How To Really Lose Weight
How To Really Lose Weight
There are many common culprits sabotaging your weight loss plans. Here’s how to lose weight, and keep it off
According to retail analysts Mintel, two thirds of the UK are on a diet “all or most of the time”, meaning we’re trapped in a cycle of never succeeding then never feeling good enough. If that sounds familiar to you, read on…
Make a Plan and Track Your Progress
Everything feels more achievable when you write it down and set out a strategy. You can use a paper planner or apps like MyFitnessPal, which allow you to keep track of your daily calorie intake. Nutritionist Steve Grant says, “Keep a food intention diary, where you plan out what you want your diet to look like and a food diary to track what choices you actually made. Make notes about the triggers, people or circumstances that commonly derail the choices you are wanting to make and are not supporting your end goal. Focus then on these areas so you can overcome your common triggers.” Be mindful of what you are eating and why.
Set Realistic Goals
Don’t put pressure on yourself to reach a goal weight within a specific timeframe. This will only set you up for failure and hinder longterm success. Steve says, “Fat loss (not weight loss) is very gradual. Any weight loss beyond 1-2lbs per week for most people is unlikely to be fat and thus is unsustainable to maintain that loss.” You shouldn’t try to rush losing weight to meet a target. Instead: “Focus on the behaviour changes you need to make to help you create a deficit on your current caloric intake,’’ says Steve.
Be honest with yourself – you may have upped your exercise routine to help you lose weight but you do need to reduce calories too. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you’ve been to the gym, you can eat what you want! Also, realise that exercise can make you hungrier. Have healthy snacks to hand. And remember that it’s all about the total daily activity you do – sitting sedentary at a desk all day every day can’t be offset with one gym session a week.
Seek Out Support
Having a strong support network around you makes all the difference when losing weight. Friends and family can listen to you vent and remind you why you’re doing this. You could also hire a personal trainer to stay motivated. Mike Pavlou, nutritionist and lifestyle manager at ExSeed Health says, “Personal trainers can be really useful in their ability to educate and keep you accountable. They have the tools to show you the latest workouts and correct form, preventing injury that can derail progress, and can tailor these workouts to suit your specific goals.”
Consider Your Emotional Health
Why do you want to lose weight? The answer to this question is loaded with emotion, as we often believe that losing weight can fix other areas of our lives. Food & health coach Josie Buck says, “There is absolutely no doubt that dropping a dress size can make people happier, but it doesn’t influence the external factors that might be causing the overeating. We still have to deal with the relationships, situations or other challenges in our lives whatever size we are. Getting our emotional health in check so that we have the skills to deal with those situations can be a game-changer.”
There’s nothing like a long, difficult day at the office to make you reach for that block of cheese in the fridge. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. It’s in these moments that we are more likely to use food to feel better. Also ensure you get enough sleep – poor sleep can contribute to obesity.
If you do make a mistake, don’t let it get to you. Josie says, “Learn to cultivate a sense of self-compassion. There’s often a conflict of interest in the minds of people trying to lose weight. We can feel like we must be hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up in order to get results, but the reality is, quite the opposite is true. It is far better to treat ourselves with kindness and compassion. You are more likely to feel motivated and make better choices for yourself when you feel deserving of them and habit changes are far easier to make when you feel worthy.”
Seek Professional Advice
If your weight is seriously impacting your mobility and health, it’s worth booking an appointment with your GP for some advice. Surgery may be an option. Mr Georgios Vasilikostas, consultant general and bariatric surgeon at New Victoria Hospital, notes that in the past, bariatric surgery was considered as an option only after patients had tried nonsurgical treatments such as lifestyle changes, for at least a year and failed in achieving a long-term weight loss. However, more recent approaches are pushing to make bariatric surgery available to more patients with lower BMI, in the attempt to limit the worsening of the condition and its related risks.