How to optimise your weight loss success?
We all know: losing weight is hard. Bloody hard.
We start all excited and motivated, join the gym, go shopping for healthy food… Some amazing people do it, and I when I find someone that does, I usually “social stalk” them, which is the case of #loseitlikelauren, for example.
2018 has arrived, and with it I imagine your new year’s resolutions, right? And one of them is losing weight, right? How do I know… It’s been the same here for a very long time…
I tried nearly every diet plan on the planet you can imagine. I went to weigh in meetings, stayed for talks, clapped for other people and all. But I NEVER said anything. I didn’t swap recipes, I didn’t tell people what I felt, my difficulties, and even though I lost the weight, my mind always found a way to let it creep back on.
Please, don’t take me wrong. I know that slimming clubs can be amazing, and are a lifeline to a lot of people. I’m just saying that I needed more than that. I lacked the whys, so I needed to find within myself the reason(s) why I wanted to lose weight, and what I could do to help myself when things didn’t go as planned. I also needed to be able to connect with people.
I had different diet buddies along my journey, a few Fitbit buddies, but, again, it just died away.
It wasn’t until I attended a course at work called “Lose weight with ACT” (ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). that I managed to gather the tools I needed. And guess what… these tools are soooo simple to use. Besides, they will help you get to know yourself so well, that you’ll recognise when you’re about to “crack” and how to carry on without having to drag yourself or without feeling guilty.
Ok, but what are they?
8 tips to optimise your weight loss success
1. Find your REAL reason(s) to lose weight
Why do you want to lose weight? No, really. Don’t censor yourself in finding your reason. Sometimes we feel self-conscious about our reasons, because people may think they’re superficial. Want to feel hot, sexy? Great reason! Write it down. Want to become more mobile and play with children/grandchildren/run after your primary school pupils? Great reason! Write it down. Your doctor told you to lose weight or you’ll lose your life? I hope he/she didn’t use these words, but… Great reason! Write it down. Indulged yourself during the holidays and want/need to lose “just” a couple of pounds? (If you want to do it, it’s important to you, so never use the word “just”! 😉 ) Great reason! Write it down.
2. Make peace with the “Diet Monster”
The “Diet Monster” may mean different things to different people. To me, it meant my fears of sticking to the diet and not being able to eat things I liked. Guess who always won…
3. Measure your progress
This is very important. You know that “I’ll believe it when I see it” thing? That’s what this tool will do to you. It will make you believe it. It will make you be the controller of your weight loss. You’ll be the project manager of your weight loss journey. (hey, a skill to add to your CV!) Measure yourself, all the bits you want to get smaller: arms, legs, bum, boobs, chest, clothes and shoes sizes. Write it all down. Update it weekly. Draw a little “dot” in that graph. Use a spreadsheet if you’re into it. If not, just keep a simple record of it. But do keep a record. And update it every week. (no, not every day. Every week.)
4. Learn how and why you boycott yourself – and learn how to revert the situation
Think about all the other diets you’ve done. Why did they go wrong? What made you slip? What were the triggers that led to your giving up? Getting to know yourself will help you come up with strategies. Remember, you’re a project manager of your life. You’re in control. 😉
5. Define your values
And whe I say “values”, I mean the guidelines to which you live your life. For example: if you are a family-oriented person, it is important for you to be there for them, to love them, and care for them, right? Keep this example in mind for our next topic. And just remember: “Values aren’t goals; they are guidelines.”
6. Set your S.M.A.R.T. goals
SMART: Specific * Meaningful * Adaptive * Realistic -*Time-bound
So, we talk about values, and now goals. A bit confused? Here’s the difference:
Values: describe how we’d like to behave in life; qualities we want to model.
Goals: they can be completed, achieved, ticked off a “to do” list
Remember the value from topic 5, establishing “family” as a value, what are the goals we can set? For example: play with your children more; get more active and outdorsy with your husband, etc. It’s important to remember, though, that setting a goal that it’s just not you, wont’ take you anywhere, and will just make you feel frustrated and think you’re failing. Example: you want to lose weight, but you just can’t stand going to the gym. If you set one of your goals as “go to the gym every day”, it’s not going to hurt. You’re are going to end up hurting your soul with guilt. Think about any other activity that brings you pleasure. How about half-hour walk three times a week, while listening to your favourite music, walking your dog? Your pooch will definitely retribute the love! 🙂
7. Build a strong support network
Who are the people you can really count on to help you on your weight loss journey? Think about a selected few people that would be like your “First Aid” person. If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you know there will come a day (oh, yes, for sure!) when all you’ll want is to raid the fridge and every single cupboard and biscut tin/packet in your house. That’s when your support network will come in. They might not be your BFF , or your mum, or your sister (unless they’re on a weight loss journey too). They may be a colleague, or one of your child’s classmates’ mum, or the lady in your night class, or a gym buddy. The important thing is that you’ll become accountable, and give and get support.
8. Keep a “journal”
I use “journal” here in general. You may prefer a food/activity/exercise diary. Sometimes you need more than a diet or exercise in order to lose weight and feel better about yourself. The extra pounds (or kilos) we carry around with us can bring other ugly stuff to our lives: low self-esteem, lack of confidence, confusion, low productivity and a poor social life. Keeping a journal will help you identify your feelings and what triggers your slips (tip 4 above). Keeping a weight loss journal PLUS making sure your levels of self-esteem and confidence are high (or increasing throughout your weigh loss journey) can do wonders and help you live a more fulfilling life with your family and friends.
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Have you got any tips for us? Let us know in the comments.