Sunday

The 'Little White Lies' That Can Halt Your Weight-Loss Progress


Okay, so we all fib a little from time to time, but telling your friend her new outfit looks great (when you’re really thinking it’s a disaster!!) is pretty harmless. Lying to yourself about your own eating habits on the other hand, can wreak some real mental and physical consequences..

The trouble is that most of us do this without even thinking about it.

Now, I’m a big believer that once you’re aware of an enemy, it’s half beaten; so coming clean with yourself can certainly go a long way to helping you to finally losing weight – for good. Here then are 5 of the most common ‘little white lies’ we’ll kid ourselves with…

“I only eat when I’m hungry..”

When I’ve analysed  clients’ ‘food diaries’ in the past, this often turns out NOT to be the case; snacks eaten within an hour or two of a substantial meal, simply can’t be linked to ‘hunger’.

The desire for something to eat at these times, tends to be more ‘emotionally’ driven (stress, boredom, etc), rather than of a physical (actual hunger) nature

The tough part can be actually ‘being in the moment’ enough to recognise WHY you’re craving something to eat. Achieve this and you can more rationally begin to think of other, more healthy ways of coping with what’s really going on (relationship problem, financial worries, work stress, etc)

Dehydration is often a factor in craving food within a short time of your main meal. Again, being ‘in the moment’ enough to recognise this and you can blitz those untimely snack cravings on the spot, by drinking a glass of water and waiting for about 2 minutes; more often than not, your snack craving will have dissolved away.

“I’m not really a big drinker..”

Alcohol really can have a big impact on our weight. But we’ll often kid ourselves into believing we aren’t big drinkers, either because we’ve already cut-back, are comparing our self to other people who drink a lot more or we’ll justify weekend binging because we don’t drink through the week.

But as well as the high calorie content of the alcohol itself, a couple of drinks can have a negative knock-on effect. Knocking a few back drinks on Saturday night often leads to eating more at dinner, followed by going out for Sunday lunch, skipping the gym Monday morning, and giving into the office cakes on Monday afternoon. On the flip side, cutting back on booze helps you to feel “cleaner,” more in control, and motivated to eat healthier and be more active.

You’re level of desire to lose weight will determine how many sacrifices you’re prepared to make but if this one is on your list, you’ll almost certainly notice the benefits very quickly.

“I eat really healthily most of the time”

Most of the time…??? It’s what we’re eating the REST of the time that causes the problems! ‘Occasional treats’ such as weekly takeaways, pub lunches, office cakes, weekend wine downs and whatever catches our eye in the petrol station while we’re queuing to pay, all seem to elude being added to our mental calorie tally. Meaning that while some people genuinely believe they’re doing well, the reality is that on a day-to-day basis, while they don’t pig out, they’re not exactly earning any gold stars!!.

But being mindful enough to acknowledging that you could be looking at your diet through rose tinted glasses, is usually the first step to turning things around. Only once you come to terms with how you really eat, can you then go on to set yourself concrete goals that will improve your eating patterns.

“I can eat more because I work out a lot”

Many of us like to think of ourselves as “such an active person”, but in reality, it’s often wishful thinking.

Lots of my clients work full time, on top of juggling family and social responsibilities, which often leads to fitting in far fewer workouts than they’d like. When they do hit the gym, in fairness, they hit it hard, but many can only manage to get there two or three days a week, whilst continuing to eat as if they were working out every day!

Rather than following the same routine every day of the week, establish a “baseline” eating plan, for non-exercise days, then add to it on the days you work out. Mentally, it’s much easier to add to your plate, rather than take foods away.

Those sweets aren’t for me, they’re for [insert name of family member or friend]

Stocking up on packs of sweets, chocolate bars, ice creams and biscuits, then convincing ourselves they’re for someone else (Grandkids, partner, friend, etc) is a sure-fire way of self-sabotaging our weight-loss efforts. As a guess based on a lot of experience on this with clients, I would say that about 80% of snacks bought under this guise, are subsequently eaten by the purchaser.

If you think you might fall into this category and you still feel compelled to cram your cupboards full of temptations, try compiling a ‘Snack Diary’ for a couple of weeks, so you’re more aware of where they’re going. Or better still, how about coming up with snacks that you dislike, that can still be given to the person or people they were intended for..

Which ‘little white lies’ do you tell yourself..? Hit ‘Reply’ and tell me, I’d love to know..

Next Blog – We all know that sugar is bad for us, but did you realise just HOW bad..??

Saturday

Why Do We 'Give-Up' On Our Diets So Quickly?


The Top 7 Reasons We Give-Up On Our Diets
 
Even when it means SO much to lose weight, many people find themselves abandoning their attempts part way through and feeling like a failure. There are a number of reasons for this and awareness of some of these of up-front, can certainly help you in boosting your persistence and determination to stick at it...

Not Losing Weight Quickly Enough

Everyone wants ‘instant’ results. And I know that seeing quick results is key for staying motivated, feeling confident and inspired to stay on track, but it's important to put numbers into perspective.

If you aren’t seeing huge reductions on the scales each week, don't assume that your approach isn't working. Remember, shedding just a single pound of body fat is like melting a 500g tub of margarine off of your figure, which can make a huge difference in how you look, how your clothes fit and how you feel.

On the flip side, losing water weight, which is far easier and faster (and is cheating!), does nothing to change your body composition, and you can regain it all within a matter of hours.

So rather than getting hung up on numbers, focus on how you feel, whether your jeans fit looser, and how your body is changing.

Retaining An ‘Overweight’ Mind-set

When you’re really serious about losing weight.. when it’s an absolute must, you’ll know that realistically,  you’re going to need to make some sacrifices to boost your chances of continued success; and it’s also important to acknowledge up-front that breaking out of some of those old habits is not going to be easy.

Being aware of and accepting these realities in advance, will help to create a degree of expectation in you, allowing you to be more mentally prepared for those inevitable tough choices ahead.

Eating healthily and being disciplined with your exercise all week is fabulous; but if you then think, “I’ve been really good all week, so I deserve to go out and binge all weekend”, then that is an example of clinging on to an overweight mind-set.. and it’s likely to lead to you also clinging on to your excess weight.

What does losing weight really mean to you? If you could be the exact size and shape you desired and were able to wear and feel good in any clothes you chose, what would all that truly mean to you? With those thoughts in your mind, what are some of the foods or habits that you would be happy to forego, in exchange for a chance to work toward and achieve that dream?

Trying To Do It Alone

This is probably the top barrier my clients face when trying to stick with a new lifestyle approach.

It’s easy to understand why people ‘keep it to themselves’ when first setting out on a healthy eating regime; if it all goes wrong, no-one will be any the wiser. But therein lies the problem; it’s crucial to have the support and encouragement of those people around you to help you get through some of the inevitable ‘tough’ times you’re likely to encounter.

Often though, it’s our partners, friends, family members, and co-workers that are the ones who are happy to skip the gym, offer you ‘naughty’ tempting treats or suggest social activities that revolve around unhealthy patterns, such as take-aways, unhealthy snacks or excess alcohol.

If this is the case, of course it’s important to recruit the right kind of support. Team up with another health conscious co-worker to eat lunch with, connect with like-minded friends via email, text, or online, and celebrate your own successes by giving yourself regular pats on the back or healthy rewards for getting through challenging situations.

Even something small, like a song download, new app, a 10-minute chair massage, or a single fresh flower for your desk can help you stay in an empowered frame of mind that makes it easier to cope when there is limited support from others.

Slipping Up On Difficult Days

Regardless of how great you feel after revamping your eating habits and regularly hitting the gym, there are going to be days when you'll want to give up.

The truth is that it does take more time, energy, and awareness to live more healthy. So after a stressful day, when you're already tired and you still have to cook dinner, you may feel like throwing in the towel. Plus, we're practically programmed from birth to turn to food as a way to soothe, escape, reward, and comfort ourselves - so when you're mad at your boss or partner, foregoing a healthy home-cooked meal and ordering a take-away instead, sort of go hand in hand.

When you feel that urge, connect with your ‘support’ buddy, focus on the rewards of staying on track that go far beyond weight loss, like improvements in your mood, your sleep patterns and your self-confidence, and try to remember how great you feel when you're taking care of yourself. After all this, if you still end up falling off the wagon, start fresh the next day.

Losing weight is about consistency, not perfection, so don't let a ‘one off’ bad meal choice or a ‘one off’ bad day derail you completely. Steadily eating healthily and being active, with a few slip ups here and there, will produce far better results than streaks of strict days followed by an equal or greater number of indulgent ones.

Unrealistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic short-term goals for losing weight is pretty much setting yourself up to fail.

Most dieters want to lose large amounts of weight and aren't happy unless they lose 30%-40% of their body weight. When you set the bar unrealistically high and the time-scales too short, it can feel like you failed when you don't meet your goals. And when you think of yourself as a failure, this often triggers a return to old eating habits.

You might not fit into those skinny jeans just yet, but do try to keep in mind and feel positive about what you have achieved, rather what you have not.

For example, if you wanted to lose 3 stone by the Summer and you’ve actually lost 1, that does not mean you’ve failed; it means you’ve succeeded in reducing your weight by 14 lbs of body-fat; the equivalent of 50000 calories..!!! Fifty thousand calories is a fabulous achievement and when you think about it, when you originally set that ‘3 stone’ target, you really didn’t have any way of knowing what pitfalls, hurdles and obstacles lay ahead.

The point here is to set your targets realistically and embrace what you’ve achieved.

Not Increasing Our Activity Level

Some people just don't like to exercise, or have physical limitations that prevent them from doing it. But if you’re serious about making consistent progress with your weight-loss, you need to find some form of physical activity that you can do most days of the week.

If there is one behaviour that predicts weight loss success, it is being physically active on a regular basis.

Even if you already have an active job; if you’re active at work and overweight, that means that the calories you’re burning at work are being balanced by the calories you’re eating. On this basis, in order to lose weight you would still need to increase your activity levels, decrease your calorie intake or better still, both.

Physical activity brings about many health and psychological benefits aside from weight loss and exercise does not have to happen in a gym. Try gardening, dancing, walking, bike riding, swimming, or playing tennis, whatever you enjoy. The key is to start slowly and gradually increase your intensity.

Not changing Our Environment

Willpower alone is not going to get you to your weight-loss target. To be successful losing weight, you need to create a diet-friendly environment at home, at work and socially.

If you want to succeed, you need to make changes in your environment so you are not constantly dealing with or resisting temptations. There is much to be said about keeping temptation out of harms way.

For example, if there are unhealthy snacks in the cupboard or the fridge, how likely are you to be tempted by them? But if they weren’t there, how likely is it that you would venture out, just to buy this rubbish? Chances are the probability has reduced. Taking it further, what if there we’re plenty of healthy snacks in the house, but no unhealthy ones... wouldn’t that reduce the probability of you indulging in something unhealthy even further?

Stock your kitchen with nutritious foods so you have ingredients on hand for healthy meals and snacks. Take nutritious snacks and meals with you when you're on the go, so you'll be prepared when hunger strikes. Remove the chocolates and sweets from your desk, skip ‘wine and nibbles’ after work with your friends; do whatever it takes to set yourself up for success, even if it means hanging around with different friends.

NEXT BLOG

Little White Lies..

How to spot and break free of those ‘little white lies’ that we tell ourselves, keeping us locked in an ‘over-weight mind-set’…