TRIED-AND-TRUE TIPS TO WEIGHT LOSS AND KEEPING IT OFF.
PORTION CONTROL. It’s no secret that portion sizes have gotten larger and thus, so have we! There’s nothing worse than ordering a meal at your favourite restaurant to find that half way through it, you are full. But of course you continue eating because it tastes so good and then leave inevitably leaving bloated, overfilled and sometimes sick. (Please tell me you’ve done that too!) The only cure for this, is to pay attention to serving sizes by reading nutrition labels and teaching yourself to understand them. Make it “normal” to measure out your servings, eat only one helping and resist the urge to “clean the plate”- No easy feat! HELPFUL HINT: I always eat my meals on a small plate rather than a dinner plate, therefore I can fill it right up which make me feel like I’m eating lots but really I’m eating a smaller amount.
BE MINDFUL. Get to know your body! Pay attention to what you are eating and when. If you are hungry, then eat but remember to stop when you are full too. Is there another reason why you are eating? Are you bored? Emotional? Stressed? Tired? Find out what it is you are feeling and react to help that mood rather than relying on the pantry to help, when it may only leave you feeling guilty.
EXERCISE. No secret here, we all know that exercise will help us to lose weight. Not only will it help us to shed those kilos but it also builds muscle which aids our metabolism and increases our “feel good” hormones.
CHECK THE SCALES. Whilst I would never recommend you to become obsessed with the scales (weight isn’t the only way to measure progress) it has been proven that people who weigh themselves weekly are more likely to lose or maintain their weight! People who are “scales conscious” are more likely to notice the change in their body and be motivated by the change either an addition or subtraction on the scales.
EAT BREAKFAST. Not only do breakfast eaters usually weigh less (Wyatt et al., 2002) they also suffer fewer chronic diseases than non-breakfast eaters (Timlin & Pereira, 2007).
MONITOR INTAKE. Keep a food diary or consider using MyFitnessPal, an app which allows you to scan and input your food to keep track not only of calories but of macros and nutritional intake. Although at times it can be tedious, it allows you to take ownership and to become more aware of what you are putting into your body and when (which may also help you to understand why you eat-perhaps it is boredom? Or when your highest intake of sugar is? 3 o’clock-itis?)
TURN OFF THE TV. Watching TV or browsing the internet are extremely sedentary activities and therefore only require you to expend minimal amounts of calories. Watching TV will sometimes “encourage” you to snack without even thinking about what is going into your gob!
DON’T WAIT TO GET STARTED- TODAY IS THE DAY. Don’t wait for Monday. Don’t wait until “after my 30th party”. Today is the day! Adapt to a healthy lifestyle that you can stick to without having to “cheat” or “start later”. By doing so, you will never feel like you have failed and need to give up or start again due to one naughty meal or bad choice! This is for life!
NO CHEATING. I am a huge believer in this one! People who DO NOT allow themselves a “cheat day” are 150% more likely to maintain their weight loss (Gorin et al., 2004). Choose a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy foods you like, when you want them- in moderation. The more you eat good, nutritious, healthy foods, the more you want them! Trust me! I used to “cheat” one day every weekend. I used to get to Tuesday/Wednesday and crave ice cream or pizza and sometimes give in to what I thought my body wanted! It didn’t want it-it was in routine to crave it! Since setting a goal mid way through last year, I gave up “cheat meals” and just enjoyed the odd glass of wine on special occasions or some cheese and crackers on the balcony when the sun was shining and I just enjoyed small amounts of it without going silly and telling myself “It’s my cheat meal…eat your body weight!”
KNOW THY FRIEND. Surround yourself with fit, healthy and positive people. Friends, family members and colleagues have a huge influence on what we eat, how active we are and how we perceive ourselves. Start to encourage your colleagues to go for a walk during their lunch break, ask friends to go for a walk, cycle, paddle board instead of coffee every now and again and don’t be shy to tell your family about more health food swaps in the kitchen. Healthy looks good on everyone!
BE OPTIMISTIC. People who are optimistic have perceived control, positive expectations, empowerment, a fighting spirit and a lack of helplessness which are proven successful personality traits and changing behaviours for losing weight and keeping it off.