Being overweight is no fun at the best of times, and exposing a flabby stomach or chunky thighs isn't exactly pleasant for you when everyone else around you is wearing gnat-sized beachwear and drizzling oil onto wasp-like abs and arse cheeks. In fact, for people carrying excess weight, summer can be an unpleasant trial involving countless opportunities for embarrassment and discomfort. So let's take a look at how you can reduce your body fat and make the summer a happier experience. But first, a warning;
Weight Loss Trap
One guaranteed way to fail is to look for a short cut weight loss method or diet. You know what I mean: the type of program that promises "a fast effortless way to reduce your weight". In my experience (and probably yours, too!), none of these diets or pills actually work and the latter can in fact be lethal, as online sales of fat burning pills have rocketed during lockdown and human tragedy has been the result. The medical evidence is quite clear - the maximum rate of sustainable fat loss is between 1 and 2 pounds per week, perhaps a little more if you are in the obese category. Besides, if a brilliant scientist did manage to concoct a formula for rapid effortless weight reduction, overnight he would be more famous than Einstein. He certainly wouldn't be peddling his program in 30-second YouTube and Facebook ads or mail-order advertisements. So for the sake of your sanity as well as your health, don't waste time on weight loss methods that make extravagant claims. If you don't believe this, think of any of your overweight friends who favour the short-term ‘lose 20 pounds in two weeks’ type of approach, and ask yourself why they are still overweight.
The 3 Month Mark
You can't lose much weight in a week or two. You need about three months to make a significant and noticeable impact on your body shape. Remember, the human body is interested in survival, not aesthetics, and since rapid weight loss is a prima facie symptom of disease, not good health, the only guaranteed way to improve your body shape is to adopt a gradual approach of healthy eating and increased exercise. In three months, you can lose about 26 pounds - more than enough for most overweight people to experience noticeable health improvements as well as a much leaner looking body. Plus, by reducing your weight gradually in this manner, you have far less of a chance of regaining the weight, so if necessary you can continue losing more with less danger of incurring a long weight loss plateau or other obstacle.
You Need A Motive
No one likes to change their habits. So if you want to change your eating and exercise habits, you need a strong motive - something to keep you dieting and exercising when boredom sets in. Whatever motive you choose, it must be something more powerful than the urge to eat tasty high calorie foods when you feel like it!
A Good Motive For Weight Loss
Anything that commits you in advance to achieving your weight loss goal, makes a great motive. So, be bold. Book an expensive beach holiday, or buy some gorgeous clothes to fit the body you want to have at the end of your diet program. Both of these actions require you to succeed, and therefore provide constant motivation along the way. Read more here in our short article on motivation!
Be Positive About Short Term Sacrifices
Whether you're trying to lose weight, save money or pass exams, an important piece of the motivational jigsaw puzzle is your ability to be and stay positive about making short term sacrifices, for the long term goals. The choice is fairly simple: you can focus on the deprivation involved in giving up certain foods, or you can focus on the benefits you will reap by not eating these foods, in the long run. One 'treat' or 'cheat' day here and there doesn't ruin the process! Sadly, many dieters focus on feeling deprived. After a while they see their diet as a burden, a bore and an evil necessity. This is why so many people relapse. Many people trying to lose weight see these restrictions as dictatorial, restrictive and, frankly, boring. If we take a step back, we can all see the big picture, but when the fridge is full and your brain is telling you it wants food, then temptation overrides common sense. If you want to improve your body shape and your overall health, you must avoid this trap and appreciate the longer term benefits you will receive by making short-term adjustments to your lifestyle.
The Good News About Improving Your Diet
Many of our tastes, food cravings, and general attitudes to food are strongly influenced by what we eat and drink. I know families who have reported astonishing changes in their personal and family eating habits after less than three weeks of improved eating. The point is, the average modern diet is loaded with sugar, fat and sodium (salt), all of which condition us to want more! Criminal isn’t it?! But if you can break out of this dependence on junk-ingredients for even 2-3 weeks, you'll notice a huge difference in your tastes. Which brings me to healthy eating.
Think Healthy Eating, Not Weight Loss
In my experience, one of the most effective weight loss strategies is to focus on healthy eating. I'm not saying you shouldn't stand on the scales everyday and calculate your average weight los or gain at the end of each week, just don't measure progress exclusively by what the scales say. NSVs (non scale victories) are going to be a huge contributor to this journey. Be aware that it's just as important to enjoy your food and feel good about your change of eating habits. Any diet you hate is pretty much guaranteed to fail, no matter how much weight you lose because as soon as you achieve your goal, you are more likely to return to your old eating habits and regain every pound lost. Here is a link to an article with a great little shopping list of some fantastically healthy foods which have a positive impact on your mental health, as well as your physical health!
Exercise Provides Wonderful Indirect Benefits!
Exercise does burn extra calories and therefore does help to widen your calorie deficit. But its direct effect on weight loss is typically quite small. In fact, it's not uncommon to gain weight when you start exercising. The real weight reduction benefits of exercise are indirect ones. It raises our metabolic rate, helping us to burn calories at a slightly faster rate, and improves our mood, which typically reduces our need for comfort eating. However, don't overdo it with your exercise. I've lost count of the number of dieters who started exercising too vigorously and burnt out within 3 weeks or so. Ideally, start with 30 minutes per day of any physical activity you can easily manage, and very gradually increase the duration and intensity. Listen to your body at all times, and be sure to loosen up beforehand and wind down afterwards.
See Yourself As You Want To Be
If your goal is a waistline you can proudly display in the sun, then don't wait until it happens to see it. Visualise it from the moment you begin to introduce your new, healthy eating habits. Visualise yourself walking along a beach, or lying next to the pool with a flat tummy. See the goal! Whatever your ambition for your weight, body or health, get used to visualising it in the greatest possible detail. Because seeing it is the first step to making it come true. As they say (whoever they are...), a picture is worth a thousand words!
Feeling Discouraged? Just Visualize The Benefits!
If you have a lot of weight to lose (100 pounds+), you may not think that losing 26 pounds in three months is particularly worthwhile. If so, ask yourself this question. What's the alternative? No matter what method you choose, you won't lose weight any faster, so it's only a question of when you start and how long it's going to take. I can answer the last question right now. Losing 100 pounds takes about a year - typically a little longer to allow for disasters along the way. Fifteen months would be a more realistic time span to reduce weight by this kind of amount. This is nothing. Just visualise yourself walking down the street 100 pounds lighter, and tell me that eating healthily for 15 months is too high a price to pay for such a wonderful prospect.
Your First Priority - Get Support
If you really want to lose weight, your first priority needs to be to find support. Losing weight on your own is perfectly possible, providing things go well and your scales keep saying nice things. But when difficulties arise, as they surely will, having the support of a real person can make all the difference between success and failure.
Get in touch today and book your FREE 30 minute consultation with Georgie - no obligations, no catches or small print; just a chat.
So what do you think? If you'd like to hear more about this sort of thing, get in touch here and ask away. I look forward to hearing more from you all and thank you to those readers who've already been in touch and have chatted to me; it's always a pleasure. Stay well everybody.
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