Thought Catalog
May 15, 2017

4 Majorly Overlooked Keys To A Successful And Long-Term Weight Loss

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Marion Michele

Have you ever felt like losing weight should be easier than all of the counting, measuring, weighing, and calculating you’ve been doing?

Take a second to imagine this: Let’s say you have a pile of puzzle pieces on a table in front of you, and your mission is to fit those puzzle pieces, together.

You have two options to figure out how to put the pieces together:

The first, is to learn chemistry. By learning about how atoms and electrons fit together, you can put each individual puzzle piece under a microscope and see how to fit each edge together based on science.

The second option, is to look at the picture on the outside of the puzzle box. Using your intuition, you can pick up each piece and eyeball where you think each piece should go, and put the puzzle together.

Both methods work. But which do you think would be easiest for you to do? Taking a look at the picture on the outside of the box, right?

We spend so much time trying to figure out our diets based on protein, carbs, calories, vitamins, minerals, and a whole host of nutrients that are intangible. We can’t see or feel the chemical makeup of foods, which makes this method really hard to accomplish without consulting Google before every meal to calculate your nutrient ratio.

Does it work? Sure. But it can also drive you crazy if you’re not paying attention all of the time and avoiding a social life.

We’ve been overlooking major clues around us that help us make the best choices for our bodies. The “puzzle picture” that gives us more intuitive clues on what to do for our health.

Here are 4 major clues to weight loss that are overlooked:

1. Nature

One of the most important things we can do for our bodies is acclimate to our climate, and local, seasonal produce can help our bodies do this.

In summertime, our bodies need help cooling off, and we’re supplied with very hydrating, light vegetables. But in the wintertime, we need the opposite: we need help with keeping our bodies warm, and this can be accomplished by eating local foods available during those times, like hearty root vegetables.

One reason why it doesn’t make sense to have a strict meal plan for the entire year is because we constantly need to be changing up our produce based on what is available us and easiest on our bodies during that time.

When you’re thinking too much about nutritional density, it’s easy to overlook the fact that we eat imported foods from all over the world, many of which can’t even physically grow in our own climates. If the food can’t grow where you are, you have to wonder if it’s the right kind of nutrition you need, regardless of nutritional density.

2. Circadian Rhythms

Another big clue we’re presented with is when to get our rest, based on the sun cycles. During the day, a chemical called serotonin keeps us awake and happy, and when there’s no sunlight at night, we have melatonin to keep us asleep for long periods of time.

And one of the coolest things about serotonin is that it is the chemical that controls your appetite. It tells you when you’re full. So if you have an imbalance in serotonin and melatonin, it’s really hard to gauge how much food your body really needs, without having to succumb to portion control.

Simply getting good sleep can help you become more intuitive with how much food your body needs, because you’re balancing your body chemistry.

3. Physical Discomforts

When people are trying to lose weight, they treat weight as a fat issue. But it’s almost always a symptom of another issue.

If you have constipation, sleep issues, pain, bloating, or any kind of physical discomfort, chances are that fixing that discomfort is also going to help you with weight loss.

Everything is interconnected, so only focusing on calories and exercise excludes the need to fix other discomforts that could actually make it easier for you to lose weight.

4. Personal Tastes

The only way you will have success with long term weight loss is if you select foods you enjoy eating. If you hate broccoli, but you’ve been eating broccoli because you heard it’s healthy, then it’s time to find another vegetable that you enjoy.

No one said you have to eat foods you don’t like for the sake of weight loss. And often time, our bodies give us clues to what will or won’t work for us, so chances are high that the food you dislike is also something that doesn’t work for your body.

Instead of trying to analyze our foods with diet science, it’s helpful to take a step back and ask ourselves what makes the most sense based on these clues around us.

Once you’ve incorporated seasonal vegetables, aligned your body chemistry with better sleep patterns, fixed physical ailments, and started choosing foods you actually like, the chances of you needing to lose weight beyond that are going to be minimal. TC mark