5 simple ways to winning weight loss
There’s a scene from Sex and the City (the first movie) in which the protagonist, Carrie says to her good friend Samantha (who’s put on some weight), "Look you’d be gorgeous whatever your weight, but what’s really going on?" This always reminds me of so many of the issues that surround weight management. What is really going on?
Our weight doesn’t define us, but if we’re not happy with it then it can cause us a lot of stress. Furthermore, if it’s contributing to or exacerbating health issues then it may be defining how we’re living (or not living).
From years of working for a weight management project, I saw the sadness of struggle and see-sawing that people had often experienced in trying to lose weight. But the good news is that this isn’t the only story. Sometimes all it takes is to consider things from a different perspective. These tips are some of those that I saw people use to achieve a happy sustained weight loss.
1. Go for the long haul
Although there’s the adage that ‘a minute on the lips equals a lifetime on the hips’, that’s not altogether true. It does in fact take time for additional calories to result in excess weight, but once a habit is formed, it can be hard to get out of it.
The truth is that 14 extra pounds (a stone) could be gained over some time and it will in equal measure take time for that loss to occur. The body needs time to adjust and so does the person going through the change. The advice which never seems to change is that in order to achieve sustained weight loss, make it slow and steady aiming for a 1lb to 2lb week.
2. Have a healthy eating plan
We’ve all heard that diets don’t work. Why? Namely, because they’re often built around a theme (points, colours, deprivation or pain) which is complicated and simply isn’t sustainable.
The word ‘diet’ simply refers to an eating plan. This is something which you already have. The key is to update and make changes to your current plan so that it works for you. That may mean adding more of something in (for example a third more vegetables) or taking certain things out (like the heavy calorie-laden weekend treats). But it’s doable. Think of having a healthy eating plan that you enjoy and which feeds and nourishes your body.
3. Have it make real sense
This takes us on to our next point. Complicated eating plans which take up copious amounts of time are going to be difficult to adhere to. Instead, consider what makes sense. What can you really change and improve?
A really good thing to do is, with the long haul in mind, go for making one or two simple changes every week. That’s 52 or 104 changes that could be achieved over a year. Of course, sometimes you’ll be embedding the same change, but it will still amount to a lot of positive changes.
These can be as simple as increasing your water intake each week until your comfortably up to having six glasses of water a day or trying a different breakfast option for three, four or five weeks. It may be using an app for a month or two to monitor how you’re doing until you feel comfortable to go it alone. Or it may be asking a friend or a specialised weight management group for support.
4. Put yourself first
One of the things that can trip us up in achieving our goals is not prioritising how important the goal is to us and how important we are.
If you have many other commitments, now is the time to sit down and really figure out how you can commitment to yourself. This may involve telling friends and family what you’re doing and asking for their support or at least advising that you won’t have as much time to dedicate to them.
It may be making sure that you put the healthy things that you want on the grocery list. It may even be changing the family’s menu for a day or two to make sure that you get what you need. It’s not selfish to put yourself first. As with the oxygen mask analogy, if you’re able to support yourself, you’ll be more able to help all those around you.
5. Choose community
Research shows that belonging to a positive community can help us to achieve our goals. Now, this doesn’t have to be a big formal community. It could be a Facebook group where you’re pretty anonymous. It could be family or friends or a work colleague. It could even be a journal which you write in as you would to a friend.
Communities are there to support the wins and to help you to stay motivated when you’re struggling. Also helping others on their journey can spur you on and give you a sense of achievement. At its most basic level, communities help us to recognise that we’re not alone and that so many of us are experiencing similar things.
These tips may seem very simple and not really astounding, but that’s why in effect, they work. They’re simple and doable.