Way to Measure Your Obesity – Weight Gain
From a medical standpoint, the best way to measure your obesity – weight gain is by measuring your waistline – waist circumference at the level of your navel – Because it measures your abdominal obesity, as compared to weight or even BMI (Body Mass Index) which measures your generalized obesity – weight gain.
You are OverWeight if your Waistline is 35 – 40 inches ( 34 – 38 inches for Asians)
You are Obese if your Waistline is more than 40 inches ( more than 38 inches for Asians)
Motivation To Lose Weight
The motivation to lose weight is in your own head. Only you can do it. Once you have put your mind to lose weight, you can do it.
The best motivation to lose weight is for your own health. I have seen it to work for my patients.
What To Eat to Lose Weight
- Eat smaller amounts of food.
- Eat meats – chicken, turkey, beef, fish. Meats should be broiled, baked or steamed.
- Eat vegetables of the season, preferably from your farmers’ market. Vegetables should be broiled, baked or steamed.
- Eat one fruit serving in a day. Use fruit of the season, preferably from your farmers’ market.
- Eat salads. Use very little dressing.
- Eat very little Carbohydrates – bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Drink Caffeinated beverages – tea, coffee – before your meal. This helps to curb your appetite.
- Add hot spices – red pepper, black pepper, garlic, onions, mustard, ginger – if you like them. These hot spices boost up your metabolism – and also help to prevent constipation, which is a common problem once you are on small amounts of food.
- Take a daily multivitamin, Vitamin D with K2, Zinc plus Copper to prevent vitamins-minerals deficiencies. Take Magnesium citrate for constipation.
What Not To Eat to Lose Weight
- No sugar
- No desserts.
- No bakery products.
- No fast food.
- No junk food.
- No snacks.
- No alcohol.
- No Fats – cheese, cream, oils, ghee, margarine ….
- No ice-cream, frozen yogurt…..
- No nuts.
Get to the Root Cause in Order to Lose Weight Naturally – and Keep It Off
Your mindset is the most critical factor for whether you will stay on your dietary regimen or not. Let’s take a closer look at your mind. The root cause of excessive weight gain is excessive eating, which comes from your own eating habits, which you learn from society as you grow up in it. In this way, your eating habits are part of your conditioned mind, which I call the Acquired Self, as you are not born with this, but acquire it as you grow up in a society. At birth, you have what I call the True Self, which is content as soon as your stomach is full. It eats for physiological reasons, not for psychological and social reasons. In contrast, your Acquired Self mostly eats for psychological and social reasons.
As you grow up in a society, you learn to eat not only when you are hungry, but also to have fun. All social occasions, including birthdays, weddings and religious, cultural and national holidays are centered around food. That’s how you acquire the concept of “food means fun.” You can’t imagine celebrating a certain holiday without the special food items that go with that holiday, no matter how harmful it may be for your health.
You also learn that food equals reward. You learn the concept that you are blessed if you have plenty of food. Remember your parents telling you “how lucky you are to have such good food while there are so many hungry children in Africa.” In schools, you are often promised candy or some other favorite food if you achieve certain points and grades.
Now what is opposite of reward? Punishment, right? So when you discipline yourself not to eat your favorite food, it’s as if you are punishing yourself. Therefore, over the weekend, you have the urge to reward yourself with plenty of your favorite foods, no matter how unhealthy it may be. That’s how you get stuck in the cycle of punishment and reward.
Often people eat to stuff their stress down. For example, all day, you work hard, dealing with stressful situations. Finally, you are at home, tired and exhausted from all the craziness that went on at work. You are ready to unwind, relax and enjoy. So what do you do? You go for the food items that you love! “Come on, you deserve to have this good time after all the bad time you had at work,” says your inner voice. This voice is so powerful that you completely ignore what your doctor told you or what you promised yourself last time you weighed yourself.
People often stuff down their frustrations, sadness, loneliness, boredom and guilt with food. Later, they feel even guiltier for breaking their diet. And the vicious cycle goes on.
Society also teaches you to express your love, friendship and gratefulness through food. These are all concepts, but you start to believe in them as absolutely important things.
Perhaps now you understand why we mostly eat for psychological and social reasons and not for physiological reasons. That’s why we often eat when we are not even hungry, and we continue to eat even when we are no longer hungry.
All of these concept – based eating habits are part of your Acquired Self. As long as you identify with your Acquired Self, you obviously can’t get rid of these habits and concepts. For example, how can you ever celebrate a birthday without a cake? As long as you are attached to the concept of birthday, you are going to have a cake, even if you are diabetic or obese.
Use Logic to Lose Weight Naturally – And Keep It Off
In the grip of the Acquired Self, you will continue to struggle with your weight because the Acquired Self is the root cause of your overeating. You cannot be completely free of your overeating behavior as long as you are in the grip of your Acquired Self. For a while, you may force yourself not to indulge, but sooner or later, you will fail.
Even during your dieting period, you will feel pressured from your self imposed discipline and you will feel deprived. This makes you irritable and affects your behavior towards others. You overreact to simple things. You often don’t realize the true cause of your snappy behavior. You always blame it on others, instead of your self created prison of discipline.
Use common sense and realize that the root cause of your overeating problem lies inside you: your Acquired Self. Be free of your Acquired Self, and you will be free of your eating habits.
It is simple conditioning by our parents that makes us Italian, German, English, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu etc; all of which are concepts, right? These concepts become part of our Acquired Self. Then we start to believe in them as if they were the truth. That’s how we get attached to foods – often unhealthy foods – due to our culture and religion.
To the Acquired Self, every concept is important because concepts are an important part of it. In reality, concepts are simply concepts and should be treated just like that. For example, once you realize that being an Italian is a concept, you are able to get rid of your lifelong attachment to pizza.
The realization that concepts are just concepts will free you from their strong hold on you. Then you realize that:
- You are neither Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Armenian, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish etc. You are a human being and that’s all!
- All of the so called “special days” are in fact concepts. In reality, there is no such thing as birthdays, anniversaries, national holidays, religious holidays, etc. Even the Calendar is a concept created by the human mind.
- All emotional pain you carry comes from your past or imagined future, both of which are virtual, created by your mind. Certain events have happened, but in reality are not happening any longer, except in your head. It is your mind who keeps them alive in the form of bundles of thoughts and emotions, it calls, “My past.” In the same way, what the mind calls “My future” also consists of bundles of thoughts and emotions, no more. See the true nature of the phantom of “My past and My future.” With this logical insight, all of your emotional pains will simply melt away. Then obviously there is no need to stuff your emotions down with food.
- You judge yourself and everyone else through the filters of “morality, values, traditions, etc” downloaded into your Acquired Self. You were not born with these. Judging yourself and others creates a huge amount of emotional stress. That’s why you have such a hard time at work and even at home. Seeing the true nature of morality, ethics, values and traditions will free you from the stress that arises out of judging.
- The book of “morality, values and traditions” describes everyone’s role. Naturally, it gives rise to expectations which is the basis of frustrations, annoyances and anger, causing a hard time at work and at home.
- Goals, achievements, material possessions, status, success and failure are all conceptual and in fact are the foundations for greed, ego, frustrations, jealousy, emptiness, loneliness, sadness, unworthiness and bitterness. These emotions are the results of concepts created by the collective human mind and downloaded into your Acquired Self. Entertainment, excessive working, partying and vacationing are simply escapes, and so is excessive eating. Look at the root cause of your emotional problems, the Acquired Self in you and stop running to escapes.
- “Postponing” is another subtle, but very treacherous trait of the Acquired Self. By telling you to postpone, it keeps itself alive under the radar. However, there is no tomorrow. There is not even the next moment, but only this one! However, the Acquired Self fools you by creating tomorrow. You find yourself saying, “Oh, I understand I have a problem of being overweight, but I will take care of it (tomorrow).” In reality, there is no “tomorrow.” Yes, you (or actually your Acquired Self) have a problem. Take care of it right Now by freeing yourself from the Acquired Self. Even the phrase “will take care of” has postponement hidden in it.
- Eat only to satisfy your hunger. “Food as Fun” is a concept deeply drilled into your Acquired Self by the Collective Acquired Self of society. Even “Fun” is a concept, an escape given to you by the Collective Acquired Self of society. Instead, feel immense joy that runs through your body all the time. You simply have to pay attention to it.
Use Awareness to Lose Weight Naturally – and Keep It Off
Use your awareness and see your Acquired Self in its true colors. It is the enemy within that sabotages your endeavors to lose weight. With this logical insight, you will be free of your Acquired Self. However, before you know it, it hijacks your attention again, and you will find yourself trapped in your old eating habits.
Paying attention is crucial. Be aware of the tempting thoughts or old eating patterns.
Here are some practical suggestions:
Be aware of your temptations to certain food items that have become part of your Acquired Self such as ice-cream, chocolate, cake, candy, bread, pasta, pizza, rice……
Be aware when you are in the grocery store. Don’t buy food items you should not be eating.
Be aware of your food. Taste every bite of it. In order to be aware, you have to be quiet. That’s why you should try not to talk much during your meals. It is very difficult to pay full attention to your food and have a conversation at the same time. For the same reason, Do Not watch TV, read newspapers, magazines or surf the internet while you are eating.
Be at ease and take your time. Don’t be rushed while eating your meal.
Plan ahead for your next meal. Don’t get trapped in the usual mind set of “Oh, it’s too late to cook anything. Let’s order pizza/fast food or find something to heat up in the microwave.”
Try to prepare your meals. Pay full attention when you are cooking your meal.
In general, eat only three times a day. Physiologically speaking, grown ups don’t need any snacks. Over the age of 50, most people need only two meals a day.
Don’t panic if you feel hungry in between meals if you are otherwise healthy, you are not a medicine that can lower your blood sugar or you don’t suffer from some medical disease that can cause low blood sugar. Physiologically speaking, you melt away the stored fat in your body when you don’t eat at the time of being hungry.
Don’t make “losing weight” some kind of mission or goal. This is what the Acquired Self loves to do. When you set up goals of any kind, you are in the grip of your Acquired Self, which will ultimately create stress for you. Stress causes excess release of a stress hormone, cortisol, which causes more weight gain. How counterproductive your Acquired Self is!
Don’t become a victim of the concept of “Rewarding yourself over the weekends.” If you reward yourself with food, then restricting food becomes punishment for the mind. Sooner or later, your mind does not want to be punished any longer. That’s why most diets come to an end.
Don’t Forget Vitamins
Stress of daily living makes you gain weight through an overproduction of the stress hormone – cortisol. Therefore, get to the bottom of your stress and uproot it from there. The source of stress may seem to be an external factor, but in fact, it lies inside you. The external factors are simply the triggers. Who gets triggered is you. It is your conditioned mind – the Acquired Self – who gets triggered. It lies at the root of your stress. Please refer to my book, “ Stress Cure Now” to learn how to live stress free in this stressed out world.
In addition, take the dietary supplement, Stress Buster – a special blend of Ashwagandha and Holy Basil – two ancient Ayurvedic herbs. Both of these herbs have been shown in modern research to prevent excess production of cortisol. Therefore, these are also called adaptogens – herbs that help to mitigate the harmful effects of stress.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are very common even when you are overweight – these only get worse when you get on a weight-loss diet. So, pay attention to your Vitamin intake. Here is a brief outline of my vitamin recommendations: Take a daily multivitamin with high quality ingredients.
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in boosting our metabolism as well as repair of DNA, and health of the Heart and Nervous system.
Who is at risk for low Vitamin B12?
- Vegetarian/Vegan, because vegetables are devoid of Vitamin B12
- If you take certain Drugs: Metformin, Omeprazole, Cimetidine, Ranitidine, Antibiotics.
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as Stomach bariatric surgery, chronic pancreatitis, atrophic gastritis, small intestinal resection, gluten sensitivity, Crohn’s disease and malignancy.
Zinc plus Copper
Zinc and Copper are trace minerals that are involved in many enzymatic reactions inside the cell. Zinc deficiency is common among the general population but particularly in the following:
Who Is At Risk For Zinc Deficiency?
- Diabetics, due to increased urinary losses of Zinc in urine if diabetes is uncontrolled.
- Elderly, due to decreased intake as well as absorption of Zinc. In addition, the elderly are usually on a number of medications (listed below) that can interfere with Zinc absorption.
- Vegetarians, because plant foods are low in Zinc content to begin with. In addition, Phytates in grains bind Zinc and inhibit its absorption.
- Alcohol consumption, which reduces Zinc absorption from intestines and increases its excretion in the urine.
- Chronic malabsorption conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic diarrhea, intestinal surgery, stomach-bypass surgery. These conditions cause a decrease in the absorption of Zinc, as well as an increase in the loss of Zinc in stools and urine.
- Any chronic illness such as chronic liver disease, chronic kidney disease, malignancy, sickle cell disease, etc.
- Pregnant and breast-feeding women.
- Drugs that can lead to Zinc deficiency include: Thiazide diuretics, Antibiotics such as Cipro, Levaquin, tetracyclines, Iron supplements.
Health Benefits of Zinc Supplementation
- Help boost up energy and metabolism
- Prevention/treatment of excessive hair loss
- Prevention/treatment of brittle nails
- Fight off infections (such as common colds, pneumonia, infectious diarrhea)
- Wound healing
- Prevention/treatment of diabetes
- Prevention/treatment of AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration)
Vitamin D3 with K2
Vitamin D is extremely important to keep us healthy. Here is a summary of the health Benefits of Vitamin D:
We now know that:
- Vitamin D plays a vital role in the health of muscles and bones. It not only helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestines, but it also exerts a direct effect on the muscles and bones. Therefore, Vitamin D can prevent as well as treat muscle aches, bone pains, chronic fatigue and osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D plays a vital role in the normal functioning of the immune system. Therefore, Vitamin D can prevent as well as treat immune disorders such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, Crohn’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). By boosting the immune system, Vitamin D can prevent as well as treat common colds, flu and other infections.
- Vitamin D controls the growth of normal as well as cancerous cells. Hence, Vitamin D can play an important role in the prevention as well as treatment of various cancers especially cancer of the colon, prostate, pancreas and breast.
- Vitamin D stimulates the production of insulin from insulin – producing cells in the pancreas. It also reduces insulin resistance. Therefore, Vitamin D can help in the prevention as well as treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
- Vitamin D inhibits the Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System (RAAS). Renin is a chemical normally produced in the body. It leads to the production of another chemical, called Angiotensin which is responsible for maintaining your blood pressure. Angiotensin also causes release of another chemical called Aldosterone, which is also involved in maintaining your blood pressure. Together, this system of inter-related chemicals is called Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System (RAAS). If RAAS becomes overactive, it causes high blood pressure (hypertension), kidney disease and heart failure. Now consider this: Vitamin D inhibits RAAS, and therefore, it can prevent hypertension, kidney disease and heart failure.
- Vitamin D can prevent coronary heart disease through a number of mechanisms which include inhibition of RAAS, reduction in insulin resistance and reduction of inflammation in the blood vessel wall.
- Vitamin D affects the normal function of the skin and therefore, can be helpful in the treatment of skin disorders such as psoriasis.
- Vitamin D affects the health of the teeth and therefore, can play an important role in preventing many dental problems.
- Vitamin D affects one’s mood and therefore, can play an important role in the prevention and treatment of mood disorders such as depression.
- Vitamin D is important for the normal development and functioning of the brain. Therefore, Vitamin D may play a role in the prevention as well as treatment of neurologic disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Autism.
Vitamin D deficiency is so rampant. That’s why it is extremely important that you take Vitamin D supplementation on a daily basis. You can refer to my book, “Power Of Vitamin D” for more detailed information on this topic.
Vitamin D should be combined Vitamin K2 for the following reasons:
Both, Vitamin D3 and K2 work in concert to make your bones strong, prevent the risk of heart disease and cancer. At the same time, Vitamin K2 prevents the deposition of calcium in the soft tissues which may occur due to Vitamin D supplementation.
Exercise Is Crucial To Lose Weight Naturally and Keep It Off
Lack of exercise is one major factor for weight gain. Just observe yourself and see how often you just keep sitting in front of a screen for hours, even when it is not work-related.
You don’t have to embark on a rigorous exercise program – but if you do, that’s wonderful as long you don’t overdo it – You simply need to become more active. Just move around as much as you can – at work, at home, in the parking lot………. For example, park your car at at a distant place instead of circling around to find the nearest parking spot. People often get stressed out as well in their pursuit of finding the nearest possible parking place.
Regular exercise not only helps you lose weight and keep it off, it also strengthens your muscles and tendons, keeps your movement well- coordinated, and reduces your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Exercise also helps to reduce the effects of stress through the release of endorphins in your brain. So, keep moving!
A word of Caution: Too much exercise can be harmful. It can strain your muscles, tendons and ligaments- and may cause rupture of tendons. Excessive exercise also produces too much oxidative stress for the body. A gentle exercise such as yoga is great. It not only tones up your muscles but also helps you to relax. If done right, yoga can unite your body, mind and soul. Incorporate yoga into your everyday schedule. Do it yourself at home first thing in the morning. Then, stay physically active throughout the day – that’s all.