10 tips to make it a lifestyle change not a diet

I am often asked for tips from my readers who say 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, a temporary measure to lose weight. The first thing they think of is that to lose weight you need to diet and by diet you think starve and eat foods you don’t like in order to lose the weight so that you can be at the weight you desire. 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. 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 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!

So, here are my top 10 tips that from my experience help you make this a lifestyle change and not a diet, a change for life to be a happier healthier version of you.
  • Throw away the take away menus! Whilst on occasion you could eat some foods from a take away and lose weight depending on your choices and the way it is cooked, the vast majority of take away foods will not help you. Is the temptation of having that menu on the fridge or next to the phone really something you can keep resisting? If the menus aren’t there you will soon forget about them and they wont be seen as an option when you’re thinking about what to eat.
  • Don’t have things in the house that you cant resist! If you don’t buy packets of biscuits or big bars of chocolate then while you’re watching TV in the evening you cant reach for them!
  • Think about your eating habits and look at other things to do instead of boredom eating. A previous blog post of mine talks about this and can be found here which may help you.
  • Introduce variety into your meals, try new things and experiment in the kitchen to make food you enjoy in a healthy way.
  • Accept that your weight will fluctuate and that one gain or maintain on the scales does not mean that you have failed and even if you did eat things you shouldn’t that week it is just one week and you can get back to healthy eating. 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 but sometimes just cook an extra portion for the freezer. We all have days where we really don’t feel like cooking or just genuinely 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.
  • Make little changes like sweetener in your hot drinks instead of sugar, low calorie cooking spray instead of oil, and an apple for your morning snack instead of biscuits. These little changes will soon be habit and you will do them without even realising.
  • Involve everyone in your lifestyle change, cook healthier meals for the whole family so you don’t feel like you are different or depriving yourself. Tell friends and family what you are doing so they support you and don’t turn up with a huge box of chocolates because you feel down but bring flowers instead (last longer too!).
  • 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 that 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.
  • Embrace all the changes in you throughout your weight loss journey. Stop focussing on where you want to be at the end and 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 but remember every little step in the right direction is good.

    Remember you are changing to 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 slipping back into that cycle again. Previous blog posts of mine may be helpful to you too. One about boredom eating can be found here. A post about comfort eating with some ideas for healthy comfort foods can be found here. I have talked a lot about emotional eating and depression but here are a few posts about that too, here and another here. I know a lot of people say they do well at first then get stuck in a rut, so a blog post of tips for when you feel like giving up may help that I wrote which is here.
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