You lose some weight – you celebrate. The weight creeps back on – you feel like a failure. You lose some weight again – you feel good. On-off-on-off – you’re sick of this. How can you keep weight off for good? Ask those in the know. Who are they? People who have succeeded at long-term weight control – there’s no one better. Obviously, healthy eating and regular exercise are key, but what more is there? CalorieKing Australia has tracked-down vital elements needed for long-term weight control from people who’ve lost weight and kept it off long-term. Read on to find out.
Be Physically Active Every Day
For long-term weight loss, 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week is what works. If you think, “Wow, that’s so much! I can’t do that!” (or perhaps a swear word or two!) – don’t fret. People have lost weight doing 30 minutes a day, but 60 minutes is better. Moderate exercise includes vacuuming, washing windows, fast walking, some types of gardening, moderate-level swimming and dancing. There are many added bonuses to being physically active, such as feeling happier, better quality sleep and more energy.
Add more physical activity into your day-to-day life.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Get up and talk to people face-to-face in the office instead of sending them emails.
- Get off one or two stops earlier from the bus and walk the rest of the way.
- Walk or cycle short distances instead of taking the car.
- Wash your car at home rather than go to a car wash.
- Join in with your kids’ exercise in the park.
Have Consistent Healthy Eating Patterns
When it comes to healthy eating, remember the key points below.
- Think sustainable and enjoyable healthy eating patterns, not “going on a diet.” “Going on a diet” implies that you’ll eat healthily for a while and then go back to your usual eating habits. If your eating patterns are sustainable, and you enjoy your food, you are more likely to continue your eating habits long-term then if you hate what you eat.
- Plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils and wholegrain breads, cereals, rice and pasta.
- Moderate amounts of meat, meat alternatives, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds.
- Small amounts of foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and/or salt, such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, cordial, pastries, butter, margarine, oils, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, fatty pizzas, hamburgers, fried chips and crisps.
- Limit alcohol. Don’t save up all your drinks for the week to binge drink on the weekend either!
- Control your portion sizes. Choose smaller sizes where possible.
- Control comfort eating, and over-eating when dining out.
- Choose healthy snacks, such as fruit and vegetables, instead of biscuits and fried crisps.
Healthy eating needn’t be “rabbit food”! Be adventurous, try exotic and exciting healthy dishes and experiment with herbs and spices!
Count Your Calories and Keep a Food and Exercise Diary
People who track their food intake and exercise level are more likely to succeed at weight control than those who don’t. Diaries “open your eyes” to what might be helping, and hindering, your weight control efforts. Use Allan Borushek’s Calorie Fat and Carbohydrate Counter book to count your calories. Track your calorie intake and exercise levels with the pocket Food and Exercise Diary, or use the CalorieKing Australia diary online at www.CalorieKing.com.au . Many people underestimate how many calories they eat, and are surprised when they find they consume more than they originally thought.
Keep a food and mood diary as well, to track how you feel when you eat and to help control comfort eating.
Weigh Yourself Regularly
Weigh yourself at least once a week in the morning with no or light clothing on. Weighing yourself too much can become obsessive, however being a little obsessive is a good thing for some people. Not weighing yourself regularly can lead to weight gain not being detected early enough.
Some people like the ritual of weighing themselves every day. It’s a gentle reminder to be sensible with the day’s eating and to be physically active.
Get Regular Support
You’re more likely to achieve long-term weight control if you have regular support than if you don’t have support. A friend, family member, partner or personal trainer are options. You can also get support from CalorieKing Australia’s forums and groups. Many CK members have said they have found help there from others who also want to control their weight.
Eat Regular Meals, Including Breakfast
Skipping meals means you’re more likely to over-eat and choose unhealthy foods when you do eat. As a result, you are more likely to consume too many kilojoules and put on weight. Plan regular, balanced meals throughout the day to help you feel fuller for longer, prevent hunger pangs and prevent low blood sugar levels. Low glycemic load meals are best. Read CalorieKing Australia’s article The Glycemic Index Explained, for more information. Click on the link to this article at the end of this article.
Breakfast helps power you for the day ahead. People who eat breakfast every day are more likely to control their weight than those who often skip breakfast.
Use Positive Self-Talk
Winners use positive self-talk. They know the value of thinking the right way to get the results they want. Think thoughts that will support you, and challenge those that will sabotage you. If you say positive things over and over again but you don’t really believe them, they are just words and not beliefs. To really work, your positive thoughts need to become subconscious beliefs. Here are some examples of thoughts to plant in your subconscious mind.
- When you look at others who’ve achieved long-term weight loss: “If they can do it, I can do it.”
- “No matter how hard it gets I won’t give up. I can amend my weight control plans, but I will not give-up on my weight control goals.”
- After you get stuck into the biscuit tin: “This is a just minor set-back. I’m going to get back on track now” rather than, “I’m a failure. I’m never going to achieve my goal. I give-up.”
- “I can find – both within and outside myself – the resources to achieve my goal.”
Believe You Can Win at Weight Control
To achieve your goal, you need to believe that you can do it. Health professionals call this self efficacy. It’s well known in health, and it works. Believe you will fail at weight control (or anything else in life) and you most likely will. Believe you can win at weight control, and you are part the way there.
Use the Common Key Ingredients for Success
Like baking a loaf of bread needs certain key ingredients to produce a good quality loaf, certain ingredients are needed to succeed at anything in life. Here are some key ingredients for success.
- Time and effort. You didn’t gain all the weight overnight, so you won’t lose it overnight either. Accept that it will take time and effort to lose it. Be patient.
- Willpower. This will give you a boost at first, but you need more to sustain your energy. Having a strong willpower is important for many reasons, such as resisting eating lots of unhealthy foods at parties. Having a plan for how to cope in these situations – and using the plan – is even better.
- Persistence. There will be tough times. Have the killer attitude: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”
- Acceptance. Accept that there will be obstacles, tough times, set-backs and so on. You can get angry or you can accept them as part of life. Plan in advance for how you will cope with problems when they arise.
Accept yourself as you are right now, whatever shape or size you are. Is this hard for you? If so, there are lots of self-help books and websites that can help you with self acceptance. Check them out. Self acceptance is vital for health, happiness and wellbeing.
There’s no magic pill for long-term weight control. Those who have lost weight and kept it off know it takes time, effort, healthy eating, regular exercise and more. Use as many of the above weight control ideas as you can, and add your own. Check-out CalorieKing Australia’s forums and groups for ideas, support and friendships.