Monday, 17 April 2017

My 5 Top Tips For Your Weightloss Success

I want to be clear from the outset of this blog post, I don’t believe that anyone should embark on a weightloss programme in order to accommodate society’s norms or expectations. You may be 100% happy with your body at whatever weight it is, but the fact is that, like me at the start of last year, you may not be entirely happy with your body and weight at the moment, and it's fine to admit that too. It might be something that’s found its way into this years goals, or it may just be something you are considering but haven’t totally decided.
Yep - too many chins 

In June last year, I had seen one too many photos of me that I didn’t like. A bit too much flesh at the top of my arms, a few too many chins, and my size 16 waistbands were starting to feel snug. I’d always told myself that at almost 6ft tall, a size 16 wasn’t too big, but when I ventured onto the NHS website and my BMI put me into the overweight category I took action and, between then and now, I’ve lost 19lb, and 2 dress sizes. I haven’t done anything revolutionary, no juice diets, bootcamps or any other means of torture here, I love my food far too much for all that nonsense, but I thought that I’d share my top tips for weight loss with you in case you are about to embark on a similar journey.
*Note: I am not a healthcare professional, this is not medical advice and it is usually wise to seek medical advice before losing weight.
1. It’s not a diet, it’s a change of lifestyle
As soon as you declare that you are going on a diet you will immediately crave ALL of the chocolate, cakes, sugary drinks and crisps that the supermarket has to offer. It’s important to completely change your relationship with food, to educate yourself on calories and nutrition and to understand what you’re putting into your body. This is the only way that you will not only lose weight, but maintain the weightloss once it’s gone. My particular weakness was Haribo jelly sweets, and I would think nothing of polishing off an entire large bag whilst I waited for my train home during the evening. It wasn’t until I paid more attention to the calorie count that I realised that one bag was over 600 calories. That’s the average calorie count of a decent meal really, but it wouldn’t fill me up. Why was I eating it? It was boredom and routine, not hunger since a bag of Haribo isn’t going to fulfil any hunger for any amount of time.
It’s difficult at the beginning to understand where all of these excess calories are coming from, but once you do and you start to make educated choices, you will start to see results. That’s not to say you have to cut out all of the sweet treats or snacks, but there have been days when I’ve been dieting when I’ve eaten a giant piece of cake, but accepted that the calories are akin to half a meal and therefore only eaten a low calorie soup for my evening meal. Yes, I’ve felt hungry, but I’ve enjoyed the cake and consciously made the trade off. I wouldn’t recommend doing that all the time, but on occasion it’s fine.
2. Find an App that works for you
There are hundreds of apps for dieting. Some are free, some you have to pay for. I tried a few before someone recommended ‘My Net Diary’ to me. I loved it, you either get it to calculate your daily calorie intake based on how much you want to lose and by when, or you tell it how many calories you want to live on and it will calculate when you will have reached your target weight by. The database is massive, so you can find most foods in there to log, and it really helped me with my awareness of what I was putting into my body and the nutritional choices I was making. Even if that isn’t the right app for you, you will find one that you like, and once you do you should stick with it, adapting it to your different needs at different stages of your healthy eating programme. Even though I reached my target weight before the work Christmas party, I still use My Net Diary to monitor what I’m eating and maintain the weight I worked hard to achieve.
3. Find a friend
It’s not impossible to lose weight when you’re doing it alone, but the moral support of doing it with a friend or partner shouldn’t be underestimated. When I was losing weight I had the joint benefit of people on my team at work being on diets, but also my husband too. It made food choices much easier since people at work weren’t bringing in junk food to tempt me, and the Mr. wasn’t eating biscuits/crips/junk food either. It definitely helps if you work in tandem.
4. It’s a marathon not a sprint
From the outset you need to be realistic about the amount of weight you want to lose in any given timescale, and the amount of calories you can restrict yourself to. Reduce your calories too much and you will trigger a starvation effect in your body whereby it will try to hold on to every morsel that passes your lips. Weight lost in this way is also harder to maintain, as soon as you return to normal eating habits the body will remember the starvation and grab on to every calorie to store for future starvation cycles. It’s a vicious circle of yo-yo dieting that isn’t good for your body or your self esteem. I aimed at losing 1lb per week, which was sufficient to get me to my target, and you can find more information on the internet or from nutrition professionals on how many calories your body should be consuming as a minimum. It’s not the same for everybody, it depends on age, height, activity levels etc etc.
5. Reconnect with your body
About a week into my own weight loss journey, I was astounded to discover the feeling of slight hunger at certain times of the day. Yes, this was my body telling me that it needed some food, but the thing that astounded me was that I had become totally unfamiliar with this feeling. I actually couldn’t remember the last time I had felt hunger at all. That triggered me to question why I had been eating so much, if it wasn’t hunger, i.e. my body telling me it needed food, so it must have been habit/boredom/greed. Whatever it was, it was all of that unnecessary eating that lead me to being overweight in the first place. Some may find that feeling of hunger uncomfortable, but for me it was confirmation that I was doing what my body needed again. Nowadays, before I eat I question why I am eating, is it because my body needs sustenance or is it because of some other reason? This reconnection with self really helps.

I feel so much better now, and much happier with the way I look. I'm in maintenance now, and of course I've devoured Easter eggs, drank champagne and eaten too much at the chinese restaurant on various occasions. The trick is, don't beat yourself up. Tomorrow is another day and you can easily get back on the wagon.
Have you had some successes at weight loss? Do you have any helpful top tips?


  1. Well done, that's a tremendous result!
    I've lost a stone since December. While I was still within the desired weight range I was feeling flabby and bloated. I've stopped the snacks (crisps and chunks of cheese are my downfall), I don't eat after 6pm and replaced my huge bowl of Lidl Fruit and Fibre with fresh fruit, low fat natural yoghurt sprinkled with a mix of seeds. Bread and pasta is now always wholemeal and I've ditched the ketchup habit (full of sugar!)
    You're right, it's a rethink rather than a diet. Silly faddy diets can't be sustained, healthy eating is a joy and it's fine to eat chips and cheese occasionally! xxx

  2. Louise, you have done fantastically.
    And have to agree, that the main thing to know and realise is that it's not a diet. It's making small changes to your lifestyle. This makes them easier to consistently achieve. Achievement makes it all worth while. We all like seeing results.
    Looking forward to catching up with you soon.



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