Updated: Oct 3, 2021
Diet culture has caused many of us to associate losing weight with restriction and a focus on all the things we think we cannot eat or need to cut down on. Of course, restriction usually leads to reducing our calorie intake which in the short-term leads to weight loss, but is this sustainable long term? Read on for a more positive perspective on weight loss to help you with making more sustainable changes that may lead to a happier and healthier you!
Think about what you can add to your diet
Instead of focussing on what you need to cut out of your diet, think about what you can add in to improve the overall balance. Adding extra vegetables and lean sources of protein to your meals can really help with adding bulk, keep you feeling full, and satisfied that you have had a substantial meal. Consuming a variety of different foods, will also help to ensure that you are getting a range of different nutrients which will help to optimise your energy levels and your overall health.
Move in a way that makes you feel good
Doing some form of exercise is a great way to burn extra calories and speed up your weight loss but doing something you enjoy is key to keeping it up. If running is not your thing, or if you are not the sporty type then think of other ways you can move, as after all, any type of movement is exercise. Try taking up a new hobby, exercising with a friend or gradually increasing your step count. Do not set yourself unrealistic expectations, start slowly initially and see how you go.
Avoid categorising foods
When you are trying to lose weight, avoid categorising food as “good” and “bad” foods. There is a place for all food in our diet. If I were to tell you that your diet could only consist of chocolate, then of course this would not be a healthy way of eating but equally it would not be healthy to only eat broccoli - it is all about getting the balance right!
Make choices based on long-term success
Being overly restrictive when trying to lose weight is not the key to long-term success. If you are eating too few calories or feeling deprived, then eventually you will come off track. Research has shown that excessive restriction causes obsessing about food, especially “banned” foods which will more than likely lead to overeating or binge eating and regaining any weight that has been lost. Yes, in the short-term if you are very restrictive you will probably lose weight more rapidly, but in the long-term this way of eating is not sustainable, and you will not achieve lasting weight loss. Ask yourself; “Would I be happy to continue eating in this way long-term?”. If the answer is no, then think about how you can make some changes.
Avoid feeling guilty
Relapses are a completely normal part of everyone’s weight loss journey. The worst thing you can do is make yourself feel guilty with negative self-talk. So often, clients tell me that they have had one “bad day” and completely “blown” their whole weight loss journey. This is simply not the case! In the grand scheme of things, one “bad day” is not going to make much difference. The best thing to do is accept that we will all have “good” and “bad” days. Try to learn from what went wrong and move on as quickly as possible.
Eat food you enjoy
This one may seem obvious but time and time again I hear clients telling me that they are eating something because they think they should or because they think it is healthy. Sometimes people will go as far as eating or drinking something they dislike the taste of! If you are eating in a way that is not enjoyable, the chances are you will eventually come of track. Instead, try experimenting with new foods and recipes you have not tried to further increase your enjoyment of eating.
Ditch the “all or nothing” attitude
If you would describe yourself as someone with an “all or nothing” attitude towards most things in life, then think again before applying this to your weight loss journey. Even if you were to put in 80% effort rather than 100% effort you would still achieve surprisingly good results. Putting in 80% effort allows for some flexibility such as eating out with friends and family and enjoying more of your favourite foods. Remember that the best type of weight loss plan is one that is consistent and sustainable. I think most of us would agree that putting in 100% effort all the time is not sustainable.