I am often asked for tips from my readers. One they commonly say is that they start losing weight following a weight loss plan such as Slimming World but get bored or find it hard to stick to. I think the reason for this is that so many people see it as a diet. They considering it a temporary measure to lose weight, not a healthy lifestyle change.
Changing the mindset
The first thing they think of is that to lose weight you need to diet. You think you have to starve and eat foods you don’t like. This is seen as essential in order to lose the weight you want.
I have been guilty of this in the past too and this is probably why other eating plans and diets I followed did not work and I became morbidly obese. I believe the key to successfully losing weight and keeping it off is to make it a change to your lifestyle for the long term.
Eating healthily isn’t just a measure to lose weight. It is a way of staying a healthy weight when you are happy with your size. The way we think about food has to change otherwise we lose weight and then regain it again and again because our unhealthy habits are still there.
I imagine most of my readers have at some point been a yoyo dieter too so you know where I am coming from here!
My 10 tips to help make it a lifestyle change instead of a diet
Bin the takeaway menus
On occasion, you could eat some takeaway meals and lose weight depending on your choices. However, the vast majority of takeaway foods will not help you to lose weight.
Is the temptation of having that menu on the fridge really something you can keep resisting? If the menus aren’t there you will soon forget about them. They won’t be seen as an option when you’re thinking about what to eat. If you must then maybe try a low fat ready meal?
Don’t forget to delete the apps from your phone too! If a takeaway is only a click away, it’s all too easy to slip back into bad habits.
Don’t have things in the house that you can’t resist! If you don’t buy packets of biscuits or big bars of chocolate then while you’re watching TV in the evening you can’t reach for them!
Stock up with plenty of fruits and vegetables to snack on instead.
Only eat for hunger
Often we eat because we’re bored or there’s nothing else to do rather than truly feeling hungry. Think about your eating habits and look at other things to do instead of boredom eating.
As well as this, don’t overeat. Stop eating once you’re feeling full or satisfied. Reducing your portion sizes can help with this.
Variety is the spice of life
Introduce variety into your meals, try new things and experiment in the kitchen to make food you enjoy in a healthy way.
Accept peaks and troughs
Accept that your weight will fluctuate and that one weight gain or maintain on the scales does not mean that you have failed. Even if you did eat things you shouldn’t that week it is just one week and you can get back to healthy eating. Draw a line under that bad week and move on.
If you dropped your mobile phone and the screen got a little hairline crack but still worked would you use it and carry on or would you stamp on it until it was completely ruined?
Batch cook when you can. You don’t have to cook 20 of the same meal, sometimes just cook an extra portion for the freezer. We all have days where we really don’t feel like cooking or do not have much time. By having a few meals in the freezer it means you can have days like this without it affecting your weight loss.
Making little changes can make a huge difference in the long term. For example sweetener in your hot drinks instead of sugar, low-calorie cooking spray instead of oil, or an apple for your morning snack instead of crisps. These little changes will soon become habits and you will do them automatically without even realising.
Get the family involved
Involve everyone in your lifestyle change. Cook healthier meals for the whole family so you don’t feel like you are different or that you’re depriving yourself. Tell friends and family what you are doing so that they support you and don’t turn up with a huge box of chocolates because you feel down but bring flowers instead (flowers last longer too!).
Only eat what you like
Never eat food you don’t like just because you are trying to lose weight! There is so much variety of foods out there that can be cooked in a healthy way. So, there is no reason you should force yourself to eat something you don’t like. If you do this is when you are more likely to quit because it will feel like a diet and make you feel unhappy.
Enjoy the changes
Embrace all the changes in you throughout your weight loss journey. Stop focussing on where you want to be at the end. Instead, focus on little steps to get you closer to that end goal. Enjoy the new you that is emerging and the change in size. It doesn’t have to happen overnight. Remember every little step in the right direction is good.
But overall remember…
Remember you are changing into a healthier version of the person you already are.
Address all the issues of why you became overweight whilst losing weight to try to prevent you from slipping back into that cycle again.
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