There’s no doubt that the health impacts of being overweight, initiatives aimed at solving the nation’s obesity problem and different diets are almost constantly in the headlines. In one survey of New Year’s Resolutions, 48% of respondents said that they wanted to lose weight.
As someone who struggled to lose weight and keep it off for many years before finally finding success, I understand only too well the difficulties people face. I have coached many clients to successfully lose weight and keep it off.
Here are my 10 key tips for successful weight maintenance:
Don’t be hungry. OK, so that sounds impossible right? You have to eat less to lose weight surely? Well, yes, but in fact you don’t need to feel hungry…if you are overweight you are carrying around plenty of fuel in your fat stores. Once your body recognises the existence of these stores, you will not feel hungry and will lose weight easily and naturally. The key therefore is to unlock these fat stores for your body to recognise. Usually this means reducing how much easy calories you are eating, such as sugars and refined carbohydrates, making sure you are eating enough protein (which is very satiating) and reducing those lifestyle factors that enhance hunger such as lack of sleep, high stress and inflammation.
Enjoy your food. Don’t follow a diet plan which includes foods you don’t like. If you are going to make a permanent change to your lifestyle and keep your weight under control for good, you have to enjoy your food.
Understand how your food choices affect you. Does a slice of cake leaving you craving sugar for days? Does dairy cause digestive issues? Do certain foods cause your ankles to swell or your joints to ache? When you start eating peanuts do you find you can’t stop? Understanding whether certain foods that trigger over-eating, or inflammation will help you tailor your way of eating.
Focus on health not weight. Trying to reach a particular weight on the scales can, potentially, put your goal a long way in the future. It is hard to keep focussed on that far off target. However, every time you make healthy food and lifestyle choices you are improving your health. Make your target to improve your health every day: that way every day, even every meal can be a small win!
Believe in your new way of eating. Following on from understanding how food choices affect you, comes the development of complete belief that your way of eating is right for you. People who avoid certain foods because of religious strictures or severe food allergies have no problems at all with not eating these foods: they have no doubt that these things are not to be thought of as food (for them) at all. The more you believe, the easier it will be to keep to a healthy lifestyle.
Address stress. Stress, from whatever cause, will increase hunger, trigger sugar cravings, affect your sleep and undermine your healthy eating. Don’t underestimate the impact that stress has on your health and weight!
Sleep well. Like stress, poor sleep will make weight loss (and health) hard going. If your lifestyle or health conditions are impacting your sleep, take action to improve these as a priority.
Discover hidden causes of inflammation. Inflammation is a form of stress on the body, and has numerous possible causes, including reactions to the food you eat, your underlying health conditions, environmental exposures, injuries and infections.
Tailor your way of eating to fit your lifestyle. If your attempts to eat and live more healthily don’t fit with your life, it is going to be extremely hard to keep them up. Look at what is stopping you from eating more healthily or adopting healthier habits: how can you change your food choices, how and when you eat or exercise to fit in with your work and home life? Once you have found a way to create a routine that works for you, weight loss, weight maintenance and good health will come easily.
Get support. Doing it all on your own is hard, enlist as much support as you can to help you. Professional advice to help you tailor your lifestyle to promote weight loss and health together with coaching and practical advice will be invaluable. Why not get in touch with me to find out how you can take charge of your health and your weight and make real, permanent changes?