Photo: Paul Preacher
I think that one of the reasons so many people fail to stick to a weight loss diet or fail to achieve their desired result is that their expectations are too high. On the other hand it’s possible to believe that its just too difficult to lose weight and that you are destined to remain unhealthy and obese. How can you get a balance between these two extremes?
Don’t do too much too soon. If you decide to live off lettuce leaves and apples to lose weight I can almost guarantee that you will give up before the second day is over.
Instead, why not choose one meal to focus on, say breakfast, and spend the first whole week making healthy breakfast choices.
Don’t expect immediate and sustained weight-loss. You wont lose half a stone a week every week. Remember that on programmes like The Biggest Loser, firstly most people have an awful lot of weight to lose, and secondly they are devoting 24/7 to their weight problem with professional help on tap.
Initial high weight loss is usual in the first week or two of a diet as you may lose fluid and become less bloated. After this a loss of 1-2lbs per week is completely normal, and sustainable in the long term.
Don’t assume you can go on a diet for a few weeks and then resume your previous eating habits.
A successful diet is not really about losing weight short term, it’s about building new habits that change your way of thinking about food.
Don’t assume that you will look great naked once you’ve lost weight. And don’t be disappointed if you don’t either.
Losing weight simply makes the body smaller. You may have to contend with loose skin and stretch marks. Exercise can help tone your muscles, and exercise habits should always be part of your ongoing maintenance plan. You are a work in progress.
Don’t assume its going to be easy. You may find weight loss difficult, you may dislike exercise, or you may do really well and then hit a plateau.
Consider joining a support group, enlisting family members to help, or joining an online forum. Other people can give you encouragement and new ideas.
Don’t have a celebrity role model. You will probably never look like Jennifer Aniston, or similar. Celebrities have a lot more time and money to work on their appearance compared to us normal folk.
Aim to lose 10% of your bodyweight, rather than an unrealistic high figure. A 10% bodyweight reduction is shown to be beneficial in terms of reducing risk factors for certain illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.
Don’t expect your bodyshape to change. If your top half is bigger than your bottom half, or vice versa, this probably won’t change. There is no such thing as spot reduction of fat, unfortunately.
Your measurements will probably come closer together however as you lose weight. If you are smaller there will be less disparity between the various parts of your body. Then all you need to do is learn to dress to suit your bodyshape.
So, if you are about to start a diet, try to look on it as a way of learning to change your unhealthy habits for the better in the long term. Remember that whatever size you are, you will still be the same person after you have lost weight. It won’t solve all your problems, but it could be a stepping stone towards being a new and improved “you”, and a healthy foundation for the rest of your life.