I’ve struggled with my weight for a number of years, certainly long before having kids. Over the years I’ve tried several diets, some successfully, some not so successfully. I’m currently losing weight successfully, and I’ve lost 2 stone since August, which I’m really pleased with. As it’s the time of year when a lot of people typically resolve to lose weight, I thought it would be appropriate for me to share the things I think are important if you want to successfully lose weight. These principles apply to any diet plan that you may choose to follow.
1. Choose a diet that suits you. Do some research. Ask friends who have successfully lost weight what plan they followed. Check what each diet entails. If you’re the kind of person who couldn’t imagine weighing every little thing you eat, avoid any plans that require that. If you’re the kind of person who likes researching things on the Internet, make sure you can find some support forums where you can talk with other people following the same diet. Decide if you need the extra support or incentive of a weekly meeting with other dieters, or if you’re going to “go it alone”. Be very wary of blindly following the latest “fad” diet (see point 6 below).
2. Once you’ve selected your diet, take some time to prepare. Spend your first week learning how your chosen diet works. Work out what store cupboard “staples” you need to stock up on, and finish up anything in your house which doesn’t fit with your chosen plan.
3. Plan your meals for the first week. Find diet-friendly replacements for your stock meals – those ones that you resort to whenever you’re late home and just throw a few things together as you can’t face cooking properly. Make sure you have a few ideas of what to have for each meal of the day so you’re not frantically trying to find something in the cupboard when you’re starving hungry. Understand when and if you’re allowed to snack, and stock up on suitable snacks.
4. Measure your “vital statistics” as well as your weight. Keep a record of changes in both. Some weeks you may not lose weight, but you may see a visible loss around your hips or waist. Seeing some success each week will keep you motivated.
5. Be clear on your motivation – have a reason for wanting to lose the weight. If you feel your self-control wavering, remind yourself why you’re doing it.
6. Remember, a diet is for life, not just for weight loss! If you reach your target weight and then go back to your old eating habits, the weight is going to go back on again. Don’t think that you’re “going on a diet”, think instead that you are making a lifestyle change.
7. Drink plenty of water. I read somewhere that often our brains misinterpret thirst as hunger, and we overeat when actually we’d be better off drinking something. I certainly find I want to eat less on the days I remember to drink more water.
If you are resolving to lose weight in the New Year then I wish you every success. If you have any other diet tips, please leave a comment below.