It’s January and, predictably, the bacchanalian end-days style feasting we enjoyed over the holidays compelled many of us to resolve to lose weight. But now that it’s nearing the end of January, most of these resolutions have been discarded as the cold has set in and comfort food has reached new heights of attractiveness. Take a look at these tips from the Wessex Scene on how to maintain weight loss!
The striking contrast between the general mood on the 1st of January and on the 21st of January, the most depressing day of the year, provides a clue as to why the majority of people break their resolutions in this mere 20-day gap. It is an illustration that the foundations to successfully losing weight lie in the mind, in the way we think about food, and not in setting strict, unsustainable rules on what you can and can’t eat.
Here, I impart my tried and tested tips on how to lose weight in a healthy, commonsensical and, most importantly, sustainable way that will have you admiring yourself in front of the mirror in your bikini /swim shorts by June!
Don’t be in it just to lose weight
This is the absolute most important tip. If your sole aim is to lose weight, you will probably fail because you will not see instantaneous effects and you will get discouraged. You have to want to be healthier and fitter to succeed at losing weight; which occurs as a lovely side effect of being at your peak health.
Be in it for the long haul
If you lose a significant amount of weight in one week it is likely that you will gain it all back and more the next week. This is because you will have deprived yourself of all the things you like to eat, feel cheated and then overindulge. Cutting calories dramatically can also make your body think that you have unwittingly got lost in a jungle and have nothing to eat but berries, causing it to go into starvation mode, in which it will store up all the fat you eat. Losing weight sustainably is a gradual process.
Change the way you think about food
In order to lose weight and keep it off without struggling against cravings every day of your life, the changes you make will need to be long-term lifestyle choices. This is why you need to change the way you think about food; so that you won’t want to eat loads of fatty foods. Recognise that food is essentially there to give us nutrients, not to satisfy our cravings. We often forget this and eat very quickly to satisfy ourselves, without even really noticing our meals. Your body takes 20 minutes to recognise that it’s full so eat slowly, enjoy all the flavours in your food and appreciate it; you will probably find that you eat less.
Rekindle your interest in food
Try some new recipes; use some ingredients you’ve never heard of. By trying new flavours and broadening your culinary horizons you will automatically pay more attention to what you put in your body. If you cook your own meals you will be aware of everything that goes into the recipe and you will appreciate the culmination of all the different flavours. When you go back to eating ready-made food that you stick in the oven, you will notice how bland and one-dimensional it tastes. Spice things up further with chillies; they boost your metabolism.
The thing which really grinds you down when undertaking a diet is all the things you can’t do. Rather than saying, ‘ I can’t eat cake’, ‘I can’t eat pizza’ make it positive and find recipes for healthier pizza and healthier cake. Put the emphasis on improving yourself instead of restricting yourself; this will make habits that stick for life.
You can eat naughty things
But recognize that they are naughty. If you keep them as treats then you will enjoy them so much more than if you eat them just because it was the nearest thing to hand.
Love your body!
This may sound counterintuitive but positive thinking is the key to losing weight, and punishing yourself about your body is more likely to make you reach out for the biscuit tin than anything else.
Do exercise that you enjoy
If you want to speed up your weight loss but keep it sustainable, find some exercise that you enjoy and that isn’t a chore. If you are the kind of person that thrives on a challenge, it could be jogging but if not, don’t punish yourself! If you are a sociable kind of person you could just mess around in the squash courts with some friends for a couple of hours.
The most important thing of all is that you understand that it is a long –term change. That means that you will inevitably fall off the wagon regularly. Life will get in the way and you won’t have time to cook; or you’ll go on a binge for a couple of days; or you’ll accidentally eat a whole tub of ice cream. As long as you change the way you think, you will always have the conviction and moreover, the desire to get back on it again.