The step that everyone misses when trying to lose weight

If you’re anything like most people, a common starting point for weight loss goes something like this: “Right, I’ve had enough. My jeans are too tight, I'm letting myself down, I want to start feeling better about myself and feel great every day, so I have to do something about this weight, it’s gone too far.”


Sound familiar?

Then, you dive straight into the apps, weight loss clubs, diet books, and buy new bits of home gym equipment.  You go full speed for a couple of weeks but the scales aren’t showing much sign of any progress or life just gets in the way.

You end up too busy, stressed, hungry, and tired.  You give up.  And then you feel worse. So you tuck straight back into your favourite drinks and snacks.

A few weeks pass and you're further back than when you first started. 

It frustrates me how predictable this is.  And trust me, I’ve been around this loop a few times myself.

But there is another way.  And it’s not another new diet plan or only eating “green” things on a Wednesday! It’s logic and mindset.

When it comes to food and weight loss, our logic seems to get thrown out of the window. If we were faced with a similar challenge at work, or in pretty much any other area of our lives, we would be calm, logical, and make progress.

So how about doing the same with our weight?

Imagine if you cut your leg and there was blood pouring out. Is your first thought that you need to amputate? No, of course not. You apply pressure, clean the cut and stick a plaster on it. You don’t overreact then regret.

My point is this: with weight loss, which is, admittedly, a tough nut to crack, we immediately reach for a sledgehammer.

We take drastic action too quickly. We change everything, overnight, set ourselves crazy goals and wildly different ways of living our lives, then wonder why we fail.

With weight loss, most people, including myself, make it way harder than it needs to be.

Here’s another way to try losing weight for good. 

Break it down

Try breaking down your weight loss into different phases.

1. Stop gaining weight
2. Maintain weight
3. Lose weight

Can you see how most weight loss plans miss out on the first two and skip straight to the third? It’s too extreme.

The reason we often skip to stage three is, unfortunately, because weight loss is big business. The app builders, book publishers, gyms, slimming clubs, and meal box companies can’t really sell us one or two, but boy can they sell us stage three.

And they sell hard.

Here’s the bad (and slightly sad) news. The weight loss industry’s ideal situation is for you to lose a lot of weight quickly (using whatever new “thing” they are marketing). Then you get bored or frustrated, stop, gradually put the weight back on, then come back in a year and start the process again, wanting the next “new” system.

And that’s what a lot of us do. I’ve done it. But we don’t have to.

The key first step is vital and easier than you think.

The starting point to moving toward a healthy weight (and staying there forever) is to stop gaining weight. Nothing less, nothing more.

And to do that here’s where you start.

Balanced plate 

A 'balanced plate' looks like this:

Make most of your meal vegetables grown above the ground - half of your plate.
These are leafy greens, salads, and other vegetables. Aim for colour and variety, and remember that potatoes don’t count as vegetables on the balanced plate because of their effect on blood sugar.

Limit complex carbs and whole grains - a quarter of your plate.
Complex carbs such as root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, sweet potato) and whole grains in their natural form (quinoa, oats, brown rice) — have a milder effect on blood sugar and insulin than starchy carbs found in white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

Protein power – a quarter of your plate.
Fish, poultry, eggs, pulses, and nuts are all healthy, versatile protein sources — they can be mixed into salads and pair well with vegetables on a plate. Limit red meat, and avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage.

Healthy fats – in moderation.
Choose healthy oils like olive or avocado oil and avoid vegetable oils such as rapeseed, soy, corn, sunflower, and peanut. Avoid partially hydrogenated oils which contain unhealthy trans fats (typically your spreadable fats and margarine). Remember that low fat does not mean "healthy".

Drink more water.
Skip sugary drinks, fruit juices and smoothies, sodas (including diet ones), and alcohol. Stick mainly to water, tea, herbal infusions, and coffee (in moderation).

Stay active.
Remember that staying active is also important in weight control.

Amassive mistake we all make in weight loss is being impatient. We do a workout one day and then weigh ourselves the next expecting to be a pound or two down. I’ve done it.

Do this for a month and let me know how you got on.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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South Croydon, Surrey, CR2
Written by Christelle Page, Registered Weight Loss Nutritional Therapist (mBANT, CNHC)
South Croydon, Surrey, CR2

Christelle is a Registered Nutritionist + Health Coach specialising in helping people break their sugar habits, regain their energy & lose weight - without them feeling miserable by giving into another quick-fix diet. Her approach takes the guesswork out & combines personalised nutrition + motivational coaching to help you get the results you want.

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