In these days of increased national obesity and high pressure to constantly examine one’s body image, many of us are consciously trying to lose weight. Most of us know the basics here; exercise regularly and stick to a healthier diet. So why do so many of us fail to reach our weight loss goals?
Having healthily lost over 3 stone myself, I decided to share my top tips for anyone out there embarking on the journey.
- Buddy up. The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, it is far easier to hold yourself accountable for your own success or failure when you are sharing each moment with someone else. You stop hiding your slip-ups, and you can easily share your successes with someone who is interested. Secondly, you are going to find a lot of resistance to your weight loss goals from some people in your life. They probably do not mean to be disruptive, but by God they are! From colleagues constantly offering you snacks to family members expressing their concern over your new lifestyle; people will get involved. Usually, this is about their own insecurities. They might be feeling guilty that they aren’t treating their bodies as well as you are, or they might even be mourning the ‘you’ they used to know. It can be hard for people to deal with these changes. You need to remain strong. And this is much easier if you have a confidante to offload to! If you can’t find someone to lose the weight at the same time as you, find a friend who is already healthy and happy with their body. Generally, these people will be extremely supportive.
- Find an exercise you can enjoy. This is so simple, and yet nobody ever talks about it! Do not force yourself to pick a random form of exercise, or the one you feel you ‘should’ be doing. Take your time feeling out the options. There are so many and they are all so different. Take some classes, go jogging, try some exercise programmes on your games console or an app on your smartphone. Find at least one form of exercise that you don’t hate or you can never expect to stay motivated. For me, it was Zumba that made the difference (and the occasional showtune-fuelled freestyle dance around my living room when nobody was looking!).
- Be honest with yourself. This is crucial. People who overeat often lie to themselves about just how much they are eating and the reasons for it. It is all too easy to tell ourselves that we are only eating because we are stressed, anxious or it was for a special occasion. Don’t fall into this trap. Give yourself the simple, achievable goal of being honest with yourself. You don’t even have to commit to making different choices. Just commit to being truthful. Once you can do this, your decision making will change naturally.
- Find other ways to reward yourself. For many, the appeal of food is a sort of ‘treating yourself’. It might be a reward for an achievement or a stress reliever at the end of a difficult day. You can’t expect yourself to just withdraw these comforts with no replacement. So brainstorm ways to treat yourself that don’t involve food or drink. You may be surprised by how little you know about how to reward and comfort yourself effectively.
The overall lesson of my weight loss experience was that it requires a great deal of emotional development for success to be possible. So if you’re serious about losing weight, give yourself the emotional nourishment you need.