Summer is well and truly here, the weather is warming up, the barbecues have been dusted down waiting expectantly in the garden and the shops are full of tiny, skimpy clothing that all your friends are wearing. In the winter, it’s so much easier to hide in larger, long sleeved clothes that cover our entire body but as soon as the weather warms up, these are unbearable and totally useless. The days of hiding in them is almost impossible not least because everyone is parading in colourful, summery clothes!! I know the feeling because when I was overweight, I used to long to wear shorts, vest tops and bikinis like everyone else but instead I had to settle with long, shapeless maxi dresses or leggings and a floaty top. Neither made me feel good because everyone knows that no matter how hard you try you can only breathe in for so long and there’s no hiding a larger behind or stomach that’s for sure. At that time, cardigans were a big favourite of mine and I would refuse to take them off no matter how hot the weather was!
Don’t panic, there are things you can do right now to begin to feel better immediately. Over the years, I have adopted so many habits that have helped me to lose weight and keep it off and here are 7 to get you started:
- Nutrition NOT calories
When you make decisions about what to eat, try to opt for foods that are known for their health benefits. This is such an easy way to make quick choices with the added assurance that they will help not hinder weight loss. It does not mean that you can’t enjoy foods that you love more like chips, burgers, pizza etc. By all means, have them but when you do, aim to INclude good foods such as extra vegetables to top your pizza, salad in your burger and put spices that are good for you on your chips. This will instantly mean that what you are eating contains ‘good’ as well as ‘bad’.
- Walk whenever possible
This is a no brainer but it is often overlooked. How many times when you are taking a short trip in the car, could you have walked instead? If you decide that from now on, you will opt to walk whenever it is possible, it will make a huge difference to your weight loss goals in a positive direction. The short walks will add up and you will see your step count grow!
- Positive NOT negative
Always try to focus on the positive choices you can make rather than the negative ones. This focus can apply in every area of your life for example:
- Watch more life affirming films than those that are not
- Read inspirational quotes instead of the news
- Listen to upbeat songs instead of depressing ones
You will find that you will start to feel happier about life and about yourself. In a state of contentment, you will make better choices.
- Do not use denial
When you have the urge to eat something that is seen as bad such as fish and chips, the worst thing you can do is not have them! Denying ourselves leads to the ‘hunger monster’ growing to such proportions that we end up having not only the fish and chips but also cakes and chocolates and crisps. If instead, we give in to this craving and decide to have the longed-for fish and chips, we will be much less likely to let this lead to a full blown binge.
- Do not starve
This is another very big NO! A positive outcome will never come from starving yourself. In fact, the opposite is almost always guaranteed. You are much more likely to go on a bingeing spree when you are starving because the hunger monster will refuse to go away. Instead of making us thinner, starving leads to eating much more than we would ordinarily and this will inevitably lead to weight gain. When you choose to feed your hunger, you will notice that bit by bit, it disappears completely! One takeaway is not the problem; one takeaway, a large bar of chocolate, a sponge cake and two packets of crisps will be.
- Wear clothes that fit
This may sound like a weird habit but it really does work. When you wear clothes that are tight and too small for you, every spoonful you eat seems to make you pour out of your outfit. You feel self-conscious all of the time and think (falsely) that you only have to eat a small amount and you’ll gain weight. To add to that, you feel uncomfortable all day and this just fuels a negative self-belief.
- Learn to say no
This is about saying no to all the things that drain our energy and not about saying no to food. When you are constantly trying to please others, you have little time for yourself. In this state, you have less time and energy to devote to your well-being meaning that you may skip meals, opt for takeaways, miss a gym or pamper session just so you can honour your commitments to others.
Written by Sherry Taylor
Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle