Article by John Lingley, Personal Training and Wellbeing Coaching, Aspirations Coaching
Successful Weight Management
The dieting industry is a multi-million pound business with many people and organisations promising you great results in a very short space of time. Many of these diets are expensive, unhealthy, and will only produce short term results.
The only way to produce long term results where you not only reduce weight and maintain it is to do it slowly and gradually so that your health will not be compromised, aiming to lose approx. 1-2lbs per week.
Research has shown that a combination of dieting and exercise will produce the best long term results. Dieting can be stressful so exercising can reduce one’s stress as well as reinforcing the feel good factor of reducing one’s weight. Also taking action against your situation and not procrastinating over it can be very empowering as you feel you are doing something to resolve it.
Do you really want to lose weight or do you want to lose body fat?
I often ask this question and most people say that if they could tone up their physiques it would not really matter if they weighed the same!
Linford Christie weighed approx. 18st and had a body fat of approx. 4% when competing in the Olympics and his physique wasn’t too bad!
Resistance training using, weights or body weight is an essential part of weight management programmes as it will help to reduce body fat and preserve muscle tissue when losing body weight. As muscle is a calorie burner and fat is a calorie storer, a muscular body will burn more calories enhancing effective weight management.
Key strategies to achieve the physique that you want
It is not always the motivation that precedes taking action to change behaviours. If someone takes action first the motivation can quite often follow especially if initial goals are achieved.
Results versus excuses.
We can all come up with as many excuses as to why we are not achieving what we want in life and weight management is no exception! Common excuses are: not enough time, working long hours, business lunches, children’s parties, social occasions, on holiday etc. The fact is the excuses will not give you the results that you want!
Cause and effect.
Being at the effect side of the equation means you will forever be blaming outside events for you not achieving what you want. Being at cause means that you are taking responsibility for decisively creating what you want from life and what you want to achieve.
Ultimately we are all responsible for the way that we think, act and behave. You are the only person who can achieve your weight management goals. The responsibility lies with you.
Stimulus and response.
Between the stimulus (wanting to overeat) and response you have that great human gift….choice. Be reflective and think about what will happen if you go ahead and overeat. Visualise yourself being overweight, is that what you truly want? Creating this gap can be enough to build your awareness of your thought pattern’s and stop yourself overindulging.
By the nature of this very term it is as if you are losing something. Body toning can be a better term. The truth is you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. A slimmer, fitter physique, more energy, a great sense of achievement!
There is no failure only feedback.
If you find that you do put weight back on view it as a minor setback not a complete failure. Avoid judging yourself as this can make you feel down about yourself which can lead to using food as a comfort. Instead except that it has happened and use different strategies to prevent the same thing happening again.
Focus on what you want not what you don’t want.
It is important to focus on the physique you want to achieve rather than focusing on what you don’t want, the physique you have now. You are then moving towards what you want. Spend a few minutes every day visualising what it will be like when you achieve what you want: slimmer, toned, more energy, feel good about yourself, the compliments others will give you etc. Place a photograph of what you want to look like on your fridge door to remind yourself of what you are moving towards.
Pros and Cons.
What are the pros and cons of losing weight and exercising? Write them down in two different columns. The pros will be all the great things that you will achieve as a result of losing weight and how life changing it will be! Focus on this list daily and place it within easy access to remind yourself of all of the benefits that can be achieved.
If feeling the urge to overeat have four different countering strategies to distract yourself every time you have these thoughts, doing a few sit ups is a good example of an effective distractor!
Develop a plan.
All great things are achieved with the help of a great plan! Identify any problem areas in advance and how you are going to counter them. Plan your meals, shopping and exercise sessions in advance and make a contract with yourself to stick to the plan.
Nobody ever said that dieting was going to be easy. The feelings, thoughts and sensations with dieting and exercise can be uncomfortable but by confronting them instead of avoiding them helps you to achieve what you want and something that you value. Also it gives you the great sense that you are getting control over your eating habits instead of them controlling you!
Make your environment weight management friendly! Avoid having high calorie foods in the house. Also be wary of the associations that the mind makes with certain situations such as always eating when in the kitchen or watching television. Use counter measures as outlined above.
It is important to set goals as you will have a target in to aim for. It is crucial that the goals are written down! Have immediate, short term, intermediate and long term goals. For example the immediate one could be that you shop for healthy food and do some exercise within the next 24 hours! Break the goals down into small steps (1lb per week) then the larger goals will not seem to be so unachievable. It is the daily activities that result in achieving the long term goals.
Mind your language!
The language you use is important to support you to achieve the results that you want. Using phrases such as ‘I WILL be slimmer. ‘I AM going to achieve what I want’ is far more empowering than using phrases such as ‘I will try’ or ‘hopefully I will achieve this’
When you achieve your targets give yourself a reward, a new dress or pair of trousers can be a good motivator!
- Eat healthily – Choose healthy choices: oily fish high in omega 3 (salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, herring) Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, poultry. No foods are banned, allow yourself limited indulgence every week.
- Portion control – Eat off of a smaller plate this will reduce portion sizes and give you the illusion you are eating a full meal
- Eat breakfast – Always eat breakfast as this will kick start your metabolism and help to avoid snacking mid-morning.
- Mindfulness – Be fully present when eating your food. Eat slowly and chew the food properly, putting your utensils down regularly during your meal. Develop sensory experience. What does the food taste like, smell like, look like etc.
What do you find works best for you? We’d love to hear your ideas or if you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below!