How to lose weight and keep it off

    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…

    how to lose weight and keep it off

    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.

    Ask yourself

    • Why do I want to lose weight?
    • What is important about that? And then again…
    • What is important about that answer?

    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!

    weight loss

    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)…

    • sight
    • touch
    • hearing
    • taste
    • smell

    Let’s have some examples, maybe a…

    • Song that you have on a CD in your car. Every time you get in your car you put that song on and it motivates you, reminds you, gives you that little pep talk… ‘Ah yes, this is WHY!’
    • Photo of something, maybe your kids (reminding you that you want to be fit and healthy because of your responsibility to them)
    • Picture of you at the weight you prefer
    • Mug with a quote on, a piece of jewelry
    • Absolutely anything you connect your motivation with

    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

     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?

    • High sugar foods/drinks are broken down by body to glucose rapidly
    • This leads to a quick rise in blood sugar
    • Insulin is released from the pancreas to lower the blood sugar and to transport the sugar into the cells to be used for energy
    • If more sugar/carbohydrates are ingested than needed by the body for energy, a certain amount can be stored as glycogen by the muscles (500g) and the liver (100g).
    • When these storage sites are full, further sugars (including carbohydrates) are converted into body fat and stored around the organs and under the skin, particularly around the middle

    At the same time as insulin is released, the release of glucagon is reduced.

    Excess sugar

    And glucagon is a fat burning hormone.

    So we have this scenario where

    1. The excess sugars are converted to and stored as body fat
    2. And the fat-burning hormone glucagon is reduced

    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.

    For example,

    • Imagine 1 on the scale is just noticing hunger, 10 is famished.
    • A good plan is to begin planning for food around a 2-3. So that you do not get to the really ‘starving’ level where you just grab anything to make the feeling stop!

    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.

    • Imagine 1 on the scale being ‘starving’ and 10 being stuffed, uncomfortable, sluggish and tired!
    • Eating to a 7 on this type of scale where you feel energised and comfortable, is beneficial.

    These scales can help you identify if you are overeating and give you a simple tool to gauge it by.

    5  Movement and Exercise

    weight loss

    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…

    • Biking
    • Trampolining/rebounding
    • Yoga/pilates
    • Running/jogging/sprinting
    • Walking/dog walking
    • Gym/weight lifting
    • Swimming
    • Tennis/badminton/squash
    • Dance
    • Football
    • Playing tag with your kids
    • Martial arts
    • Exercise machines
    • Physical fitness programs

    how to lose weight

    Mental Rehearsal

    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.

    It involves

    • Firstly, picturing or visualising yourself going through the particular activity step-by-step
    • Imagining what it will be like
    • Strategies can be developed to any specific hurdles to success that may be encountered through brainstorming
    • Engaging the senses to really imagine what it will be like, what noises will you hear, what smells, what sights etc
    • Always picture success – always visualise winning, feeling great, connecting with the feeling of success and achievement

    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,

    • See yourself feeling great
    • Imagine how that feels
    • You may well find that you are able to more easily motivate yourself when the time comes to really leave your covers!

    want to lose weight

    6 Self-Care

    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…

    • walk in nature
    • walk by the sea
    • listening to music
    • bubble bath
    • foot bath
    • painting your nails
    • reading a book
    • meditation
    • exercise

    self care

    Pulling it all together

    • First off, know WHY you really want to lose weight
    • Connect with that so strongly and have it ‘in your face’ all the time through anchors
    • Get real about the effect of different foods on you, especially sugar. Try daily journalling
    • Tune in and develop you internal signals of hunger and fullness to you can hear them, and choose to listen to them
    • Discover which forms of movement and exercise you enjoy and can commit to. Try mental rehearsal because the effect is powerful
    • And finally be kind to yourself, nurture yourself. As a result you are less likely to use food to make you feel treated, loved

    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!