1 in 4 people in the UK are trying to lose weight at any one time. In fact, through the western world the percentage of people trying to lose weight is constantly increasing year-on-year. Most people who initially lose weight put most of it back on again within a short period of time.
Do you fall into this category?
Would you like to know why this happens and what you can do to help yourself?
I am no different to many other people. When I was at school I was involved in lots of sports activities and I never had an issue with my weight. Once I reached the age of 18 and started to go out with my friends and I stopped exercising as much, my body did not like it and that was the start of my weight battle.
I am now 53 years of age and I still have those battles with food even though I know better. I exercise daily and I eat well but often find myself in a situation where I have added a few extra pounds to my waistline and then need to get myself back on track.
Why is this?
I want to provide you with the understanding of how you can better conquer your eating habits so that you can be a lot more successful with this constant diet wheel we seem to find ourselves.
Hands up if you always feel super motivated when you initially start on your journey to lose weight?
This is how it usually starts for most of us.
Monday morning and you have decided that this is the day you will start. Feeling excited and in control you jump on the scales as you have now built up the confidence to face the inevitable. Weight has increased but it is nothing that you did not know about however, it is now in black and white. Still, in that mood where you can conquer the world you write down your measurements and set to begin your diet feeling so enthusiastic and determined to fit into “that little black dress” in time for Christmas.
Week 1 goes bye and you are still excited especially because you have just got on the scales again and the pounds have come off. Full of excitement you know that you have got this.
Week 2 and things are getting a little more difficult especially because mid-week you met up with friends and had to watch what you eat. Your friends were supportive and encouraging whilst you sat and ate your salad. However, you are super proud of yourself and when you weigh again you continue to lose weight.
As you get to week 4 motivation starts to fade and you have missed a couple of exercise sessions as you are feeling too tired. Your cravings have kicked in a couple of times and you are now annoyed at yourself for giving in and the scales have not moved.
If you are still motivated enough Month 2 will be like a re start to the program you have embarked on and the enthusiasm will still be there providing you have seen good results.
However, by month 3 is usually where most people give in to the tune of 78% of people who start their journey.
Then the cycle starts all over again once you have put on the weight greater than you initially started with.
Does this sound familiar?
Motivation is the key to success and most people do not truly have that motivation.
One of my clients who is not particularly overweight but would feel more comfortable losing a few inches asked me about what she could do to help lose her weight as she was a very keen exerciser. However, knowing her lifestyle I asked her if she is prepared to give up her wine and going out with friends? Is this worth losing the extra 3 inches for you?
My point here is that most of us want to lose weight, but we are not prepared to work for it.
The problem with our perpetual weight loss wheel is because we always take drastic measures that we find difficult to sustain.
So how do we change?
If you do not want to be in that 78% statistic where you are constantly failing to diet and constantly embarking on another challenge, then you must change 1 constant into your life.
Simply put “You have to change – To Change”
What does this mean?
To lose weight successfully you first need to have a strong goal which is why most people who are doing it for improved health are more successful.
These include people suffering with underlying health issues such as
All of which can be helped through a better diet and lifestyle change.
Those people who want to lose weight for pure “looks” generally tend to have the least success.
Why is this?
People who only see “looks” as their main steer are rarely motivated enough to truly make a difference to their lives whereas people who understand the impact on their health can actually save the life and stop early death.
To be a success with weight loss without a big enough motivator means that you must help yourself through the lifestyle change that you already have.
I generally find those people who are more conscious of the health gains make small changes and have greater long-term success.
How To Succeed?
What you need to do is make greater long-term changes to succeed. I always tell my clients to think about a 1-Year Goal and then write down all the reasons they need to lose that weight.
Lose 2 Stone in weight
Look good and feel better about myself
Give me the confidence to run 10 kilometers for Cancer Research
Enable me to live to see my children get married and have children
Stop feeling bloated and uncomfortable in my clothes
Stop craving sugar all the time
I want to look 10 years younger
It is important that you find the real reason as to why you want to lose weight so that you can understand the long-term dilemma and change your lifestyle accordingly.
It is then much easier to put a plan in place to achieve your goal once you are realistic about the bigger picture.
There is NO quick fix
To be successful you need to implement the following changes
Stay away from processed food is the best start. Processed food is full of chemicals, salt and sugar that is put into food by the manufacturer.
I always state “if you need to read the label it is unhealthy”. Stick to fresh foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit.
Most people do not drink enough water and our brains confuse thirst with hunger. Sip water throughout the day with a minimum of 2 litres.
You cannot exercise a bad diet, but it will help you feel good and improve your metabolism.
150 minutes of exercise is required weekly to keep our hearts active together with 2 strength training sessions per week.
I always add a stretch session in to keep our bodies mobile and supple.
6 – 8 hours is important to maintain a good balance of health. It also helps us to cope with our daily stresses and weight loss.
Whilst the above is simplistic most people will see success and find it is easier to maintain regularly.
There are of course more that you can do which you can see from some of my other articles under exercise and nutrition.
Cutting out large amounts of calories will be difficult for you to maintain. However, if you change what you eat your body will benefit from good nutrients which in general will keep you feeling full for longer.
I have always recommended eating well as opposed to cutting calories. This way you will lose your cravings and you can still go out and eat with friends without sitting in front of a lettuce!
Most dieters fail because they cannot maintain the lack of food, so your body does not adjust to its new way of eating which takes approximately 12 weeks before you stop having cravings or feeling hungry.
In my late 30’s I was so fed up with feeling bloated all the time and I suffered terribly with rosacea. I decide after my nutrition training that I needed to cut our bread, pasta and dairy. All things that I loved. What I did was just exchange the food I was eating.
I increased my water intake, increased on my vegetables. I started to snack on nuts instead of sweets. I stopped drinking alcohol during the week and mostly kept to wine at weekends when I went out with friends. I have always exercised so I continued to do the same thing but mixed my sessions with more High Intensity Interval Training (HiiT).
After 12 weeks this became my new way of life and I have maintained ever since as I now eat a Paleo based diet which has stopped my bloating and rosacea.
The point I am trying to make is that you want a way of eating that is going to fit in with your lifestyle otherwise you will not stick to eat and you will find it really hard.
Please do not get me wrong as every now and again especially if I go out for a celebration etc I might indulge in the odd cake or piece of chocolate but the difference now is that I can control my eating and I get back to my normal way of life the following day.
I do not feel that I miss out and in fact feel worse when I do indulge in the “bad stuff”
This is the key component to keeping the weight off for a long period of time. If you can create longer term habits with your association with food, then you will feel better and not have to keep battling with yourself.
Most of us are not honest about what we want to achieve, or we are too busy beating ourselves up when things go wrong.
If you have a bad day just let it go it is going to happen. Just start again the following day.
I also have Yoga as part of my exercise regime as not only is it good for my movement mobility but is also great for my mind. I also meditate every evening before I go to bed and it helps me to deal with daily difficulties and is great to cope with stress.
There are so many techniques that you can use to strengthen your mind which you will find useful not just for weight loss but for lots more such as
Looking after you mind is the key to living a healthier life and there is so much you can do to help this.
Plus, much more
The important thing with any of this is that it must be something that you can fit in to your daily routine and must be enjoyable for you.
Small Steps Big Changes
Success will be achieved by making small changes in your routine.
As an example, you do not have to exercise for hours every day but adding in 10 minutes of HiiT or Yoga can make a big difference.
Go outdoors and find something that can help you to move with nature. Walking, running, cycling, gardening are but a few things that you can do.
Find time to just breathe deep every day to allow your mind to re set and calm you down to better prepare itself for daily anxiousness.
The reason I meditate at night is that it sets me up for a peaceful sleep and not only do I sleep long but deeper too. I wake up feeling refreshed without adding too much inconvenience into my life. However, I can cope better at the times I face overwhelm or feel that my coping mechanisms are low.
If all you do is add those small changes it will make a big difference and will be easier to maintain for longer.
I hope that I have been able to give you an understanding into how you can have greater success with your weight loss journey.
In essence, it is important to change your lifestyle but the only way you can do that is if you make longer term small changes to give greater success.
Ensure that you write down your goals and the that you supplement with why? Without the motivation you will fail at the first hurdle. Remember 12 weeks creates a lifestyle change and allows your body to better adapt.
Once you have done this you can then set about how you are going achieve your goal through small changes.
When you get used to these changes you can keep adding slight additions and increased results.
Activity is key and celebrating success is important.
Weight loss is always as marathon rather than a sprint.
If you need any further help or advice, then please feel free to comment below.