Updated: May 14, 2020
Have you ever gone on a diet, lost a load of weight and felt brilliant, only to find that you’ve put it all back on a few weeks or months later? And maybe a little bit more? Makes you want to give up, doesn’t it?
You are not the first to feel like that and you certainly won’t be the last.
But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be like that? What if I told you that by taking a different, more simple approach, you could achieve LASTING results? That it IS possible to lose weight, keep it off, and feel healthier and more confident in yourself and your abilities to achieve your goals, whatever they might be?
Then read on…. (it’s not another diet plan!)
Rewind to 2009. I’d just regained the 3 stone in weight I had worked so hard to lose in 2006. I was desperately unhappy and felt terribly unhealthy. How did that even happen??? I’d been on diets since I was in my teens, I was now 36 years old and I had never been able to maintain my weight. I was either putting weight on, or losing it. Fast-forward to 2020. I’ve been pretty much maintaining my weight for the last 9 years (with the exception of 2017 – I’ll come to that later).
So what changed? My attitude!
In 2010-11 I lost the weight again, with the support of my lovely Cambridge Weight Plan (now 1:2:1 Diet) consultant, but that was the easy bit. Maintenance had always been the real challenge for me. After successful weight loss I would starve myself all week, blowing it all at the weekend and then starving and dehydrating myself again before my weekly weigh-in, in the hope that I hadn't put on any weight and feeling frustrated when I did. Feeling like I was on that slippery slope of the weight going back on and not being in control. Sound familiar?
So I looked at what I could do. I looked at my daily behaviours and firstly whether they were healthy, and secondly whether they were consistent with my goal of maintaining my weight. They really hadn’t been, but that’s when I realised what needed to change. I suddenly realised that I alone was responsible for my actions around food - no one else, nothing else, and therefore, if I was responsible for my actions, it was surely within my power to change them. The PENNY DROPPED! The LIGHTBULB TURNED ON!
So I chose positive behaviours that fitted with my life, my lifestyle and constraints such as my working hours, commuting, family commitments and social events. I looked at what I could do to make it as easy as I possibly could to stick to my plans, such as being aware of situations that might prove difficult, preparing food in advance, choosing easy meals to cook, making plans for the next day the night before, and having emergency healthy snacks to hand in case I got caught short. I stopped going for weekly pressured weigh-ins that messed with my head. I achieved balance.
I examined the deep reasons WHY I wanted to keep the weight off. To be healthy, and physically fit! I'd always loved sport at school but when I became overweight moving was harder and uncomfortable and I felt so sluggish. I loved the feeling of being able to move with ease when at a healthy weight, and have more energy and not have to worry so much about my future health prospects, and be able to be in the best position to support my loved ones.
Once I figured that out, and with the new realisation that I alone was responsible for my actions, it became easy to stick to my daily goals. I didn’t follow any diet plans. I followed what fitted in with my life, developing new habits according to a few simple principles:
making sure I wasn't taking in too many calories (www.myfitnesspal.com can help with this)
daily activity – finding every opportunity to move, like walking and using stairs
including at least 30 minutes of structured exercise 4-5 days per week
ensuring a balanced intake of food groups, with at least 80% of my calorie intake from minimally processed foods that I liked, leaving me with 20% of my calories for treats if I wanted them*. The Public Health England Eatwell Guide can help with this (see below).
only eating when I was hungry, and stopping when satisfied
drinking plenty of water
getting at least 7 hours’ sleep a night
By doing these same things every day, I developed new, more healthy habits, and it was simple and easy. I didn’t have to miss out or deprive myself of anything. I kept the weight off successfully for 5 years, because it became a lifestyle that I could easily stick to, because I wanted to stick to it. I felt so much healthier, physically, mentally and emotionally.
I was tested, and I overcame the challenge!
Unfortunately for 6 months from the end of 2016 a set of circumstances happened that took its toll on me mentally and physically and I took my eye off the ball. I gained 1.5 stone. But THIS TIME, I realised what was happening before I put all my weight back on, remembered I was responsible, and took action. I spent the first half of 2018 losing it again, this time by myself, simply by following the principles above, but also by ensuring I achieved a small daily calorie deficit. The cumulative effect of this and the focus on daily consistent actions meant that I lost the weight, slowly, consistently and healthily, and I’ve kept it off easily again since then. As the calorie deficit had been so small, it was easy to feel satisfied and so when it came to maintaining my weight again, I only needed to slightly adjust my eating and my activity.
Since losing the weight in 2011, I have gained so much life…. my health, my confidence, my fitness, my ability to face challenges head on. It opened so many doors for me. But I don't have any special powers. I am an ordinary, regular person, like you. I am not a fast runner, I am not a super-strong weightlifter, I am not a flawless beauty with a 'perfect' body (whatever that is) . I can't perform miracles. I just love to be able move my body with ease, have fun, and to feel fit and healthy for as long as possible so I can make the most of my life. I used this motivation to shift my mindset, so that I wanted to be healthy more than I wanted the extra slice of cake. I can now make sensible trade-offs and compromises with myself, instead of all or nothing, black and white thinking. I feel liberated. You can too!
Having succeeded in this myself, I now coach others to achieve their own success in this way, which can lead to success in so many other areas of their lives. Losing weight and keeping it off does NOT have to be difficult or complicated. It CAN be simple and easy. The keys to the success of my approach are:
recognising that you have the power to make changes,
taking responsibility for your actions,
choosing actions that are consistent with your goals,
consistency in doing those actions daily,
eating food that you enjoy,
doing activities that you enjoy,
and truly understanding why you want to lose the weight (and keep it off).
I can help you with all of this and more!
If you want to know more about how I did this, and how I could help you, why not sign up to my newsletter! You’ll get regular tips and ideas to help you change YOUR attitude to losing weight and maintaining weight loss, and realise it doesn’t have to be complicated at all.
Or better still, BOOK ME for your free, 30 minute chat to see how I can help you!
*For more on eating according to 80-20% principles check out this link.