1. Get checked out by a GP first to make sure you can proceed with a new change of lifestyle.
2. Ask yourself at every stage if this makes sense, and wait for the answer. If you feel that it does, then you have started to really listen to yourself. If you feel that it does not, then don’t go ahead with it. But if you find yourself suffering from Paralysis By Analysis then..
3. Find out what’s stopping you. I believe that if you make 3 excuses and you firmly believe them, then you don’t really want it badly enough. If your reasons are lack of time, preparation, confidence, self belief, health issues, money, school, family, friends, work, children etc, then THERE IS A WAY TO OVERCOME THESE OBSTACLES. You just have to want it badly enough and believe that you can and do deserve it. Once you believe it, everything else will start to come together in your favour.
4. Nothing will fix this problem quickly. You didn’t arrive at this place in a short period of time, so no quick fix will ever get you to where you want to be in a hurry. Relax into this. It is a new way of living, not just a diet.
5. The more you can enjoy the journey, the easier it will be. So GET OBSESSED and find a way to love it! Soon enough, the feeling of health will propel you forward, but your attitude towards it will carry you through.
6. Your past is just your past. Let it go. Whether you should see a Psychologist or not, depends on how deeply rooted or connected your past is to your eating and exercising habits. But remember a habit only takes 21 days to create and 21 days to break, so once you get on the track to healthy habits and start letting go of unhealthy habits, it will become clear to you if you need to see a counselor, or whether it is just a tweaking of your lifestyle that you need to make.
7. You can do this alone, but it’s easier with a cheer squad. Find some people in your life that you know you can talk to as your journey progresses. It will help if these people are people who you can be vulnerable around as you will have your successes but also your fears and bad days. Don’t keep these suppressed. Talk them through until you find a rational and healthy way of dealing with them.
8. Don’t listen to the negative self talk. Any time that little ar*ehole of a voice starts to natter away in your ear, shut it down. It is so hard to do at first, but then you start to get used to it. And if you aren’t nice to yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be?
9. Learn to love colour! The more colourful your plate, the healthier it’s bound to be. When you find yourself sitting down to a meal of brown food, chips, pastries, frozen meals etc, your body will be lacking essential nutrients. When you start to look at your plate and see colourful vegies, salads, and a well balanced plate of food, you will start to appreciate the food you eat more and will start to eat for good nutrition. It’s when we appreciate food that our body starts to process it better, and digestion and hence weight loss becomes easier.
10. Learn about what’s going on inside your body. When you start to understand good nutrition, your choices will be based on what you need, not what you feel like. When you eat based on what you feel like, then emotion is connected to your eating and you can quite easily find yourself down a slippery slope if your emotions take a turn for the worse.
11. The body is a beautiful thing. It is a perfect machine, working in balance to keep us living our life experience. It requires a perfect balance of acid and alkaline to do its’ job. Without the perfect balance, it starts to break down and get diseased. Most health problems are caused to some degree by an excess of acid in the body. If you eat foods with a high alkalinity, like green leafy vegetables or raw almonds, and less foods that have been processed, then you will be able to sustain a healthy immune system and be able to break down the chemicals in the every day environment that turn the body acidic.
12. Balance every carbohydrate with a protein. Simple Carbohydrates like potato are used (metabolised) quickly by the body which means you will be hungry again soon after. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads or cereals take longer to metabolize. Proteins make you fuller for longer too. So the ideal meal choice to stop you snacking later on is to have a complex carbohydrate with a protein.
13. Everything in moderation. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again I’m sure. But this old adage is true. You can have what you like in moderation. The good thing about losing weight the healthy way, is that the more you care about what goes into your body, and the more you pay attention to how you feel about the foods you eat, the better the foods you will start to crave, so the whole battle will get easier.
14. Sugar and alcohol feed Yeast bacteria in your digestive system. These Yeast, or Candida, coat your insides, stopping you from absorbing the nutrients in your food. This is how an overweight person can become malnourished. This means that sugar should be considered as well as levels of saturated fat when choosing foods that will nourish your body. Processed food is more likely to be higher in sugar as well as salt that makes the body retain fluid, not to mention other additives that are unkind to our bodies.
15. Portion distortion is a killer of diet. The simple formula to weight loss is kilojoules in equals less than kilojoules out. So you owe it to yourself to find out what a portion really is. This may involve weighing your food initially, until you have a proper idea of what a portion should be. For example, a portion of uncooked pasta is 125 grams. I didn’t know this when I started my journey. A portion of cheese is the size of a matchbox, and a portion of meat is the size of your palm. The key to this whole thing is to keep the portions to what your body needs, and to do away with excess. Who cares if you have to throw away some food? Yes there are people starving in the world, but we can’t help them if our health is in the way. We have to owe it first to ourselves and then to another when our health comes into it.
16. No preparation, no weight loss. If you don’t go shopping for the things that you need during the week, then you will most likely grab anything that is available and it might not always support your weight loss goals. If you are busy, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to anticipate this and take food with you. This can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but is completely necessary until you get the hang of where to go for healthy small portions when you are out and about.
17. Work out what your inspiration is and create a vision board. The vision board consists of pictures and cutouts from magazines arranged on a board, so you can put it up where you will see it every day. This will help you to see yourself in the body you want. Visualisation is extremely important as your brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s not real so the more you tell yourself something, the more you believe it. When you quiet the negative voices and listen to the story you wish to be yours, your body and mind start to go about creating that. Never underestimate the power of visualisation for any goal whether it is weight loss, building a business, getting a new job, meeting a new partner or any other goal you wish to create.
18. Work out what’s eating you. When you eat from a place of emotion, you are trying to fill a hole. The hole is different for different people so once you work out what it is, you can create a plan in advance to combat it when it arrises. I am a boredom eater, so I have to make sure I have a variety of things I can channel my energy into at any one time. Creative projects are great for overcoming boredom and will progress your life at the same time as losing the weight.
19. Exercise is not just good for your body, it’s also good for your mind and soul. When exercising, even gently, your body releases Serotonin, which is a feel good chemical that helps with a variety of things from mood, to sleep, appetite and libido. And as you start to feel good in these areas, everything starts to feel better. Confidence is improved so other aspects of your life will improve as well.
20. Never feel bad for saying no, just do it politely. When you lose weight, you don’t want to lose your social life too. Don’t be afraid to tell people in advance that you are trying to lose weight and that you need to be careful with your food. If they aren’t able to cater for you, they will understand if you have to bring your own food. If they don’t understand, they are probably not people who are good for you to spend time around. Your family and friends might mean well, but food does not equal love. Go for the company, not for the food.
21. Don’t be afraid to have a quick word with the waiter. I am a vegetarian so am used to asking about my food prior to ordering, but if you aren’t used to it, please be assured that the waiters are probably used to being asked and won’t spit in your food. A quick, polite word with the waiter will assure that you get looked after with low-fat or healthier options.
22. Learn to make a killer salad dressing. My favourite salad dressing is home-made with flaxseed oil (good omega 3 fatty acid, necessary for brain function), balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, as well as a squeeze of pre prepared dill, basil, coriander and mint. Yum! This dressing will make any salad or steamed vegie accompaniment taste delish!
23. Keep a food journal. It is so easy to forget little amounts of food eaten throughout the day, so as pedantic as it sounds, a food journal will help you to keep track of the ever important kilojoules in. You can get a food journal from most news agents these days. You won’t need one forever, but it is essential to be honest with yourself about what you have eaten and it helps with working out what has triggered bad eating habits. A food journal is also great for looking back over the good days and for setting an example for yourself if and when you hit a plateau. The key though is to write it all down. The good days, and the bad.
24. Try to choose low impact exercise to start with if you have a lot of weight to lose. Your body will very easily adapt to exercise as you progress, but you can always build up to it. You don’t want to get an injury as you’re just out of the starting gate, and mess up your endeavours, so it’s best to start gentle, building up over a few weeks or months as you feel fitter, stronger, and more confident. Examples of low impact exercises are swimming, cross trainer, seated exercise bike, beginners Yoga, and Tai Chi. Even if you are unable to walk far, there is always some form of exercise that can be undertaken. Deep breathing exercises or gentle repetitive movement is sometimes all a morbidly obese person can manage to begin with, but the sooner they start something, the sooner their body will yield to the minds desires.
25. Work out if you’re hungry or thirsty. The body often sends out a signal of hunger when you are thirsty so it’s important to work out which grumble is which. It is so easy to go a day without drinking when you are out of the habit, so most people are walking around dehydrated, which has an effect on the whole body. The body is comprised of 70% fluid, which is used for blood (and nutrient transportation), lymph (toxic waste) removal, and other fluids. Even our height is effected by the amount of fluid in our bodies as the tissue in the spine grows and shrinks according to hydration levels. Skin appears dryer, cracked lips are common, and your skin will be less elastic when dehydrated, so when losing weight it is crucial to stay hydrated. Drinking 2 litres of water a day is the best free weight loss tip I can offer you. It is not always easy, and you may need to go to the toilet a lot during the first 3 weeks, but it is going to be the difference between an average weight loss and a strong consistent weight loss. The more you drink the water, the easier it gets as your body starts to crave it. And remember if you are exercising or in hot weather, you may need to increase your water intake to 3 litres or so as your body requires.