Everyone is different but there are a number of steps that you can take that will help and support you in your weight loss journey.
1. BE ACCOUNTABLE
Self monitoring is one of the key factors in long term weight loss. Self monitoring keeps you honest. If you want to be successful in your weight loss, you must be accountable to yourself for your actions. If you are not honest with yourself, you won’t be successful. Self monitoring also makes you conscious of your behavior.
To be accountable, write a list of your health and fitness goals, keep a food diary, keep an exercise/training diary and commit to creating at least one good habit
that supports your good health. Don’t underestimate the power of support systems such as your family and friends or the 12 week challenge group to keep you accountable.
It may seem a time-consuming task, but keeping a food diary is an important tool in your weight loss journey. It will keep you accountable and aware. It’s about assessing where you are right now, without beating yourself up about it. It makes your eating habits concrete and tangible, and helps you think about what you’re eating and why.
Initially a food diary is a good way to see what and how much you actually eat. You may think that you eat relatively healthily but, when you write down everything you eat in a day, you could be surprised! Be honest, if you cheat, you are only fooling yourself. The diary is a way to stay true to your goals, and also see where and when you might struggle.
It is important to include absolutely everything that you consume…food and drinks.
Your food diary will keep you focused on your goals and help you to become conscious of what you are putting into your body. You can’t fool yourself when it’s in black and white on the page before you. Your food diary will be the road map to your weight loss success.
2. CHANGE TO HEALTHY FOOD
Now you understand that you lose weight by consuming less energy than you use. But not only do you want to lose weight, you want to feel healthy and improve your overall wellbeing! To do this, ensure the kilojoules you consume come from healthy foods…whole, unprocessed, low-fat foods!! Instead of high-kilojoule, processed foods. Whole foods are those that are close to their original natural state. They provide your body with a higher ratio of nutrients to kilojoule intake. Whole foods don’t include added sugar or fat, or food additives. Whole foods make you feel full and improve your digestive health. Processed foods are often energy dense, which means that you get a lot of kilojoules for not much substance you will have eaten more kilojoules before you feel full and you won’t get many nutrients.
Use your food diary, shopping lists and shopping receipts to examine the types of food you are currently buying.
How many items are processed and refined?
How many come pre packaged rather than fresh?
How many bottles of soft drink are you buying each week?
Look in your pantry, fridge and freezer, clean out all the junk food. Be ruthless! If it’s not there, you won’t be tempted. Not everyone has willpower of steel, so be kind to yourself and make things easier by removing the temptation.
Go to a fresh food market if you can. Not only is it usually a more enjoyable experience than pushing your trolley through crowded shopping aisles, but also the produce will be fresher (and most likely cheaper!). Choosing healthy foods and making that choice, a life-long habit will help you remain at a healthy weight for the rest of your life.
‘I was overweight because of bad management: I badly managed my body, my food, my activity and my lifestyle. In changing that, I learnt to appreciate and control myself to live life rather than just be alive, and to see my health and body as more important assets than the house.’
READING NUTRITION LABELS
To help you choose healthy food, read nutrition labels. The nutrition information panel on food lists the energy (kilojoules or calories), protein, total fat, saturated fat, total carbohydrate, total sugar and sodium content of the food. You’ll see two columns—one is the amount per serve (an amount determined by the manufacturer) and the other is per 100g or 100 ml. The panel may also show the amount of iron, calcium, potassium and fiber the food contains. Reading the nutrition information panel helps you compare products, so you can pick ones lower in fat or sugar. It also helps you work out how much fat or sugar you’ve eaten during the day. Also read the list of ingredients. They are listed in order of quantity, so the first ingredient makes up more of the food than the last ingredient. If the first ingredient is sugar, that means the bulk of that food is sugar.
3. GET ORGANISED
It’s easy to let things slide when you lead a busy lifestyle, but if you really want to change your life and your health, you need to make that goal a priority. This means setting aside time and energy to do what is required to get and stay healthy. If you really want this, you can make it happen. Learn how to get organized, how to manage your time better and how to say ‘no’ to things that will not benefit your health goals. Your health is important and you need to support yourself on your weight loss journey. If you never have the time to exercise you will never have the body and the health you want!!
Most people lead busy lives and it’s easy to just pop into the supermarket or takeaway on the way home from work and pick up a quick and easy dinner. But consider this, eating is an essential part of your day, every day, and your health relies on it, so don’t you think it’s worth a little forward thinking?
Planning your meals helps you control your kilojoule intake. It saves you the time and energy of having to decide what you’re going to have for dinner while you’re on the way home from work. You will have healthy food on hand and be less likely to resort to high-kilojoule takeaways. It will also mean fewer trips to the supermarket during the week so you’ll save money too.
By planning ahead, you can keep to your daily kilojoule limit. For example, if you know that you’re going out for a special lunch, then plan to have a light meal for dinner. You can also plan to ensure you have healthy food at work for snacks or lunches.
It sounds like a lot of effort, but consider trying the 12 weekly menu plans we give you, shop to the menu plan and aim to stick to it.
4. EAT BREAKFAST
You will have heard many dietitians and nutritionists say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day It is. Your body hasn’t had any fuel since the night before, you need to refuel so you have the energy to get through the day. Eating a good breakfast will kick start your metabolism and give you more brain power. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese or suffer from heart disease. Eating breakfast will also improve your performance at work in the morning.
A healthy nutritious breakfast ensures you get a good serve of your required daily fiber and important nutrients like iron and calcium. You are more likely to eat good food than unhealthy food at breakfast time (not many people crave pizza or chocolate first thing in the morning). If you’re running short of time, do not skip breakfast. Missing breakfast will not help you lose weight and, come morning tea time, your energy will have slumped and you’ll be ready to dig into high sugar, high fat snacks. Instead, set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier to give you time to make a quick breakfast. Alternatively, keep your breakfast food at work.
If you really don’t feel hungry in the mornings, you can slowly train your body to eat breakfast. Begin with a small piece of fruit and then, over time, move to a smoothie, toast, muesli or porridge your body will thank you for it, especially when you no longer need to reach for the sugar snack midmorning. Another strategy is to eat your evening meal earlier so that you wake up hungry.
A good breakfast includes whole grains, protein, including dairy, good fat and fruit or vegetables. Think poached eggs on wholegrain toast with mushrooms, or muesli with yoghurt and fruit and nuts. Try almond or peanut butter on wholegrain toast with a piece of fruit to follow.
5. EAT THREE TO SIX MEALS A DAY
Skipping meals will slow down your metabolism and keep you hungry, making you more likely to choose unhealthy food when you do eat. Skipping meals lowers your blood sugar, leading to energy slumps, whereas eating regularly helps to keep your energy levels constant by releasing glucose slowly into your bloodstream. You will be less likely to crave unhealthy foods or get so hungry that you’ll consume any food in sight. If you eat three to six healthy meals a day, you won’t feel deprived and you’ll regulate your appetite and be less likely to impulse eat. Because you need to think about your overall wellbeing, not just losing weight, it’s really important not to skip meals. Eating regularly will give you more energy better concentration and fewer cravings. Eating a healthy morning and afternoon snack is an important part of the 12 week challenge, let’s aim to eat every 2 to 3 hours.
If you decide to use some form of meal-replacement product of some point in your weight- loss journey, it is vitally important that you choose one that is nutritionally complete, meeting all the daily nutritional requirements some over-the-counter products do not. So please ask one of the trainers for advice,
Think of it as an investment, you’ll spend money on a service for your car, BUT you and your health are more important than your car!
6. REDUCE YOUR PORTION SIZES
Remember the energy balance: if you want to lose weight, you need to eat less energy than you use. If you want to maintain weight, you need to consume the same amount of energy as you use. You gain weight when you consistently eat more than your body needs. Often this happens unconsciously through large servings.
Remember use your hand size:
• one serve of protein would be approximately the size of your palm
• one serve of whole grains or vegetables would be the size of your fist
Eat smaller portions of food and you will automatically reduce your kilojoule intake. You need to train yourself to eat less. Some people find it difficult to leave food on the plate. If this is you, buy a new set of smaller plates and bowls. Don’t be tempted to go back for seconds, put any leftovers away and enjoy the convenience of having them for lunch the next day. Also reduce the size of any drinks that contain kilojoules.
7. MANAGE WHERE AND HOW YOU EAT
Remember that food is good for you, it’s not naughty or bad, and you need it so it’s worth taking the time to enjoy your meal. After all, you’ve just spent time cooking it. Consider how you actually eat. Do you wolf down your food, half-chewed, without savoring the flavor? Fast eaters will overeat before their bodies send the ‘I’m full, stop eating’ signal (it takes approximately 20 minutes before your brain registers that the stomach is full). Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly improves your digestion.
By eating slowly and taking the time to chew, you will avoid digestive problems such as bloating, indigestion and constipation. Your health relies on your body absorbing the nutrients in your food. You will also eat less if you eat slowly. This will help you feel comfortable with the reduced portion sizes that you will now be eating.
8. GET MOVING
Exercise has many benefits and if you don’t include it in your weight loss plan, you’ll find it very difficult to maintain your weight loss long term. Not exercising means that you must eat less to maintain your weight loss, this can be challenging. If your weight loss plan focuses solely on limiting your food, you’ll get frustrated at the deprivation and may give up. Adding exercise and incidental activity to your lifestyle will allow you to take a more relaxed and realistic approach to food. Exercise also energizes you, improves your overall health, creates a positive mood and reduces stress.
9. ASK FOR SUPPORT
One of the important factors in long-term weight loss is a strong support system. This can take many forms, you need to find what works for you.
If they are supportive, enlist your entire family and friends to help you lose weight and get fit. Positive encouragement along the way will motivate you. Let the people you care about know what you’re doing and what your goals are. You will also inspire them to make changes in their lives.
Pay attention to the people in your life; are there any who might not be able to support you in losing weight and getting healthy? Find a weight-loss buddy, it could be a friend, family member or someone from the 12 week challenge group. You will be accountable to each other and this will make you more likely to turn up for the gym session or the morning walk. Your buddy will also be there for you if things get tough, because they will understand, they are going through the same experience.
Know that you are not alone. Other people are going through what you’re going through and feel like you do, and working together will make achieving your goals more enjoyable.
10. CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE AND BE COMMITTED
A positive attitude is an essential driver for successful weight loss think of these new changes as an opportunity to improve your health, empowering yourself, learning new skills, then you will succeed.
Remember these points:
· Change your self talk, no more putting yourself down, getting angry or frustrated at yourself.
· Accept and forgive the times when you indulge or slack off. Follow the 80/20 rule if you follow a healthy lifestyle 80 per cent of the time, with 20 per cent room to move, you’ll lose weight and stay committed. Let go of the all or nothing mentality.
· Develop a positive self image you need to like yourself now, not put it off until you lose weight. If you don’t like yourself now, will you really care enough to make the changes to improve your health and wellbeing?
· Changing your lifestyle during the 12 week challenge isn’t all hard work and deprivation, you’ll have fun, meet new people and feel great about yourself remember that if it gets tough…
Stop the self-criticism, start praising yourself.
Make your good health non negotiable. This is your life.
‘What does it feel like to have lost weight? Incredible! It’s amazing
how you can change your life with a little discipline and determination.