You decided to get healthier. The main reason was: you wanted to lose some weight, you wanted your belly to stick out less, thighs to stop rubbing together, fat to stop sticking out under your bra, your knees (joints) to stop hurting and not to feel out of breath with a little exertion. To sum it up, you wanted to feel better.
You are fully motivated, you started your journey all charged up, fully committed and determined. You cut this that and everything that’s unhealthy from your diet and you started exercising regularly. Life is good, the weight is dropping off fast, people are noticing that you are losing pounds and commenting. You feel great.
The unexpected happens, the unplanned happens or your schedule becomes overloaded and the stress of it kicks you off the boat. Your weight starts to creep up and your determination fizzles away. You stop feeling charged up, you start feeling deflated and disappointed with yourself and you give up or almost give up.
Is that you?
I see this happening all the time and it breaks my heart because a little tweak here and there could prevent this from happening to you. Life happens to all of us, schedules change, disappointments arise, upsetting incidents occur, all of which can disrupt our flow.
Getting healthier is a long journey, losing a lot of weight is a long journey. Alarm bells ring in my head when people lose weight rapidly by crash dieting or cutting out a food group. You must remember that whatever you do to lose weight is what you have to keep doing forever to keep that weight off. The number 1 reason why you couldn’t sustain your weight loss rate is that you did too much too fast too soon. Your calorie adjustments were unsustainable (too much deficit), your exercise training schedule was hard to stick to on the long term.
Here are a few tips to help you
- Make an exercise plan you can see yourself sticking to for the rest of your life. Think long term. Short term is losing weight. Long term is getting healthier and staying that way. Long term is getting fit and staying fit. Be realistic with your plan. If all you can see yourself doing is 30mins 3 days a week then start with that and stick to that.
- Know how many calories you consume on a daily basis and make conservative adjustments. Cutting out too many calories can put the body into starvation mode. When your body is in starvation mode, it will hold on to the fat that’s there. The trick is to not let your body think it’s starving. Don’t cut out too much. Make food and drink swaps, eat smaller portions of the foods you love instead of cutting them out completely. Small adjustments over time is more likely to yield long term results. People often cut out too many calories too quickly. Be patient, start with small calorie deficits and progress in stages.
- Focus more on changing your habits than on the scale. Yes it can be encouraging when you see the numbers on the scale reducing, however, bad habits led to your weight gain. When you focus on changing one bad habit at a time, you are thinking more long term and when you think long term, you get better results. For example, Are you in the habit of drinking juices with every meal? Focus on replacing that juice habit with water. Habits take a while to change so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient, give it your best shot daily and aim to do a little bit better than the day before.
- Be happy, embrace it and aim to enjoy the journey. Getting healthier is a good thing. Losing fat is a good thing. It leads to a better quality of life. Every time you put food in your mouth, consider the nourishing effect of that food. Every time you are sweating whilst working out, think about how your strength, stability, stamina, shape and mobility are improving not how hard it is. Think about what it’s doing to your heart, lungs, mood not how unfit you are. Mindset is everything. Be positive. It’s very easy to let other things get in the way if you are not in the zone. When you are in the zone, nothing will kick you off the boat. You will always find a way no matter what life throws at you.