Few of us understand or think about the biological changes that are taking place inside us when we embark on a weightloss journey. I love biology and I’m also very logical. I don’t like to be told “do this” – I want an explanation of why I should because that makes it easier for me to accept and stick to. As a result, I constantly read stuff on what’s going on internally and it’s helped me understand a couple of very helpful tips that I’d like to share with you.
Consistence – if you haven’t read my post on Ketosis, I’d really encourage you to do so (in the Practical but important stuff to know section). Whatever diet you are doing, some more so than others, you will be going into ketosis. Continue reading “3 key ingredients to Success!”
Losing weight or rather, gaining a happy body, is not simply about eat less, move more. If it was, the 98% who don’t keep it off would be a much smaller percentage. You have to learn to change your behaviours around food too and in fact, this is far more important because it’s the new behaviours that will keep you there.
Most people think about a diet as being “temporary“. I’ll eat this way until I can fit into that dress, I’ll do this until I hit the 10 stone 7lb mark, I’ll do this until my blood sugars get back into the normal zone. We don’t “plan” how we will change our behaviours and yet I think it’s the most critical thing.
One of the main behaviours you need to learn is not to give in every time an occasion presents itself. I hear many people saying “I’m having a shopping day with my bestie – I’ll allow myself a couple of treats” or “I’ve got a business dinner and it will be impossible to stick to” or “my mum is really ill so I need to allow myself off at times”.
There is one thing that is guaranteed when you’re losing weight; there will be plenty of excuses to come off your diet! The thing that distinguishes those that succeed with those that don’t is that those who succeed learn that a boundary is a boundary. You decide, this is what I have chosen to eat because I know it’s helping me lose weight and then you don’t cross that boundary no matter what. Yes it’s difficult! Of course it is. There is no better feeling the next day when you get on the scale and you’ve lost weight but even more powerfully, you realise that you fought hard through the temptation…. and won! You have stretched your comfort zone and that empowering lesson will remain with you for life!
We have all been brought up with free and easy access to foods that make us “feel better”, like chocolate, crisps, cake, biscuits, bread and butter. We tend to reach for these foods automatically when feeling a bit tired, stressed, down, angry or frustrated.
Everywhere you turn nowadays you hear the phrases “look after yourself”, “put yourself first”, “if you don’t look after you, how can you look after anyone else?”. Sadly, because we have learnt that sugary foods are comfort foods, a lot of people think that when they need to “care” for themselves, this means it’s ok to go and have a coffee and cake with a friend, go out for a meal with a delicious pudding and wine or simply curl up with a good movie and a slab of chocolate all to yourself.
I know it sounds like common sense when you see it written down that turning to sugary foods is not that great when we need self care, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a natural thing to do.
Self care means eating healthily. It means giving your body what it needs rather than what you “fancy”. Instead of turning to unhelpful foods, you could try some new treats like a candle and bubble bath with music and a good book, a walk in the countryside or on the beach, taking time out to sit in the sunshine with a magazine, re-introducing a hobby you haven’t done for years like knitting or perhaps doing a jigsaw puzzle. Try anything that shifts your brain from busy left brain to creative right brain and the emotional craving for the sweet stuff will disappear.
You may be interested to know that at the stage when I was seeing about 100 clients a week in my groups, about 60% of them were on anti-depressants. It has always interested me to findo I am not against them, in fact I’ve been on them myself for most of my adult life, but there are times when they are not helpful.
Here are a few examples;
Many women have come to me for help to lose weight and it has fairly quickly become apparent that they are very unhappy in their marriage or partnership. Often we don’t want to admit to ourselves how unhappy we are because we know that a major change needs to take place and the uncertainty of the future is crippling. In cases like this, food becomes a “coping” strategy which ironically brings about weight increase which causes lower self esteem, lower self confidence and more depression.
The same thing often happens when people are very unhappy at work. Perhaps they have a nasty boss or a colleague they really don’t get on with. The unhappiness goes on day in and day out and they resort to food and anti-depressants to cope with the situation when actually what they need is a change of job.
The third really tough one is when a person is grieving which is a major reason why people gain weight. I once brought in a specialist grief specialist to give a talk and her first bit of advice was not to take anti-depressants. She explained that anti-depressants suppress the grief at a time when we really need to be feeling the pain and expressing it. Apparently it takes at least 2 years to even start to overcome loss.
What anti-depressants will do is lift your mood when you are crippled by depression. It will lift you enough to have the energy to get out of bed and look for help. You would benefit from finding a counsellor or coach to talk to so you can get to the bottom of what is causing the intense pain and depression and when you’ve realised, work together to put a plan in motion to make the fundamental change that you need to make.
Look at the list below, quickly pick your top 5 and list them in order of priority.
Now think back to the last time you “lost the plot” and ate something you know is not part of your diet plan or had a little binge. Are the two connected? I’ll bet they are!
Because our values are our absolute priorities and really important to us, any time they are “threatened”, our emotions rise dramatically and it’s at that point we often resort to food to deal with the feelings.
Very often our families are involved because family is usually in the top 5. ie. If one of your parents is rushed into hospital ill, it becomes very difficult to stay on plan. If one of your kids is having a hard time at school with bullying, you will find it hard. If work is a high value and you hear rumours of redundancy, you are unlikely to cope with a diet.
It’s useful for you to spend time on the above list and really understand and absorb what your values are. You will then be forearmed to understand why things are not going to plan.
Just a quick question to finish off. Was health in your top 5? If not, that’s curious considering you are here looking to lose weight. Perhaps you need to think about that and see how you can move it up.
I was very young when I fell pregnant and “had to” marry my first husband. It soon became evident to me that he was mentally abusive and on a few occasions physically abusive too. He persuaded me that we needed to leave my country of birth to move to South Africa where I had no family and now had two children under the age of 2. I won’t go into detail but I endured a few years of hell before someone who witnessed his behaviour said to me “If you don’t leave, he will kill your children and you”. It was like a bolt of lightening had hit me and for the very first time, it occurred to me that I could leave him and I did.
Sadly, I didn’t have the emotional maturity or support to know how to move on and over the years I became bitter, resentful and angry at him for “ruining my life”. I couldn’t say anything positive about him and despite my efforts to never say anything bad about him in front of our boys, the boys have told me since that they were very aware of my hatred towards him. I carried it for years and it raged within me.
Some years later when I was still single, lonely, lacking in confidence and self esteem, a therapist suggested I forgive him. I was furious with her. How could anyone who had done so much damage deserve to be forgiven and I certainly wasn’t going to forget! Slowly, with her help, I learnt that I could forgive him within myself without him ever being aware of it and that by doing so, I could free myself to be happy again. It doesn’t change the fact that what he did was wrong – it simply means I’m choosing not to let it continue ruining my life.
If you struggle with your weight and there is something or someone you haven’t forgiven, the chances are that you will resort to comforting food whenever those emotions bubble up. And they will! Decide who or what it is that you need to forgive, simply do a little ceremony by writing it on a piece of paper and burning it or get some help if you need it. As you forgive, the feeling of relief is huge! It’s wonderful to let go of all the anger and let your mind and body fill with hope and love instead. And you will find you no longer need to resort to food to ease the pain.
I know many people who will not even contemplate losing weight because they are so scared of having saggy skin at the end of the process, so let me share with you the truth of what I have learnt over the years.
Firstly, I have had clients who have lost 6 stone (84 lbs) and had no saggy skin and clients who have only had a stone to lose (14 lbs) but have lots of saggy skin. It all depends on your skin type not your weight.
It’s not the weight loss that causes saggy skin. It’s the weight gain. The skin is simply stretched to a point that it cannot regain it’s elasticity. So if you are overweight and have the non stretchy type of skin, the damage is already done. Accept the fact, then decide which is more important; having saggy skin or being healthy and slim.
Some people lose sight of the fact that they have aged. I’ve had clients who have been overweight since their 30’s, lose weight in their 50’s and sub-consciously expect their body and face to look the same as it did back then. They are shocked by the new older looking self to the extent that some immediately put all the weight back on. People in that state need lots of support to work through it and unhelpful comments from others saying “oh my God you look ill” will not help!
Most surgeons won’t do skin removal ops until you have been a steady weight for 2 years. This is not to be mean or to test you. It’s because skin will continue shrinking for that amount of time after you’ve lost the weight.
Some of us need to be realistic, accept we will end up with saggy skin and then deal with the options;
Learn to accept your new body. Perhaps some counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy will help you get there if you are very unhappy. Constantly remind yourself that saggy skin won’t kill you. Being overweight will.
Constantly remind yourself also that only you and whoever else you choose will see your body. This sounds like common sense but actually, a lot of people who have excess skin “think” that everyone else can see what they look like under their clothes. With clever undies and good style choices, 99.999% of people will have no clue that you have a body you are not happy with.
For some, surgery is the only thing that will help them accept themselves. That’s ok.
You can help your skin regain it’s elasticity as much as possible as you lose the weight by drinking plenty of water, using plenty of moisturiser and taking bovine collagen tablets.
You could also read up on Autophagy and Fasting. Jason Fung is the guru in this area. He says that when you fast, your body is forced to process old cells and regenerate new ones and can literally shrink “old” skin. If you’re excited to know more, here is a video which explains it, although this one is not by Jason Fung.
This profound and enlightening statement was made to me by a client today. She has had a few weeks of doing beautifully but when her daughter became ill and fear overwhelmed her, she went straight back to eating unhealthy food. Why? Because food is how she copes with stress.
Because stress is such a guaranteed part of our lives, it’s important to find a different way to cope otherwise you will never lose the weight.
Have you had times when someone in your office seemed offish with you and you’ve immediately assumed you have done something wrong?
Have you had times when your partner seemed to hide their phone from you and you’ve assumed there is something bad going on?
Have you heard of a wedding or party going on that you have not been invited to and assumed they don’t like you?
It’s very common for overweight people to have low self esteem. Having low self esteem gives us a tendency to make a lot of assumptions; that we are not good enough, not pretty enough, not wanted because we are “fat” etc.
But often, we inflict that feeling on ourselves when it’s simply not the truth. The next time someone brushes you off, do one of two things. Either think to yourself “they must be having a hard day but I’m sure it’s nothing I’ve done” or simply go and ask them in a kind, non accusing way.
The thing is, if you assume its all about you, you are likely to feel really hurt or sad and those feelings are likely to make you eat. It would be better if you could rather change your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to those that help you achieve your goal of losing weight.
Do you spend your life comparing yourself to others and constantly feeling that you are not good enough?
Do you go to weigh at your club and wonder why everyone else seems to lose weight a lot faster than you?
Do you look at your best friend and wish you could be as pretty and popular as her?
Do you look at your neighbours and feel envious of their homes, wishing that you had a better job so you could afford to have a nice house like theirs?
Comparing yourself to others is fine if it has no negative emotional impact on you but that’s highly unlikely. Sadly the feelings of not being “good enough”, or slim enough, or pretty enough, or clever enough build up and build up and before we know it, depression and despair overwhelm us. Let’s face it, social media doesn’t help! Advertising and social media are designed to make us feel that we are not quite up to scratch and with their product, we could suddenly be happy and living the life of Riley.
It’s simply not true. And feeling like you are not “good enough” is likely to make you turn to food / drink because that feeling is so awful to bear.
Try and make a conscious effort not to compare yourself to others anymore. A great way to change your perspective is to have gratitude. Write a list of all the things you have to be grateful for, including a list of all your good points (ask friends and family if you can’t think of any), then start everyday by simply reading that list out aloud. This will lift your self esteem, which will lift your self confidence and you will escape the destructive cycle. Write up a couple of affirmation notes and put them in places where you will see them often with the words “I am good enough“….. and allow yourself to believe it.