Some people struggle to get started with weight loss and others give up when they reach a plateau. I take a look at why people fail to lose weight and present my straightforward, no nonsense guide, “how to get real about weight loss and reach your goals.”
So why do people struggle to lose weight?
- Portion distortion – make sure you know how much you actually eat rather than relying on the standard portion size in Apps and on the side of packets. Many of my clients are eating 3 or 4 times the amount they thought they were having based on standard portion sizes.
- Lack of realism – many people set out on quite gruelling, extreme weight loss programmes and give up very quickly. It’s much better to think about what will fit with your specific set of life circumstances as you will be more likely to stick with it. Aim to lose 1/2 -1 kg/week.
- Not eating when you are hungry – sometimes we are just so busy that either we don’t notice that we’re hungry or we don’t make time to eat. When this happens we tend to eat several times more than we need later.
- Thinking about what you’re missing not what you’re gaining – when we start trying to make a change we forget to note what will be better as a result. This makes it much more difficulty to stick with the programme.
- Lack of planning – it’s no good resolving to eat more of something and less of something else if your house is full of things you don’t want to eat and has none of the things you do want to eat. Likewise if you don’t plan how you will eat healthily when you are out and about? You will almost certainly cave into temptation.
- Lack of support from friends and family – they might not even know you’re trying to lose weight but if they are going to help you they need to understand your goals and strategies.
A simple plan to help you get real about weight loss and reach your goals:
- Get well informed – don’t get your advice from the Sunday papers or magazines. Invest in an assessment and advice from a registered Dietitian – it will set you up with skills and knowledge that will help you for many years. In my practice I take time to give totally individualised advice based on your specific life circumstances and food likes and dislikes. I give individualised advice about portions and food choices and practical tips to help make life easier.
- Get more self-aware – we eat for many different reasons, not just hunger. This is fine if you are eating for enjoyment and doing it in moderation. However if you are eating to manage your emotions you will find it difficult to sustain weight loss. If this is a challenge for you then you will need to understand why you are eating first and then try to tackle the root causes of any unhelpful eating pattern. You also need to become more aware of your hunger. In my practice I use a hunger monitoring tool to help people plan a pattern of eating that works specifically for them.
- Get organised – plan your meals and shop to the plan. Cook in bulk and freeze individual or family meal portions to save on time. Get into the habit of making simple and delicious packed lunches if eating at work, school, college or uni is tripping you up. Measure out 100 calorie snack portions so you don’t keep eating when you are having something a bit “more-ish.”
- Get supported – think about what you want to change and what help you will need to make that happen and then ask for it. Some of your friends and family might want to join in and get a bit more healthy themselves and even those that don’t join you will at least know how to help you.
For more detailed information about each of these steps see my posts in the series Eating Mindset – “Get real tips.”