Stop & Think!

2 Jan

So it’s the New Year, a lot of people will be making the decision that they need to lose weight and/or get fit.  My view is that New Year isn’t the right time, the days are short, the light limited and our energy levels and motivation not at their best, you’re also post Christmas indulgence, you need time to get your eating even back to pre-Christmas normal, going straight into weight loss can be a step too far!

My advice would be to spend January planning and then start, my reason for this is that you do need to give a lot of thought to what you’re going to do.  I think about it as being like decorating a room, if you do the preperation correctly then you get a better finish and you get a great result.

So before you throw out the contents of your kitchen cupboard or run off in your lycra to the gym, stop and think.

  • Whatever you do, you have to be able to continue it, if you can’t then sustaining your weight loss will be that bit more difficult.  My principle here is that if you decide to eliminate chocolate totally because you can’t resist it, you are saying ‘I will never eat chocolate again’ – if this doesn’t sound like any fun, think again about your plan.
  • List the foods that are your nemesis, those that make you hungry once you’ve eaten them, the ones you eat when you’re stressed, those you can’t resist and also those you don’t like, a lot of people embark on eating plans that include foods they don’t like – it will never work!
  • Think about how you eat – are there times in the day when it’s impossible to resist, think about your day, do you miss breakfast because you’re too busy or eat late in the day?  Do you eat as a family or fit it in when you ‘have a minute?’
  • Don’t set big goals at this stage, don’t think in terms of ‘stones’ or long periods of time, you will probably never reach them. Break it down into chunks, what do you want to achieve in 2 weeks, a month, never more than 3 months.
  • If you’re very big don’t try to add in exercise as well too quickly, if you have low energy levels you may find it easier to concentrate on getting food sorted out first, I lost 3 stone before doing any exercise.
  • It’s harder to sort out the food if you’re also exercising for the first time as your body will be harder to interpret what it needs and to assess your appetite, it’s worth spending some time learning about that, if you get it right the effect of delaying exercise will be minimal.
  • Word of warning, you won’t lose significant amounts of weight from exercise alone, you do need to reduce what you eat too, it’s well documented that even if you think that you eat a balanced, healthy diet, you are probably still eating too much. To be brutal if that wasn’t the case then you wouldn’t need to lose weight in the first place!
  • It has to be a positive experience, I think of ‘diet’ as being a very negative word, it signifys deprivation, effort and for a lot of people failure. If that’s you then don’t start of by thinking it’s a diet, frame it as making life changes.  I try to never use the word ‘diet’ if I can.
  • Get a friend to measure you, you need a starting point, what you measure will become just as important as what you weigh. Measure upper arms, waist, hips, tops of legs, calves, bust and if you’re really big, add in your neck, wrist and even ankles and fingers!
  • I know it’s hard but sometimes a reality check is what we all need – 1 in four people in the UK is obese, that’s not overweight but obese, find out if you are, you don’t have to share it with anyone but it might be the crucial motivator for getting started and making the change.

Finally it’s worth thinking about why you want to lose the weight, is it about getting fit and healthy, being able to wear smaller clothes, playing with the children, or maybe it’s about being able to like yourself when you look in the mirror. It is important to think about these things, you need to be able to pin point motivators and also start to look at why you were overweight, it’s vital to being able to sustain the loss.

To be successful will need perservence but I promise you it will be worth it.


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