MY TIPS AND TRICKS
When I mentioned my New Year's Resolution to keep on shifting the lbs, a couple of you asked how I was doing it. I wanted to share my experience with you, but also wanted to hit a milestone before doing it....and I've finally done it!
Let me start with a disclaimer. If you're looking for a 'how to' guide you're not going to find it here. Losing weight isn't easy and experience has taught me there's no suit-all formula behind it. I don't want to preach to you all with dos and don'ts, but if you want advice on the journey as a whole then look no further.
Find what works for you | Over recent years I have tried so many different ways to lose weight. Protein shakes, Weight Watchers, calorie counting, fad eating, Slimming World, exercise plans....none of it worked. I'll put it out there that low carbs is what's done the trick and helped me shift 21lbs since mid-October, but I'm very aware that carbs are not the enemy. I still eat them (more so on exercise days), but always try to keep in mind that I want to keep my intake low. I realised a while back that my everyday diet was predominantly carb-based so by lowering the amount I eat, I think it's led to me eating a more balanced diet thus helping to shift the weight. Point is, what works for some won't necessarily work for you (Lizzie is a Slimming World fan and had great results, but I only put on more weight) and it's more or less trial and error until you find your groove.
Buddy up | Dieting is pretty soul-destroying alone. Going out to dinner but being the only one watching what they eat can be difficult, not to mention awkward when the result is you're a much pickier eater than normal. I've always found the key to my weight loss is having a friend doing it as well; Lizzie and I do weigh-ins every Tuesday and I've got a friend at work following the Atkins plan who I know I can text when I need advice or a pep talk!
Set goals | So my goal back in October was to lose 19lbs, for no other reason than that was a weight I remember being at and feeling good about myself. That in itself can be quite daunting, so I've set myself mini goals in between....to hit a certain weight by Christmas, by a friend's birthday and again by the end of January....and for each of them I managed to surpass the figure I had in mind. They were small and achievable (sometimes only a 2lb loss) but it helped to keep me on track and limit any chances for huge disappointment.
Remove temptation | The more I started eating cleaner, the less I felt the need to put treats and snacks in my basket on my weekly shop. If they're not in the house to begin with, there's no way you can binge on anything naughty and feel bad about yourself after! Now that I've got much more of a handle on my eating habits, I've allowed myself to buy a pack of cookies per week, safe in the knowledge that I'll only ever eat one a day (if that) and won't fall off track. In fact, I've had an Emergency Chocolate Bar in my bag since November which I can't see myself eating any time soon....how's that for willpower!
Exercise | they say that the key to losing weight is 70% diet and I definitely agree with that. I always went to the gym but as I've said, for years I saw no measurable results. But now that I'm on my way, I really would recommend signing up to classes or just trying to move more in general. I go spinning twice a week which allows me to sneak in an extra treat or two on those days "for energy". Yeah right. Either way, I feel far less guilty as I know I'll be burning it off come the evening and it's an amazing feeling to push your body past any expectations you had. Not to mention the endorphin-rush I get at the end of a particularly hard-going session. My next step is to introduce resistance and weight training into my routine to start to tone up more, and to go back to Body Balance classes as a way of stretching out and relaxing at the end of each week.
Persevere | Anyone who tells you that losing weight is easy, or offers a quick-fix solution, is lying. I've mentioned it before; I lost over 5st around 7 years ago and watched my weight slowly creep up by 2st without managing to do anything about it. My eating habits had changed so much that I didn't know how to put things right again and it was a real blow to my confidence feeling pretty much helpless and hating what I was doing to myself. As I said earlier, finding what works really is key and once you've got it you'll be well on your way. Celebrate every success, no matter how small, and try not to see any setbacks as total failures. Remember that even if you've gained 1lb one week, you're probably still so much closer to your goal than when you started. Focus on where you're heading and keep going.