First off, I want to point out that when I talk about losing weight successfully, I’m not talking about half a stone in two weeks or the latest miracle diet. So if you’re looking for the quick fix, avert your eyes now. Instead, I’m talking ‘successful’ weight loss….in other words, the stuff you do slowly, but surely, where you create good new habits, but also where you keep it off and have no need to go on another diet next year, and the year after, and the year after, for ever and ever amen.
P.S. I’ve put these in the order that I think you should approach them.
P.P.S this is not one of my shorter blogs, but I hope you find it really helpful. However, you might want to find a quiet 10 minutes with a cup of tea to give it a proper read through!
TIP #1 – START WITH YOUR MIND AND THE BODY WILL FOLLOW
It’s all very well deciding that today is the day you’re going to change X, Y, Z in your diet and you’re going to start exercising 3 times a week, so that by the summer you look and feel amazing.
However, having worked with lots of women over the years, I have found it to be extremely rare that we, as humans, can make a basic decision like that and then carry it through successfully. Because usually, the very first work that needs to be done is actually on your mind. If you want to change something, you also need to change the way you think about it (particularly if you want an outcome that is different from what it may have been before). If you start this with the same approach you’ve always started new programmes, why is it that this time will be so different?
So, have a think about how you have gone about weight loss previously and think about what you may need to change in your thinking this time. Do you need to get more organised and start writing stuff down, do you need to tap into the emotions of what you are trying to do more deeply (just saying you want to lose 7lbs is a very dry and uninspiring target – get to know your emotional drivers and why this will have a positive impact on your life), do you need to move your thinking from quick loss, followed by quick gains towards a longer-term, more balance approach? Whatever it is, don’t ignore what’s going on in the head, because ultimately that can scupper the outcome.
TIP #2 – CREATE LIFESTYLE CHANGE
This kind of goes hand in hand with number one, because we often tend to consider exercise and nutrition in isolation to the rest of our lives. But how are we actually going to create the time we need to make this a success?
Because although we don’t need acres of time, we will definitely need to find a bit of time to plan our food and do our exercise, so that needs to be considered in the context of our lifestyle.
I often find that people want to make changes, but when it comes down to it they aren’t willing to put exercise and nutrition any higher up on their priority lists, which is going to make change a real struggle. So have a think about how willing you are to make changes in other areas to get the outcome you want.
You should also strongly consider things like sleep and stress. If you’re not sleeping enough and live your life with a constant level of stress it’s always going to work against you and make weight loss that much harder.
TIP #3 – MOVE EVERY DAY
Yes, I strongly believe that using resistance (see further down) and doing high intensity interval training and the like will get you some fantastic results, but to begin with start with simply moving more every day. Whether that’s finding half an hour to walk, 20 minutes to stretch or 10 minutes to do a few press ups and squats, don’t underestimate the power of the basics. All is not lost because you didn’t crank out a few high intensity sessions on any given week – there is huge value in all of the other little extras you can start to add into your day too.
TIP #4 – CHANGE THE WAY YOU TALK TO YOURSELF
Be honest, deep down, how many of you are actually thinking that you can’t really lose weight successfully or regularly tell yourself there are certain things that you just can’t do?
If your answer is no, then I don’t believe you! Because we all have the doubters lurking in our heads. The part of us that tells us we’re just not worthy, we’re just not good enough, which is going to do nothing for our confidence and therefore very little for our goals for our bodies.
Now, I don’t live in some kind of utopian fantasy where I believe we can switch off this part of our brains – it will always be there, but we do need to start working on making the positive bit that believes in us and likes us a little bit louder.
So, be mindful of how you speak to yourself. Don’t hone in on the stuff you don’t like when you look in the mirror, concentrate on the bits you do like and tell yourself nice things. You won’t get rid of Mrs Negative, but you can definitely quieten her down a bit!
TIP #5 – START WITH THE NUTRITION BASICS
When it comes to nutrition, don’t be led to believe that there is any particular rocket science or secret solution. Good nutrition is about the basics, its about putting in good quality food most of the time (because there should also be room for the other stuff sometimes too!) If you’re on a diet and you don’t think that you can sustain it forever, yes FOREVER, then you may want to rethink things, because long-term success is about creating a way of eating that you can maintain from one day to the next (barring the odd 10-day all inclusive holiday that is!) And the key things I normally work on with many of my clients are getting sufficient protein and sufficient water. Protein is the gold standard – it will fill you up, it will feed your muscles, it will help you to lose weight and also support any exercise you are doing. If you can go organic, even better. Eat it at every meal! As for water, well, many of us just don’t drink enough. Which weirdly, can lead to water retention and bloating. Plus often when you are thirsty your body can actually send you hunger signals instead, so rather than reaching for a glass of water, we reach for the closest sugary cereal bar instead.
On top of that load your plate up with plenty of veggies, as well as things like wholegrain, nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, lentils and pulses. You’ll be getting a fantastic range of nutrients and fibre and your energy levels will soar!
TIP #6 – FORGET WILLPOWER, THINK HABIT
As far as I can see, willpower is destructive. As humans we are not blessed with oodles of the stuff, yet we often think willpower is the thing that will get us through. If we just grit our teeth we’ll push ourselves through a workout and manage a few sugar free days.
But when we fail, all we do is beat ourselves for our lack of willpower and start the whole cycle again on the following Monday. So, get out your dictionary, look up willpower and just scribble it out. Instead, think ‘habit’.
With willpower it’s all about making lots of tough changes all at once then getting your head down, with habit it’s about making smaller, more manageable changes a couple at a time. You’d be surprised once you get going how quickly those new habits start to embed themselves. One step at a time…one step at a time!
TIP #7 – TRAIN WITH RESISTANCE
It still surprises me that even in 2017, for many people, cardio is still queen. When we think weight loss, we think calorie burn, we think hours spent sweating and pounding the streets. The longer we can spend punishing ourselves with cardio the more weight we’ll lose, right? But what if I told you there was a quicker, more effective and infinitely more efficient way to lose weight? I’m not saying cardio is out – there are too many brilliant health benefits. However, when it comes to changing your body, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself is train with resistance. You need to build muscle (I’m not talking bulking up like Arnie here) because muscle will result in a more toned appearance. Plus, and this is the amazing bit, the more muscle you have the more calories your body will burn every minute of the day (even while you’re sleeping). Using resistance means you can spend less time working out for better results.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that pretty much all of the toned, honed instagram stars out there aren’t running 5 times a week – they’re in the gym, lifting weights or doing high intensity interval training. Try it, you might surprise yourself!
TIP #8 – TAKE SMALL STEPS
Rome wasn’t build in a day. And neither were bikini bodies. Stop expecting miracles, stop expecting ‘this diet’ to work better than the last diet, stop chasing the latest weight loss tricks. Stick with the simple stuff. You aren’t going to wake up on Monday and suddenly be a person that eats no sugar, no carbs and no dairy and exercises 5 times a week. It just isn’t going to happen (unless you sell your kids, which should never be totally ruled out). So get realistic and think about one little thing that you can do each day which will get you towards your goal – write down a daily intention and then focus only on that before moving onto the next. But also be kind to yourself. We are all human, not a single one of us is perfect. So if you slip up (because you will) just know that we’ve all done it – learn from it and move on, don’t dwell.
Phew, that was an essay and a half! It turns out I had quite a lot to say on this particular subject. I hope you feel you’ve made a worthwhile investment by sticking with this blog to the very end. But if you have any questions at all about weight loss, setting habits or what kind of exercise you should be doing, all you have to do is reply to this email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
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