Wow, are you confused? Do you want to lose weight but don’t know what to believe about healthy weight loss and healthy eating? There is so much conflicting information available!
Everywhere you look you can find articles, advice and information on how to lose weight.
Less on how to lose weight and keep it off, which is just as important if not more so. Especially as yo-yo dieting is proven to be hazardous for the body, and makes losing weight increasingly difficult due to the changes in metabolism it leads to.
So, just how do you lose weight healthily and keep it off sustainably?
1 The very first key to sustainable healthy weight loss is…
To know YOUR WHY… Why do you want to lose weight?
What is your motivation?
You need to connect to this WHY… It is key to long-term success; to stopping the spiral into quitting after a bad day, when you messed up as we all do from time to time. It keeps you focused and motivated for success.
Keep digging deeper.
It might go something like… ‘I want to lose weight because I know I should!’
But what is important about that?… ‘Well I know it is not healthy to be overweight.’
OK, but what is important about that? ‘Well… I have small children and I want to be able to play, do more with them, and be healthy and around for them.’
All of a sudden we have moved away from – I know I should, to… I want to live life to the fullest with my kids.
A powerful motivating factor right there!
And you can use that to fuel your dream and lose weight healthily.
2 So now we need to keep that motivation at the forefront of your mind!
A great way to do that is to create ‘anchors’.
These anchors work in the same way as an anchor of a boat. It keeps you where you want to be, right with your motivation.
Anchors are reminders in your everyday physical life of WHY you are making the changes you are making, especially in the face of temptation.
They need to connect with your senses (one for each sense is perfect, but don’t worry if you can’t quite manage that)…
Let’s have some examples, maybe a…
And keep your anchors very present in your physical environment, in different locations, work, home, car, kitchen, since temptation will crop up anywhere!
Finally, try them out for a week and see which ones work, replace ones that don’t with some new ones.
3 Which foods rob YOU of energy? Which foods give YOU energy?
Get curious about what foods are working for YOU (we are all individuals), and which ones are NOT.
Lots of people say things like,
‘Oh I know when I cut down on such and such, I lose weight’
‘When I eat… I feel horrible, sluggish, ill, tired, headache etc
Your body is giving you clues… listen, and get curious.
A Word About Sugar
For many people, if not all, sugar will give an initial ‘pick-me-up’ high followed by a ‘drop-in-blood-sugar’ low.
This may make them feel sluggish, causing them to feel like they need another pick me up. Consequently they reach for something sweet and sugary putting them on a ‘blood sugar roller-coaster’.
This is all too common, but what is going on in the body?
At the same time as insulin is released, the release of glucagon is reduced.
And glucagon is a fat burning hormone.
So we have this scenario where
A double whammy when we think about how to lose weight and keep it off.
Additionally the ‘blood sugar roller-coaster’ is a cause of physiological stress on the body. This promotes a rise in cortisol, stress hormone, which in turn raises insulin, feeding into this chaos.
It is easy to see why reducing the sugar intake is so key to health and weight. It is a major factor in both these areas.
How to lose weight and keep it off Overcoming Sugar Cravings
Sugar is addictive. Some people are more affected than others by its addictive nature. But as Dr Axe discusses here, overcoming this is an extremely worthwhile goal.
J J Virgin has a very interesting book and diet called the* Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Hidden Sugars, Lose Up To 10 Pounds In 2 Weeks which has really exciting results. It is reported to reduce the sugar cravings, addictions and can build in healthier eating habits for the long-term.
Which Foods Give YOU Energy?
We have talked a bit about considering foods that rob you of energy and in particular sugar.
Now let’s begin to get curious about which foods work well for you, which foods make you feel good, satiated, alive.
People sometimes struggle with this awareness initially but begin to check in with your body as you go about your day (and night).
See how you feel when you have eaten something and how you feel a couple of hours later.
Journaling is a very effective way to begin noticing the effect of different foods on your mood, energy, satiety and overall wellness. It is a practice which JJ Virgin most highly recommends and sees as key to successful weight loss.
4 Hunger and Fullness
So the next great awareness to build in is… When do you eat? And why? Over-eating can be a big issue.
Are you eating because you are hungry or are you eating for a different reason – perhaps you are thirsty, eating for comfort, socially, or as a compulsion?
How to lose weight and keep it off awareness is the beginning of making healthy choices. Eating is a very social activity and most cultures are built around eating together, it is a key part of community and family.
However it is important to begin to notice – are you eating regularly when you are not actually hungry for whatever reason?
Having a Hunger Scale is a helpful tool to begin noticing, and tuning in to your intuitive signals for nourishment.
You can easily create an internal scale of 1-10 for yourself.
Now we combine this with a Fullness Scale, and build in awareness of your level of satiety. Again make your own internal scale, 1-10.
These scales can help you identify if you are overeating and give you a simple tool to gauge it by.
5 Movement and Exercise
Here again you will find sooooo much information available.
But absolutely key is finding something you connect with, something you enjoy, something you will actually do.
So experiment, try a variety of activities, try taking a friend with you, going a team or a club so that it has ready built-in accountability and support.
Here is a list of various movement activities to consider but it is by no means exhaustive. See what other ideas you can come up with…
Many, if not most, professional sports people, as well as many in the coaching world, use a tool called mental rehearsal – a powerful technique to enhance performance.
Why does mental rehearsal help? See here for a simple discussion.
Strengthening pathways in the brain which are necessary for performance of the skills rehearsed, has been shown to result, repeatedly and is detailed here. It actually improves performance!
But it can also help you connect with the sense of achievement and how great you will feel after the event, the rush of endorphins.
So if you are someone who struggles with being motivated to, for example, get out of bed and go to the gym, but you decide you really want to do this… Simply try a daily mental rehearsal connecting the sense of achievement and energy you will feel after you workout,
Many people use food as a source of comfort, security or to feel good… self-medicating.
Creating a list of activities which nourish your very being can be a particularly effective way to cut down on over-eating for these reasons.
Again this involves brainstorming activities which you love, make you feel happy, good about yourself, nurtured and loved.
You will have your very own, unique list when created but here are some examples to get you started…
Pulling it all together
Successfully losing weight healthily and sustainably is usually about a holistic approach.
It is empowering and exciting, and can be completely life-changing.
Just know why you want to do and GO FOR IT!