How to Lose Weight Healthily (and permanently!)
If you've read my blog before, you'll know about my ten year struggle to lose weight. You'll know I was an over exerciser, an emotional eater and dealt with anxiety. And you'll know that all of this was caused by my constant yo-yo dieting. It took me over a decade to learn that dieting was making me gain weight - and fast. Dieting had also caused me to develop disordered eating, hate my body and feel out-of-control. Yikes!
Like most people (95%), dieting didn't work for me. As much as I hoped that I would one day finally wake up and just be able to perfectly stick to the diet, have more willpower and get my dream body, that never happened... whilst dieting.
In 2011, I gave up dieting. Cold turkey style. No more diets. I resisted the temptation for a quick-fix solution and made a promise I wouldn't diet again for my health, body and sanity. Quitting dieting changed everything about my relationship with food. I was so much happier!
Though, I still couldn't shake the thought: "I still want to lose weight!"
But how the hell do you lose weight without dieting?!
Well, it's possible. I went on to lose over 20kg after I quit dieting. Today, I wanted to share with you my tips for losing weight - the healthy way. I want to show you that you don't need to deprive yourself of your favourite foods, eat perfectly or overexercise to get the body you want.
Step 1. Quit dieting
Of course, this is step 1. You've probably seen my rants about why dieting doesn't work like here and here and here. You may still not be ready to quit dieting! It takes time to realise that diets, not your willpower, is the reason you can't lose weight and keep it off.
If you're new here, let me explain quickly: We can all diet for a few days/weeks/months - until eventually, we feel deprived. Then we fall off the diet bandwagon and we blame ourselves for having 'poor willpower'. So we always think we are the ones that failed - instead of the stupid, restrictive, boring diet
What we actually fail to see is that it is the diet that failed us... and not the other way around.
Whether you call it a diet, a detox, 'clean eating' or whatever - they are all just ways to create a list 'banned' foods and restrict yourself in order to try and lose weight. And thats a diet. If you want to make a major change, ditch the diet forever. It's one of the best things I ever did.
Step 2. Adopt lifestyle changes
It's not sexy and I know you've heard it before. But the trick to losing weight permanently is to make lifestyle changes, not diet. Making lifestyle changes means that you find one key habit in your life that you think you will be prepared to change. PERMANENTLY. I mean, forever and ever and ever ever. When I was losing weight, these are some of the lifestyle changes I found worked for me:
>> Don't go grocery shopping when I am hungry and only buy one treat food at a time.
Then, after a few weeks/months, once that change felt normal again...
>> I got a Fitbit Charge and made a commitment to do 10,000 steps every day.
Once I was doing my 10,000 steps without thinking and it was a habit, then I...
>> Tried to get an extra hour of sleep each night
When that change felt normal, I mindfully tried to
>> Use a smaller bowl or plate for my meals
and then... etc. etc. etc.
I just kept going until I had adopted lots of great healthy habits (lifestyle changes), that now feel normal and easy and painless. It's not hard when you do it like that. If I can do it - I know you can too. To this day - when I'm finding something really challenging and overwhelming, my amazingly, supportive husband will often ask me: "Lyndi, how do you eat an elephant?" and the answer of course is:
Step 3. Patience
I've spoken about this before, but do not expect to lose weight overnight. You won't. If you lose a kilo a week, I personally think that is too fast and means you've likely adopted too many changes at once and it may not be sustainable.
It takes lots of time to lose weight and change your relationship with food - but trust that if you make the lifestyle changes, weight loss will happen. I lost 25kg over 4+ long years... Not 3 months. Think about it like this:
It's taken years and years of dieting to ruin your relationship with food.
So it's going to take a long time to learn how to eat normally again. Be patient.
Step 4. Resist the temptation to diet
Whilst you are trying to lose weight, you may stop losing weight for a bit (the weight loss plateau). Or you'll gain a little weight back and you'll feel disappointed: "This isn't going fast enough!" "I'm failing - I just need to lose more". And the diet will sing it's siren call.
Do not underestimate the allure of a diet. Diets are marketed so well. During your 'journey', you are going to want to give up on your 'long-term, sustainable weight loss thing' and jump ship back into the sexy world of diets, detoxes and quick weight loss. It's so tempting. Don't do it. It's a trap. You'll take one step forward, and ten steps back.
Step 5. Stop focusing on the weight loss
Have you heard the expression, "A watched pot never boils"? It feels kinda relevant here. If you monitor your weight loss daily, you're going to go insane and feel like you're not achieving anything. If you expect to have lost weight, and you don't - it will mess. you. up. I didn't weight myself for 90% of the time whilst losing weight. I didn't need a scale to tell me if I was 'good' or 'bad' that day and dictate my mood.
When you lose weight, your clothing will alert you to the fact. Or someone will comment. Or you'll feel lighter.... You'll know. In the same way you know when you've gained weight. Stop focusing on losing weight and stop weighing yourself too often. Focus on being healthy, not skinny. Focus on the habits. If you ignore the fact that you're trying to lose weight, and just do the behaviour change stuff - eventually, you will lose weight.
Stop eating with your head and start eating by listening to your body.
Step 6. Be realistic.
When you do finally lose weight, don't expect a fairytale. Be realistic about what losing weight will actually be like for you. As someone who has lost a lot of weight, I recently shared the top things I wish I knew before losing weight. When you've finally lost some weight, don't expect your life to change too much. Your weight is just a number on a scale - it doesn't define you. Losing weight won't make you a better person or make you happy.
If you're sick of yo-yo dieting and always trying to lose weight without success, then let's do something about it. Learn to listen to your body, give up diets and eat well by checking out my BodyLove eCourse, which is filled with useful info about creating a body you actually love.
Disclaimer: I got given the Fitbit from the company but this isn't a sponsored post. I'm really glad they gave me one. I genuinely think it made a big difference for me. I love it.