Spring is here and it’s time to start thinking about the Winter Weight that has crept on over the past few months.
Most of the people who visit my office are not there because they don’t know what to eat…..they are there because they don’t know how to make the changes, break habits, form new ones and STICK to it for life!
In my practice there is not one specific diet that works for everyone, we are all unique, we have lifelong eating habits that need to be changed however they need to be sustainable for the rest of our lives. I am not a fan of fad diets with quick fixes where kilos are shed rapidly only to come back even quicker as soon as old habits return.
Here are my tips for Spring, 4 steps to start you on your journey!
Accept that this is going to take a long time – it always amazes me when people expect to lose the weight and break the habits that have sometimes taken them over 40 years to build! So be realistic about how long it is going to take to make real changes.
It’s hard work! It takes commitment, perseverance and the ability to get back up really quickly when you fall off the program. Failure is a necessary part of this journey. For many, food and sugar can even be an addiction and is then as difficult to succeed in as any other addiction. In fact, in 2016 in a research study on addiction and smoking, Chaiton et al, found that the average number of quit attempts for smokers was 30 times or more before successful quitting was attained.
According to well-known behavioural psychologist, Martin Seligman “Success requires persistence, the ability to not give up in the face of failure”.
I’ve been exercising almost all my life (since I was about 11), it is still really tough though especially in winter when my alarm goes off at 5.30 am to get out of bed – it never gets easier – in fact 37 years later I still have that brief moment when I consider just snuggling back under the covers – but what gets me up and out is the knowledge that the endorphin rush and the feeling post workout, far outweighs the extra hour in bed.
You have to make changes along the way and set yourself two or three goals each week.
Goals that are realistic and attainable – Set yourself up to succeed. For example: if you have never exercised before – a realistic goal would be to walk for 20 minutes 3 times per week.
If you set goals that are completely unrealistic and unattainable – failure becomes a real option and can be extremely demoralising.
Keep a food diary and be accountable. Research shows that just the action of writing down everything you eat – will in itself get you to eat less. By writing a daily food diary – you are practising mindfulness. Noticing and documenting everything that goes in your mouth is a mindful exercise – it not only brings you into the NOW which has enormous benefit to your mental state as well as your physiology – but even helps you to lose weight. A 2008 study at the Kaiser Permanente’s Centre for Health Research in Portland, Oregon showed that people who ‘kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records” it seemed as though the “act of writing down what you eat, encourages people to consume fewer calories”
Be accountable – find someone who you admire and show them your food diary or book yourself into see a nutritionist – there is nothing like having to be weighed and present your food diary to keep you on track!
September 1st is the beginning of Spring – it’s time to take charge – be positive, persistent, committed, realistic and set yourself goals – healthy body, healthy mind.
Ask our nutritionist.
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- Chaiton M et al, 2016, Estimating the number of quit attempts it takes to quit smoking successfully in a longitudinal cohort of smokers, BMJ, 6-0110454 in Pubmed
- Kaiser permanente, july 8, 2008, press release – Kaiser permanente study finds keeping a food diary doubles weight loss
- Whitney E et al, 2011, Understanding Nutrition, Australian and new Zealand edition, Cengage learning, Melbourne, Australia
- Seligman M, 1990, Learned Optimism, random house, New York