So I set myself some goals for August [ check them out here if you’re curious ] and one of the more important ones was to take the time to exercise and improve myself. I’ve gained weight over the last few years due to medications I take, lack of motivation, lack of giving much of a shit if I’m completely honest. But I’ve been looking back at old pictures I was jealous of.. me! It’s typical really because I’d kill for the figure I had 3-4yrs ago.. even though at the time I still felt like a hot mess and like I wasn’t good enough.. oh the irony!
But I’m tired of being all miserable about it and decided I’m going to be a better version of me. And it’s not for anyone else, it’s just for me and that little personal pep talk in itself has boosted me. I’ve found my self esteem gradually improve and I started to take notice of this, made a few changes to the way I think and the way I analyse myself and figured sharing it would be good for others who might also be in the same position.
So here are my top 5 tips on on how to stay on the weight loss train.
Set yourself realistic goals – Magazines and sponsored ads are everywhere telling you that you can lose 20lbs in a week by drinking some magic tea or by eating 3 grapes and a handful of almonds a day. It’s bollocks and quite frankly, dangerous. Don’t limit yourself to something you can’t sustain because when you fall off, and you will, you’re going to hate yourself and be right back where you started. At the same time, don’t tell yourself you’re going to run 10k every night because you’re not and you can’t unless you’re Mo Farah or a bloody gazelle. Scale it back and give yourself achievable goals.
I told myself I would work out 4 times a week for 30 minutes and it wasn’t restricted to running, or swimming.. it could be a combination of things that get me to my 30 minute target. This has worked so well for me and by not limiting myself to one thing it makes hitting my 30 minutes a lot easier and encourages me to do a little more.
Don’t beat yourself up – If you do slip a little or you simply cannot say no to that yum yum that your boyfriend brought home, don’t make it such a big deal. If you deny yourself everything you’re going to trip up and fall off the wagon a lot faster than if you gave yourself a little flexibility. I’ve eaten things I maybe shouldn’t have and skipped a day when it wasn’t my rest day and mayyybe taken an extra one. But who cares? By not beating yourself up about it means that you can turn it into a little motivation to put in a more effort the next time, or go at it for a little longer, or to make sure you eat just a little bit better. Don’t look at it as failure, look at it as a reason to do better next time. Because it isn’t the be all and end all.
Avoid your scales – They are evil and they will make you cry! But if you absolutely HAVE to make sure you weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you’d had anything to eat or drink. Weight can fluctuate like crazy over the course of a day and it can be the difference between 2/3lbs! So to avoid upset, stick to the morning rule.
We’re programmed to expect immediate results because we’re in the era of “instant”. We want to find out something.. it’s there at our fingertips, we want something the next day.. we use amazon prime and it’s on the doorstep.. we want to watch a show we missed.. it’s on demand ready for you. Plus all the “before and after” photos we get bombarded with don’t give you all the details of the hard work and time people have put in to get there. So if you’re anything like me you’ll eat well for 3 days, do 5 push-ups and then wonder why you don’t look like that skinny girl on the box of diet pills.
Personally I’ve found best way to track your progress is to take regular measurements and pictures rather than relying on the numbers at your feet. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you can get disheartened thinking nothing is happening even though things might actually be going in the right direction. Plus you don’t always “see” your body change until you look back at images of yourself – so it’s something I really recommend doing.
Drink shit loads of water – People really underestimate this, thinking it doesn’t actually do anything but it’s so beneficial in aiding weight loss. Drinking more and regularly helps to suppress your appetite, aids your body in burning more calories, helps reduce your water retention which can be a big scale tipper.. and helps your and feel fuller for longer.
Apparently drinking 500ml of water 30 minutes prior to eating your 3 main meals helps to DOUBLE your weight loss (over a 12 week period). So get chugging! I find that when I think I’m hungry, I’m actually just thirsty. So I down a glass and the hunger pang tends to go away so it really does help curb your appetite.
Don’t compare your progress to others – I don’t give a rats if Sandra down the street lost 6kgs in 2 weeks. I’m not bothered if Rita from your yoga class lost all her baby weight in a month; how fast or how slowly you lose the weight is not a reflection of the effort you are putting in. Every BODY is different and will burn/change/adjust at it’s own pace. What works for some doesn’t work for others and to be honest the faster you lose it by doing a crash diet, the faster you’re going to put it back on when it stops. I’ve been there myself.
It’s a gradual process and as cliche as it sounds, it is a lifestyle choice. You have to be willing to put in a little bit of time, a little bit of effort and keep that little bit of will power to say no to that extra slice of pizza at the weekend. It will all add up and once you incorporate this into your daily life, it’ll just become 2nd nature and you’ll see it all come together when you least expect it.
These are just the things I find that help me focus and stop me sobbing into a bowl of ice cream. If you have any of your own tips I’d be really interested to hear them!