I have murmured about wanting to lose weight for the last three years. On a couple of occasions those murmurings turned in to some form of short-lived action. I tried the NHS weight loss plan twice each time running out of steam after two weeks. I then did quite a bit of research in to the different dieting methods that are trending right now; 2:5 Fasting, Weight Watchers, Fitness Pal, Slimming World, No carbs, sugar free, plant based-diet…the options out there are plentiful but each approach filled me with a sense of hopelessness. I knew I couldn’t stick to any of it, it was too overwhelming.
In the middle of May this year I decided that I would try again, but this time I would do it my way. I came up with a plan and have stuck to it faithfully for the last two and a half months and to date I have lost 1st4lbs. It’s been no miracle cure, and I’ve still got a way to go but I am really pleased with the steady progress I have made without having to do lots of equations every time I want to eat a meal.
Here is the plan that has worked for me;
Weigh Myself Daily – I weigh myself first thing every morning. A lot of people were quick to tell me that weighing myself daily would be discouraging because of fluctuations due to water retention or hormone cycles, but I have found that the vast majority of the time what I eat correlates pretty neatly to what the scales say the next morning. It’s a straight forward way to be accountable and gives me fresh motivation each morning to keep going.
Eat Less – Calorie counting just makes me want to cheat the numbers. So my aim has been to eat less, especially less junk food; crisps, chocolate, cake and pop and takeaways were the big culprits behind my weight gain. I have drastically cut down on these delicious treats. I went from having a can of coke nearly everyday to about once a week. Takeaways have gone from from once (sometimes twice!) a week to closer to once a month. A much as I could I have stopped snacking altogether and on top of that I scaled down my portions at meal times. But I have not cut out any food group completely, I still eat carbs, meat, veg and fats. I just eat less altogether. That does mean that on some days I have felt a hungry, either between meals or in the evening when my body is used to an 8pm snack, I try to fight the urge to snack by getting a drink instead. Holding off from that evening snack and then seeing a drop on the scales the next day always makes it feel worth it.
Twenty Minutes of Exercise each day – Each evening I put on my leggings, a t-shirt and my old beat up trainers. I put a twenty minute timer on my phone and then I’m out of the door and running off around our local park. I run until the timer goes off and then I go home. I don’t track my distance or my speed or the calories have lost, I just get out there and run. I’m actually really enjoying it. I can fit it in easily as it’s only for twenty minutes and I don’t have to drive anywhere to get started. I love being outside and I come back feeling hot and tired, but good and happy. I never ever thought I would be the kind of person to enjoy running but it’s now one of my favourite times of the day. On days when I can’t get outside because of the rain, I try to do a twenty minute at home work out in front of the telly. I particular like doing TV show work out’s where you have to do exercise forfeits for different show specific cliches. I have attached a couple of examples below.
Join a support group – I use Mumsnet a lot and there are some great weight loss support groups on there. I check in daily on a weight less thread to update on my progress and read how others are getting on. We are all on different plans and approaches, and everyone has different goals and struggles. But there is something really encouraging about having an online place where a bunch of people are cheering one another on. There is never any judgement when a person falls of the wagon and plenty of sympathy when things don’t go to plan, but the biggest benefit is that a support group encourages you to try again tomorrow. An extra benefit is that having the group to talk to has stopped me from spewing out all of my weight loss talk on other poor souls who aren’t remotely interested.
Reward each loss – I am taking this journey just one pound at a time. For each pound I lose I reward myself but because I don’t want to be spending money or treating myself to junk food I am “rewarding” myself with a new photo to use as a screensaver/wallpaper on my phone. I know that sounds a bit weird, but every time I lose a pound I download an image from Pinterest that makes me happy and set it as my background. Then whenever I look at my phone I am greeted with the photo which serves as a visual reward for the weight I have already lost and a reminder to keep on going.
So that’s my plan, it’s not rocket science but it is working for me. I feel like I have claimed these summer months of 2019 for myself; I have been actually put my body at the top of my priorities, instead of at the bottom. If I keep on at the rate I have been going on, then I think by the end of September I will be done with trying to lose weight and will move on to sticking to my healthier lifestyle. For anyone out there who is also struggling to lose weight and navigate the many diet approaches out there I would really recommend trying a stripped down simple approach like this; approach one pound at a time, eat less, move more, find a good support group and keep on going!