Struggling to lose weight?

Seven Steps to Success

Losing weight is not easy so don’t let anyone tell you it is. However, it is doable and below are a few hints and tips to help you reach your weight loss goals:

Step 1 – Keep a food diary

Ever thought to yourself – “I don’t understand why I’m not losing weight as I don’t eat that much”? It’s amazing how easy it is to completely forget that you have eaten something and then go and tuck into something else.  Or to simply not realise that in fact you are eating more than you need to.

It’s not until you keep a food diary that you will realise exactly why the weight isn’t coming off. From noting down all that passes your lips, you will probably realise that you are eating portions that are too big or eating too many high calorie foods.

Step 2 – Cut back on simple carbs

We Brits love our carbohydrates with bread, potatoes and pasta being the base for many of our meals. Carbs form  an important part of a healthy eating plan. But a diet heavy with simple carbs such as white bread, white rice, processed pasta, sugar and white potatoes will not only pile on the calories but will give you a quick burst of energy then leave you hungry and possibly sluggish.  Try to replace your simple carbs with complex carbs such as nuts, fresh fruit, whole grain foods and non-starchy vegetables.  These will keep you fuller for longer.

Step 3 – Really enjoy your food

We all lead such busy lives that it is often the case that you end up grabbing lunch on the go or eating it whilst you work at your desk. And how often do you sit in front  of the TV eating your supper ? The problem with all these scenarios is that you aren’t allowing your body to talk to you and tell you it is full. As a result you overeat. By rushing your food or doing something else whilst eating, such as watching TV or working at your desk, you simply aren’t allowing your body to communicate with you. You probably aren’t chewing your food enough and that means your body won’t have time to realise that food is going into your stomach. As a result your stomach won’t signal to your brain that you are satisfied and so you carry on eating.  Take your meal to the dining room or sit away from your desk and really taste each mouthful. Chew thoroughly. You will find that not only are you really enjoying each mouthful but that you feel satisfied sooner.

Step 4 – Be realistic

Setting unrealistic goals means setting yourself up for failure. “I need to lose a stone before my beach holiday next month” is not realistic.  Sustainable weight loss comes from steady small losses over a decent period of time.  You are likely to have a larger weight loss in week one, but some weeks you may lose nothing. Don’t be disheartened – your body is simply adjusting to its new regime. By losing weight steadily you give yourself time to adjust to a more healthy eating plan and you can change behaviours for a lifetime.  If you have a lot of weight to lose then set goals for along the journey i.e. set your first goal at 7lbs then enjoy the sense of real achievement when you succeed and then set a new 7lb goal. Before you know it, you will be feeling great and noticing a real difference in your body shape.

Step 5 – Get support

Losing weight on your own can be a struggle. It can feel a very lonely place when you those around you are not on the same weight loss journey.  You can make the journey a whole lot easier if you share it with someone.  Maybe you have a friend who is looking to lose weight too? Together, you could share your experiences, set goals and celebrate each others’ successes… not with chocolate though! If you don’t have a friend that is interested in losing weight with you then you could join a weight loss group and attend their meetings or join an online group or forum. You won’t feel alone and you will be able to share your experiences, learning from others and taking support and encouragement from them.

Step 6 – Don’t give up

One mistake doesn’t mean total failure. So yesterday you ate a slice of cake. Well that was yesterday and today is a new day. Don’t feel disheartened because having a treat every now and again is absolutely fine, just don’t do it every day.  Many people have a ‘bad day’ and then give up, but you can easily start fresh the next day.  There will also be times when you get frustrated at the lack of weight loss, but your body just has to adjust and the weight loss will kick in again. Keep focused and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t quite go to plan.

Step 7 – Increase your exercise

Honestly, exercise is not a dirty word.  It can be fun – really! By increasing your levels of exercise you burn calories, tone up, improve your body shape and improve your fitness levels and general health. You don’t have to join a gym to exercise. You can leave the car in the garage and start walking more, join a village hall aerobics class, get your bike out of the shed or go to the local swimming baths and do a few lengths. Variety is the spice of life, so mix it up and try different things.  Weight training is excellent for toning and calorie burn, whilst cardiovascular activities such as running, aquarobics and Zumba are great for increasing your heart rate and improving your general fitness levels.  As with Step 5, exercise is more fun if you do it with someone else.  Go cycling with a friend – there are many wonderful cycle routes across Kent that you can easily download from the internet.  Join a class and enjoy the camaraderie of group exercise or use a personal trainer to shape your exercise  programme to suit you and keep you motivated.

Follow these seven steps and you will be well on the way to a successful healthy eating and exercise programme. Good luck !