Losing momentum in your battle to lose weight? Here are some tips from the experts
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Starting a diet is easy. So easy in fact that many of us start one every Monday morning without fail. But how do you keep going once your initial determination begins to flag?
Joanne Jackson, who runs a Slimming World franchise in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, lost five-and-a-half stone and has kept it off for four years, so she should know.
‘You need a group, whether it’s an informal group of friends or a slimming group, to keep you motivated, make you feel accountable and give you all the support you need to reach your goal and stay there,’ she said. ‘When you’re on your own and you have a bad day, it’s all too easy to beat yourself up about it. You make yourself feel like a failure, but you’re not, you’ve just had a little blip. Being part of a group gives you the chance to talk it out, realise you’re just doing what everyone does and immediately get back on track.’
She also believes it’s important to learn coping mechanisms from other people seeking to improve their lifestyle. And note, she says ‘lifestyle’, not diet.
‘Don’t say you’re on a diet – I hate that word – call it a healthy eating plan,’ said Joanne, with some conviction. ‘This means filling your plate with colour, nothing beige, and eating a wide variety of food. Cook healthy meals for the whole family. It gives a really bad signal to your children if they see you eating special diet food – everyone should just be eating healthy food together.’
Katie Inglis, VIP leader with Weight Watchers, believes the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle – and losing a few pounds along the way – is to set a realistic, achievable goal.
‘Write down your goal, making sure it’s clear and including all the steps you’re taking to achieve it,’ she said. ‘Then break it down further into a series of smaller goals to help keep the momentum up. Setting a target of 50lbs is daunting, but focusing on losing five per cent of your body weight feels achievable, and it has proven health benefits in terms of lowering cholesterol, improving mobility and even reducing the risk of some cancers.’
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Managing your environment is also important: removing tempting trigger foods from the house; reusing leftovers by making soups and stews; and replacing all your staples – dairy, pasta, meat etc – with healthy, nutritious alternatives.
‘Every year, we all do the same thing,’ said Katie. ‘We resolve to make this year our best yet by exercising more, spending more time with the family, renovating the house, clearing our debts... the list is endless.
‘Why not make one simple resolution instead? By making a small change, like choosing to move more and eat more fruits and vegetables, you’ll set yourself on the right path for achieving weight loss success.’