If you’ve ever tried to lose weight – for whatever reason – you’ve probably found that one bit of dietary or fitness advice does not fit all! Whether you’re trying to drop a little extra weight, or just trying to keep in shape, here are 6 top pieces of advice I always share with my clients to help their weight loss journey be more harmonious and successful.
1. Stop trying to emulate others
Find out what works for your body and what does not.
Do not make the mistake that many people make when they try to copy their idol. These idols may make random comments such as “spirulina changed my life.” The result being a massive increase in spirulina sales. Yet, spirulina may not suit everyone. I know when I tried spirulina, after 4 days I was so constipated I felt like I had swallowed a brick. Having sufficient iron levels already, adding spirulina to my daily routine did not suit my constitution at all.
The same for a 7 day juice only plan. All it gave me was a headache and rebound weight gain.
You will know when a food or diet program suits you when you gain energy and vitality as opposed deprivation and irritability.
2. You have the tools you need at hand
Don’t have any money? Going for a run is free.
Not sporty? Take up walking, even if it means walking 10 minutes a day.
Step outside your front door and get started.
Need weights for your arms? Carry a 500ml water bottle in each hand.
Once you have made a start, no matter what level, you can raise the level of exercise from one week to the next.
3. There will be pain
I am not going to sugar coat this point.
Of course there will be pain, or else you would have made changes to your lifestyle long ago.
I liken myself to a fat person living in a thin body. Yes, you heard me correctly. Just like a reformed alcoholic who is only a drink away from falling off the wagon, if I find myself wandering from my usual eating habits (for example start eating processed foods on a regular basis) I will fall off the wagon and be on the slippery slope to obesity once again.
When I first stopped eating the processed foods that I mistakenly thought was okay to eat, such as brown pasta and breads, I felt miserable. I would crave these foods. But instinctively I knew that I had to work through the initial pain.
Having cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pasta for dinner was a carb overload that did not suit my body at all. Where was the fruit and vegetables in all this? When I first stopped eating the processed foods and introduced a diet comprising more fruit and vegetables, the withdrawals were so severe I had to send my husband and children away for a weekend away!
But after a couple of days, I woke up with such clarity and energy, I knew that I had overcome the worst days and the future was going to be okay. The pain was gone and was replaced with enthusiasm and strength to move on.
4. Find out what you enjoy doing and modify what you do not
If your aim is to lose weight or to improve your exercise endurance but do not like the thought of joining a gym, then find something that you do enjoy. There may be a walking club in your area, or explore other possibilities such as line dancing, pole dancing (keep an open mind here!), or water aerobics.
Even if you have a regular exercise regime, it is always important to break your routine to give your body a change of scenery. Do you take the same walk to the bus stop every morning, or evening while out walking the dog? Try and vary your route and you will be amazed at what you discover. Maybe you may find the new street has less traffic or better access. You will see something new and pay attention to it. This is the way your body reacts to a new exercise regime. Different muscles may be activated thus reigniting your body.
5. Stay positive
There will be bad days as well as the good.
When I decided that it was time to lose weight and no longer be trapped in the obese body I was encased in, the journey was not all smooth sailing. There were times I would look at my husband with envy and anger. He is one of those rare people who actually has trouble gaining weight. He does not have to watch what he eats and has never had to worry about his weight.
Being angry with him served me no purpose. It was only making me miserable so I decided to concentrate on my own journey. When the weight started to go down, and clothes shopping became easier (buying off the rack has its benefits) the journey was that much sweeter because I had earned it.
6. Develop a plan by visualizing your goal
There are 3 steps that you must take if you want to achieve your goal and these are vision, goal, action.
Vision is self explanatory. You want to visualize yourself as being slimmer than you are now. You can do it. You must create a vision not about what you can do but about what you want to be able to do.
Goal: whether it is an upcoming wedding or your own birthday party, having a goal to work towards is a great tool to work towards. In my instance, my goals kept changing as I lost the weight, At first I thought it would be great to look good for an upcoming family reunion. I aimed to lose 5kg for that event that was one month away. Once I started losing the weight, I then knew that I could achieve even more weight loss. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would lose the weight that I did (25kg), but breaking it down into achievable goals allowed to me achieve what I originally thought was impossible. (On a side note here, before I decide I had to lose weight when I was obese and in my late 40’s I had resigned myself to being obese for the rest of my life. If I had not changed this mindset and made the changes that I made, I know that I would not be the same person I am today, both inside and out and so glad that I made the decision to do something about my ever expanding waistline all those years ago.)
Action: vision without action will get you nowhere fast! This is where the hard work begins. The first step is the hardest, but once you have made the first step the journey becomes easier, albeit with a few bumps along the way to keep you on top of your toes. This is where you have to find a program that suits your style and way of life.