The Stoppers

Many of us have weight or fat loss goals but just as many of us can struggle to achieve them.

Here are some common problems I see:

-- Once the goal is set it starts to feel unachievable

-- Not knowing how or where to start

-- The ALL or NOTHING approach

-- Rewarding small achievements with food or drink treats

-- Eating the "good" stuff so you can eat the "bad" stuff

-- Cutting out whole food groups or starting an extremely restrictive diet

-- Not increasing daily activity and exercise

-- Part-time dieting

-- Trying too many things at once

-- Not counting liquid calories

-- Expecting results too quickly

-- Self-sabotage

The Plan

The science behind weight loss is simple but putting into practice is not. If you find you relate to any of the stoppers here are some starting points:

Most weight loss is achieved at between 0.5 to 1kg per week (1 to 2 lbs)

When setting your goals it is ok to think big, in fact, I think it pays to think big. What is also essential to do is to plan. If you mean to lose 10 kg's (1.5 stone/22lbs) estimate that it is going to take you at least 10-20 weeks of consistent and focussed effort, then factor in a couple of weeks slippage. Once your big goal is set it can make it easier to use the "Toblerone" method 😆 breaking it down into smaller chunks.

Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple, especially for those difficult first 2 weeks whilst your body adjusts to eating less, will also help keep you sane and on track. With so many diets, eating and exercise plans out there involving all sorts of strange ingredients, recipes, exercises & equipment it can feel like being lost in a fog. No diet company knows how you eat. They don't know what foods you regularly buy, what your default dishes are, what your family will and won't eat or how much time you have to prepare your meals. Start simply.

  • Eat more vegetables

  • Eat more lean protein (meat, poultry, beans & pulses, tofu)

  • Eat more fruit

  • Drink more water

Track what you eat & drink

Keeping a food diary or tracking your calorie intake is a very effective tool for weight loss. Most people find it hard to recall EVERYTHING they've eaten and drunk in the previous 24 hours. It is one of the questions I ask my clients and it's funny how basic their initial memory is and how many extra bits come out later in the conversation.

A basic food diary is useful to look back on and see what healthier changes you could make to your day or week. It is also useful for spotting any habit patterns such as stress eating, tired eating or bored eating. A food diary can be as it sounds writing everything down or you could do a photo diary. Can you add more vegetables to a dish? Can you add fruit? Are you eating protein at all your meals? What can you swap for a healthier option? What things in there are not going to help you reach your goal?

Calorie tracking enables you to instantly see which foods or meals are keeping you on track. A daily calorie allowance is set usually by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and activity level. You can use calorie tracking to plan your meals ahead or to check in on how your day has gone.

The weekends have calories too!

Consistency is vital when it comes to weight loss. Your body needs to be in a constant calorie deficit for the planned period of time for you to lose weight. That period of time, those 10 weeks, for example, include weekends. It's important to not take your eye off the ball or your goals and to ensure your weekend calories aren't "eating-up" your calorie deficit from the week. Planning ahead, stocking up on all your healthy options and making sure you exercise will keep you losing weight and moving forward.

Moving burns calories

Your daily activity and weekly exercise play an important part in your weight loss. The more you can increase your weekly calorie deficit the more fat you will burn.

Daily activity is not exercise, it's the amount you move around during a day. Increasing your daily step count, standing more, house or garden jobs all burn calories.

There are so many options now when it comes to exercise the most important thing is that you find something you can enjoy, the effort to do it doesn't get in the way and you can do it regularly. Even if you regularly change what exercise you do make sure you are exercising with an increased heart rate for at least 30 minutes 2-3 times per week.

Don't give up on yourself

It can be easy to get disheartened and lose motivation when you're trying to lose weight. All of us have an internal dialogue that is either our best friend or worst enemy at times. Making this internal chat work for us by changing the words we use to be POSITIVE can help us avoid reverting to the habits that don't help us. Speak to yourself as you would speak to your friend. Be your own support, your own cheerleader, your own motivator.

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