Tips for achieving your weight loss goals
Posted by Nicky Perks
You feel rather proud of yourself when you stand on the scale and assess the progress you have made. Wow, 5 kilos lost in a month – fantastic! Then your colleague brings a delicious chocolate cake to the office. Ten minutes later, while you wipe the crumbs off your top lip, you think to yourself, “What just happened?” One cheat leads to another and before you know it you are sliding down the slippery slope back into old habits and your track suit pants with the elasticized waist. Why is it that our motivation levels ebb and flow like the ocean? What mistakes are we making that lead to poor choices and what can we do to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact on the achievement of our goals?
(1) Get onto LCHF
Diets that focus on calorie restriction and eating low-fat are probably the reason your dieting attempts have failed in the past. It is exceedingly difficult to stay motivated when your tummy is grumbling from hunger and you feel drained of energy. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to give a low carb/healthy fat diet a try. The food you can eat is tasty and the higher fat component ensures you stay satisfied for hours after each meal. Carb cravings are dramatically reduced, enabling you to say goodbye to bad habits, like that rusk with your afternoon tea. Sweet and starchy foods will lose their vice-like grip over you making it much easier to maintain a healthy way of eating long-term.
(2) Be prepared
Temptation will get the better of you if you are not organised. Don’t put yourself in the situation where you ravenously wolf down a jam or peanut butter sandwich because there is nothing healthy in the house to eat. Stock your pantry with nuts, fatty biltong, tuna, pilchards, seed crackers and consider cooking extra at supper time for leftovers the next day. Chop up some low carb salad veggies and keep them in a Tupperware in the fridge for a quick snack with some guacamole. Use Sundays to cook in bulk and freeze if you know you are going to have a busy week. If you create the right environment at home and at work, making good food choices becomes easier. Each good choice made will further strengthen your resolve to keep going strong.
(3) Make a commitment
Weight loss requires determination and an unwavering focus on the end goal. It is easy to get distracted and veer off track, especially when you have a large amount of weight to lose. To be successful, you must want it badly enough. Sign a contract with yourself and list all the reasons why you want to lose weight. Hopefully “obtaining optimal health” is top of your list. If it isn’t, it should be. Take a before photo to remind yourself of where you started and eventually how far you have come. Read your contract every week. Set goals (both short and long-term) and action steps that will help you create the life, health and body you desire. It is important to include non-scale related goals because enjoying life to the full is not just about the kilos lost. Reward your progress with a manicure, massage, a new book or item of clothing.
(4) Find what works for you
As the saying goes, “there are many ways to skin a cat” and this is definitely true when it comes to following a low carb eating plan. One has to consider financial constraints, existing health issues, activity levels, weight to be lost, food intolerance, taste preferences etc. Motivation levels will plummet if you are constantly sweating the small stuff, eating foods you don’t actually enjoy and trying to be perfect all the time. LCHF is not a one size fits all. Adhere to the guidelines as best you can with the resources you have available and make it work for you. Experiment and be prepared to learn about your body using a process of trial and error. Someone who wants to lose 5 kilos and is happy for that to take 3 months, might decide to still eat a little fruit, dairy and some starchy veggies if it makes the lifestyle more sustainable for them. An obese diabetic will need to be far stricter since their health is at greater risk.
(5) Never lose hope
You might, with time, hit the dreaded plateau. This is normal so don’t become disheartened. Tweak your eating plan and change things up a bit to get your fat loss going again. Read through the contract you made with yourself, look at the photograph and recommit to your goals. If the scale becomes your worst enemy, take the focus off what the scale says and keep your eye on all the other health benefits you are experiencing. Improved sleep, clear skin, clothes that feel looser, higher energy levels, better moods and reduced cravings are worthwhile benefits in themselves. If, despite your best efforts, you are not getting results, investigate further and have your hormones checked by a functional medicine doctor. They do comprehensive testing and will look for optimal levels and not just whether your test results fall in the normal range. Levels that aren’t optimal can have a big impact on your metabolism.
(6) Get a reality check
One cheat, or even two or three, is not reason enough to throw in the towel. You might feel discouraged by the setback but pick yourself back up and keep going. Keep the bigger picture in mind and remind yourself that this is a lifestyle and not a quick-fix diet. Should you contemplate giving up, pause and think long and hard about what that option offers you. If you aren’t losing weight, question whether there are still certain foods in your eating plan thwarting your attempts. Frustration is a real motivation killer so rather try eliminating some of the main offenders like alcohol, caffeine, dairy, dark chocolate, nuts and fruit and perhaps that will do the trick. You can’t keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. Being honest with yourself will help you make the changes necessary to move forward.
Once at goal:
Weight loss is anything but easy and keeping it off is even more difficult. If you have 3 different sizes of jeans in your wardrobe then you know all about it. The first mistake is thinking that, once you have lost the weight, you can return to your old eating habits. That just doesn’t work. Carbs and sugar made you fat in the first place. If you resume your love affair with them, they will make you fat again.
Losing and keeping weight off is about having the right attitude, a persevering spirit and motivation levels that never dip too low for too long. If you give up at the first hurdle, you will never get to where you want to be. If you view LCHF as deprivation, you are setting yourself up for failure. Rather focus on what you can have and not on what you can’t. If all else fails, put some books into a backpack that equals the amount of weight you have lost thus far and go for a hike. Chances are you won’t want to, ever again, put that weight back on.
Article written by Nicky Perks for Lose It magazine (Volume 17)
About Nicky PerksPassionately sharing information about the paleo/primal, high fat/low carb lifestyle that will rock your world! I am on my own journey to good health and a slim body. My goal? To enjoy the ride as life on this beautiful planet is just too short to do it any other way.
Posted on May 12, 2017, in Primal 101 and tagged Banting, diet motivation, doing LCHF right, how to lose weight, keep the weight off, LCHF, maintaining weight loss, staying motivated. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.