Have you ever thought that you need to lose weight to be a perfect size 10? Let’s face it, very few of us are, and most of us shouldn't be, so making that a goal for weight loss is possibly going to cause you some anxiety. Weight loss should be about much more than changing your 'weight' it is about reducing your fat stores (if they are in an unhealthy range), increasing muscle mass and gaining health.
Often, we begin our weight loss journey filled with excitement, enthusiasm and a misguided idea of the ‘ideal body”. After a couple of weeks when we haven't lost the 10kg we were hoping for, the enthusiasm starts to wear off, you begin to feel bad about yourself; anxious even and chips and chocolate seem like the comfort you need.
Realistically it has taken us 10 years or more to gain excess weight, so we can't expect to lose it in just a few weeks, or even a couple of months. This is going to be a longer journey than expected. It should also hopefully be a lifelong change to keep you happy and healthy for many years.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you reduce the stress and anxiety of “losing weight” and increase your enthusiasm for “gaining health”.
FIND THE RIGHT PROGRAM FOR YOU
Find a program that will work around your lifestyle, that you can enjoy for longer than a week and comes with a support person. You might need to consider the needs of your work and family life. Things like; can you cope with cooking a separate meal for you and your family if the program is quite restrictive? Will your family adapt to the changes you need to make? Does the program fit around your work schedule e.g. shift work can make some dietary changes really challenging and will you enjoy your program for months on end?
RELAX & CELEBRATE
Ever felt anxious around holiday time, birthdays, anniversaries etc.... worried that you will put on a lot of weight just from having a piece of birthday cake or glass of champagne? Life goes on around us, and these celebrations shouldn’t be avoided or make you feel anxious, as they are often special times we spend with our family and friends. Just enjoy your slice of cake and your glass of wine, and all those carbs you've been avoiding like the plague. Enjoy them and enjoy being with your family and friends, then get back on track. Having a break from “losing weight” is good for your soul and an occasional indulgence has very little, if any impact on your weight.
HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS
Remember it takes 7000 calories (29288kj !!!) to lose 1......single.......kilogram, so when the scales say you've lost 500g this week, don't be disappointed, you've burned 3,500 calories of fat or 14644kj that's a LOT of energy. You basically need to walk the dog for a total of 13 hours to burn that much energy. Also, gradual weight loss is more likely to be fat loss, not fluid or muscle loss.
Find a qualified health professional to help and guide you, to encourage you, congratulate you, support you and increase your nutrition and healthy lifestyle knowledge along your journey. It is a fact that this type of support will improve your weight management outcomes.
We can't control the areas of our body that we want to reshape first. Generally, you will see changes in areas that have a lower fat content, like your face, sooner than your stomach or the thighs which have a higher fat density even in lean people.
If you start going to the gym a few days a week or bump up your exercise in general (which is great by the way, well done!) you will be gaining muscle along with burning fat. Muscle weighs slightly more than fat and takes up less room. Just focusing on the scales can be deceiving, to avoid ‘scale stress’ take your measurements: bust/chest, waist and hips then when the scales say you haven’t lost a gram, but you swear your pants fit better than last week, you can check measurements to discover how many centimetres you have lost. Centimetres are far more important in the long run than kilograms, as it means you are leaner.
Find a buddy to share the journey with, it’s great for your motivation levels and for your stress levels because you have someone to talk to about how things are going as well as discovering that you aren’t ‘the only one’ struggling with life.
SCALES & NUMBERS AREN'T EVERYTHING!
If the thought of standing on the scales makes you feel anxious, just don’t do it. Pack them away out of sight, it isn’t the only way to measure your success. Do you have more energy? Are your clothes getting looser? Are people telling you that you look well? Do you feel strong? These are all ways to check your progress.
Try not to set unrealistic expectations of yourself and reach out and ask for help when you need it.