Like many people, I have been a slave to yo-yo dieting for many years (23 in fact). I have tried every diet under the sun, could always lose weight well but was always just that bit better at gaining it back. It destroyed me, physically and mentally.
Whether this is your experience or your fear for your future, I want to share with you when the light bulb finally clicked. I then realised the only way to lose my weight for good was to stop dieting and start living a healthy active, balanced (but not saintly!) lifestyle.
Picture the scene: you’ve been following your weight loss plan for a month now and you’ve been doing really well, losing 1 or 2 pounds every week. You’re feeling trimmer, more energetic and full of confidence in reaching your weight loss goal. But then, a little voice in your head decides to have its say - you deserve a treat. Ah, go on, have a doughnut. You’ve earned that chocolate biscuit…just having the one? What are two chocolate digestives between friends? Have another, and another…
There, you’ve blown it. You’ve failed on your diet and you may as well eat the whole packet of biscuits now. Right? Wrong!
So what do you do now? Decide to start your plan again on Monday and eat your way through the weekend? How about deciding that dieting just isn’t for you and sure, aren’t curves back in vogue? If this sounds familiar, it’s just one of the many ways your attitude to weight loss can be your route to success or not.
To lose weight successfully - and keep it off - we need to change the way we think as well as the way we eat! It’s those little voices inside our heads that not only lead to failure, but also keep us in the vicious circle of dieting and overeating. We need to focus on how we view food, our eating pattern and our weight as a whole package. Food is not the enemy but giving food the power to influence how we feel about ourselves is the real problem.
Have a look at these common ways of thinking that I used to practice all too well – how many apply to you?
1. Having an ‘on a diet/off a diet’ mentality
Rather than simply eating healthily – being ‘on a diet’ has so many negative connotations that we feel restricted, unhappy and as if we’re being punished. ‘Eating healthily’ shows that you’re taking a positive step to health and well being. I now eat a great variety of tasty foods and not stingy quantities. I love everything from my amazing Herbalife products, to my meals and other snacks and can help you find great, tasty, healthy alternatives to every food that may have done you wrong in the past!
2. Losing weight to look good for someone else
To be truly successful with your weight loss you have to want to lose weight for YOU, not to please a partner, friend or relation, or to bow down to peer pressure.
3. One biscuit makes you a failure
One biscuit makes you human! If you have slipped up, don’t linger on it and feel guilty. Put the past behind you and get right back on track! Your eyes are in the front of your head for a reason, we are meant to look forward not back.
4. Believing that losing weight will make you a better/different/happier person
Life is too short to put things off until you’re a size 10! Start now working on your self esteem, worthiness and quality of life. This new focus on you will make the weight loss not only easier, but just part of a bigger change. We all tend to put ourselves way too low on our list of priorities. This will make it hard to change your lifestyle if you always use the things you list above yourself as excuses.
5. Binge eating before going on a diet
This will just make the task ahead that bit more difficult and make those habits harder to break. I can’t count the number of times I ate the kitchen dry on a weekend before starting a diet on Monday only to then have so much salt, fat and sugar rolling around my system I simply went shopping for more by Monday lunchtime!
6. Thinking of any food as ‘bad’ or ‘forbidden’
This just makes them all the more tempting! Moderation is the key to enjoying a little of everything. That and finding healthy, tasty alternatives to replace unhealthy options.
7. Thinking of weight loss as something you HAVE to do, rather than something you WANT to do
Isn’t it so much easier to choose to do something rather than feel obliged to do it? You’re more likely to stay with your new habits if you have chosen them!
8. Focusing on foods to avoid, rather than foods to include
Eating well is not about restriction. Think of all those fabulous foods you can eat and enjoy and of the health benefits they bring. Clients always ask what can I and can’t I have. I tell them they can have anything I just help them know better choices. I always start with a new client by advising them all we are going to do at first is add in the good stuff. This will start on a positive, non depravation mode. As we progress, focus on your weekly diary, all the good habits and choices you adopted and made NOT the things you felt didn’t go well. Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for a 90%/10% balance in favour of the healthier habits and choices.
9. Considering losing weight as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end
Losing weight will help you become healthier and fitter and keeping to your new healthy eating patterns will keep you healthier and fitter, year in, year out!
10. Relying on quick fix solutions
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Steady weight loss of 1-2lbs per week is important for safe weight loss you can maintain in the long term. I also help you focus on all your measures, body fat, cm’s etc. etc. Remember weight is the least accurate and consistent measure of positive body changes but the most likely to trigger dangerous emotional response.
Once you commit to the positive power of developing a new healthy lifestyle and habits, you won’t even hear that little voice any more…!