20 November, 2012

Top Ten Tips For Losing Weight

After my post on Friday about my progress in losing weight and getting fitter, it seems a few of you wanted to know what my secret was. I definitely have not discovered the secret but I have found some ways that are working for me. Now I am by no means the poster child for weight loss, I sometimes fall off the wagon and there are plenty of great programs out there that you can follow. But for me, I'm finding ways that work for me personally and that I feel a realistic for me to maintain from here on out. So without further ado, here are my...

Top 10 Weightloss Tips

1. Be Prepared!
This is probably THE most important one for me. Dedicate some time to sit down and think about your meals for the week. What will you eat? Do you need snacks? What can you subsitute for a healthier option? Then go do your shopping, come home and PREPARE what you'll need to keep you on track that week. Whether it's making sure you've got a banana in your bag, some carrot sticks to snack on complete meals cooked and frozen ready to go, it'll save you from yourself when you're busy or tired and don't feel like going to much effort. Having everything ready and on hand will make it very easy to stay on track.
2. Eat Smaller Portions
Are you listening, self? This used to be one of my main problems. I ate man-sized meals. Too much and it only made me feel overfull and bloated. Yet for some reason I continued to eat like this. Gradually cut down your portions, you may feel slightly less satisfied in the beginning but you'll be surprised how quickly you notice a difference. Not only will you start shrinking along with your portion sizes, but you'll find your appetite totally changes and you won't even be ABLE to eat as much as you used to. I'm amazed at the difference, and I wonder now how I EVER ate as much as I did. Not to mention, you'll feel much nicer after eating and not weighed down, full, bloated or just ick.
3. Eat Slower
Sometimes you keep eating without realising that you're full and then all of a sudden out of nowhere it hits you and feel like you've just ambushed the buffet at Sizzler. Eating slower not only gives you time to really enjoy what you're eating, it also gives your body time to catch up with your mouth and realise when it's getting full. This means you can stop eating, even if you haven't completely finished what's on your plate (although you should be able to if you're eating smaller portions).
4. Drink Lots of Water
I know you probably hear this all the time but it really is the best thing! There are so many reasons why water is great for you. Drinking lots of water will help you to feel full and keeps you well hydrated throughout the day. It helps to flush toxins from your system and is also GREAT for your skin, which is important especially when you're changing your diet and increasing your exercise as your skin also goes through an adjustment period and can develop some minor issues. Drinking lots of water can help combat some of these. It also just makes you feel great! Although be warned, you might be up and down to the toilet a lot. I'm sure my work colleagues think I have a bladder problem.
5. Cut Down on Alcohol
This may be a simple to non-existent issue for some of you. But for those of you who know me or have been reading this blog for a while, you'll know this is a BIG one for me. In fact, it's something that I STILL need to work on because to be honest, I haven't really cut down as much as I should. In saying that, I have cut back a little and I've also been trying to be smarter about what I do choose to drink. For instance, if I'm going to have a beer I opt for a low carb option. I've also been choosing spirits which don't need to be mixed with sugary soft drinks to be enjoyed. My favourite is gin and tonic with fresh lemon but I know vodka with fresh lime and soda is also a popular choice. If all else fails, volunteer to be designated driver! It means you'll have no choice but to cut down on the drinks and your friends will love you forever!
6. Incidental Exercise
I am sometimes guilty of neglecting this tip but mostly I try to embrace it. Incidental exercise is the best kind because it's generally quick and painless. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away from your destination and walk the remaining distance. My most favourite incidental exercise is dancing! It's an amazing cardio workout but it's SO. MUCH. FUN! The best kind of exercise is the fun kind because you're more likely to do it for longer and stick to it so find something that you enjoy doing that requires you to be at least moderately active and go for it! Even if it's walking the length of your local mall shopping. Tough right? There's also that 'other' *ahem* incidental exercise that you can enjoy with a special friend.
7. Have a Goal
The most important thing about getting to where you want to be is to have something clear and tangible in your mind. What is it exactly that you want to achieve? It might be your dream weight, your ideal measurements, completing a fitness challenge or just fitting into an amazing dress. Whatever it is, identify it. Clearly. Down to the very last detail. Keep it in mind, maybe you'd even like to put some motivational pictures or words somewhere prominent in your room? Track your progress and make adjustments to your regime if need be. As a side note, I tried on my 'goal dress' over the weekend and I am SO much closer to fitting it!! This has served as great motivation for me.
8. Be Accountable
I'm lucky, I've got this blog to bang on about everything that's going on with me but if you don't have a space like this to tell the world about your undertaking, then it's as simple as telling someone else. It could be your mum, your sister, your best friend, your boyfriend, even a colleague. Or you can broadcast it over Facebook for maximum effectiveness. However you choose to make yourself accountable, telling someone else who will be invested in your progress and results makes you own it. Everything. The good and the bad. It gives you someone to celebrate your successes with as well as someone to support and encourage you when things get tough. This may be one of your most important tools for success. You can even tell me if you want!
9. Don't Be An Enabler
Just when you think all Dr Phil is good for is crazy southern proverbs, occasionally he comes up with a gem. This is one of them. Don't let yourself sabotage your efforts. Everyone has moments of weakness and you don't have to give up all earthly pleasures but removing temptation means you don't have to rely on your willpower so much, especially in the beginning when you're still trying to re-train your mind and body to not want these things. Don't keep 'bad' food in the house and if there's something naughty in the lunch room at work, don't go in there. Don't look at it, don't even think about it. Removing these temptations makes it easier to say no in the beginning and soon, it won't even be hard to say no. You can look at that cheesecake and not even want to eat it. Sounds strange I know and as a real sweet tooth, I never thought this would be possible but the proof is in the pudding! Mmmmm did someone say pudding? Doh!
10. Don't Think About It
It's a brave new world once you make the decision to make a change to your lifestyle. And you have to fully embrace it if you really want it to work. Have a clear set of 'rules' in your mind and just stick to them. That's that. There is nothing else. Don't think about the what ifs, the potential to fail or how difficult it might be. We are creatures of habit and we actually enjoy directions. Create your recipe for success and then just follow the steps. Don't think, just do it (Please don't sue me Nike, it's just a figure of speech!) By not thinking about it, this removes much of the pressure that we often put on ourselves and puts you in a much happier and stronger place. It's simple cause and effect. If I do this, this and this then this will happen. Easy!
The only thing left is to find an eating plan and exercise regime that works for you. Start small and gradually increase the intensity. The sense of satisfaction you get from not only succeeding but being able to increase your threshhold is a fantastic motivator.

Stay tuned for more tips on diet and exercise. What would you like to know?

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