5 things getting in the way of your weight loss
When I ask people to tell me one thing they’d change about themselves, a common answer is “I’d like to lose some weight”. It’s at the top of New Year’s Resolutions and crops up regularly throughout the year, with diets “starting on Monday”.
You don’t need to be ‘overweight’ to want to lose weight. Maybe you want to tone up. Maybe you’ve got an occasion coming up like a holiday or your wedding. Maybe you’ve just had a baby and want to get back on track.
It can be difficult to achieve a weight loss goal. There are a number of obstacles and barriers that may appear in front of you, but you can overcome the vast majority of them with a bit of self-reflection and support.
The top 5 most common obstacles:
“I don’t have the willpower”
“I never stick to anything longer than a few days”
“I just can’t do it”
These are all crises of self-confidence. What makes you think you don’t have the willpower? Maybe you just haven’t been clear enough about your end goal when deciding to lose weight. Maybe you don't have the right support in place. By picturing your end goal, and writing it down, you’re much more likely to be reminded of this when you have these dips in self-confidence. And don’t forget how much more confident you’ll feel when you hit your goal.
Sometimes it just helps to have someone on your side, or to be able to talk about your experiences with someone. Think of the people you spend most of your time with; friends, partner, family members, maybe even colleagues. Have you explained to them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it? It’s often when someone doesn’t understand that they find it harder to support you.
Try telling your colleagues “I’ve decided I’m going to focus on my health and weight and will be eating differently from now on. I’m doing it in a healthy and sustainable way that works for me.” Nobody is going to laugh at you or criticise your choices when you’ve been so clear with them, and it will likely make you more determined to stick to it too!
3. I don’t have time
All you see on social media is people meal prepping and planning. Don’t let it fool you; I bet only a tiny number of these people do it consistently every week.
You don’t have to set aside hours to prep your meals every week (of course if this is what works best for you, it is a great way to save valuable time during the week and get the chore out of the way while you feel more motivated!). But consider how much time you already spend making food for yourself or your family. By consciously making a few portions each time you cook, you won’t add any extra time but you’ll end up with a few meals’ worth in the fridge or freezer to be eaten when you have less time during the week. That way, you’ll be much less tempted to reach for something unhealthy when you’re tired and have little time.
Maybe you’ve already been trying to lose weight for a little while, but aren’t seeing results. Don’t forget, the best way to sustainable weight loss is slow and steady. You may lose a little more at the beginning when your body adjusts to the changes you’re making, but it’s not realistic to expect a huge weight loss every week.
Consistency is a huge consideration; are you sticking to your plan every week without fail, just to have a couple of “cheat days” over the weekend? Think about what you might be reversing from your healthy week. I’m not saying you can’t have a treat when you want one. But you do need to remember that what’s important is your average intake over the week and if you spend your weekends reversing your hard work from Monday to Friday, you’ll see very little movement.
5. I don’t know how to lose weight healthily
We’ve spent years hearing all sorts of stories in the media about what, how and when we should be eating. Unfortunately the easiest assumption to make is that if you eat less, you’ll lose weight. But that’s not the case!
When you first cut down on a macronutrient like carbohydrate, you’ll see quite rapid water loss at the beginning because molecules of carbohydrates are attached to molecules of water. You may also see a dip in your weight because you’re eating less sodium (salt) so your body is holding on to less water which it would usually use to balance your sodium levels.
If you have a bigger calorie deficit (i.e. eating fewer calories than you burn), you won’t be getting the amount of nutrients you need which will start to affect other bodily functions. You’ll feel tired, have headaches, might be constipated or have menstrual problems, and you’ll start to see muscle loss. Your metabolism will also slow down to conserve energy, so you’ll end up burning a lot fewer calories than you’re used to.
Taking the first steps
The first step to losing weight is to make the decision. Tell yourself that you want to lose weight and decide on a realistic and achievable goal. Write it down if it helps. Tell your friends, family, colleagues what you’ve decided. And get started. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that one slip-up means you’ve failed; we’re all human and we all need a pizza every now and again. It’s about being conscious of what you’re eating and why, and drawing a line underneath it. There’s no point in feeling guilty about something you can’t go back and change.
A good Nutritionist can support you in overcoming your barriers and give you helpful, personalised hints and tips. With a programme from Active Nutrition, you’ll get regular check-ins and can get in contact with Sophie when you need to, whether it’s to ask a question, to get a little confidence boost, or to celebrate your successes.
Book a consultation today and let’s help you achieve your goals.
Don’t forget that any weight loss goals will be complemented by regular exercise; the NHS says you should try to be active daily (even a brisk walk will fulfil this) and mix aerobic activity with some strength exercises to stay in tip-top health.