Our Top Tips for Sustainable Weight Loss
1. Work out your why.
If you’re really clear on your specific goal you can focus less on the numbers and more on that. It’s great to drop weight if you need to but a better diet and regular movement will help you look and feel better, even if the numbers don’t budge quickly. Finding your why can also help you to stick to your plan when the going gets tough and motivation is hard to come by.
2. Set small, incremental, achievable goals.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the total sum of weight we feel we need to lose, especially when we hit plateaus and progress becomes painfully slow. Breaking down your goal into smaller amounts can help you celebrate the wins along the way (they’re hard earned).
It’s also really useful to set behavioural goals like walking to work 3 x weekly or limiting take away dinners to only 1 x weekly – these are the things we actually struggle with and when we master these, the numbers will often change seemingly on their own!
Remember that a healthy recommended weight loss of .5-1 kg should be the maximum per week.
3. Keep a ‘food, movement and feelings’ diary to track your progress.
Evidence suggests that food and activity diaries both result in more and longer lived weight loss so it can a helpful addition to your game plan. It’s worth monitoring how many serves of fruit and veg you’ve managed to get in and how many minutes of high and low intensity activity you manage to get.
It’s also really helpful to track how you feel day to day as sometimes we become so fixated on our weight goal that we fail to notice we’re actually achieving our real goal of looking, feeling and moving better!
In trying to monitor and measure your success, remember that your body must change internally to create the change you want to see externally. So even when progress seems glacial, there is much change happening beneath the surface and slow change is likely to meet less resistance and is more likely to stick than fast change so embrace the slowness of the process. Try to zoom out and focus on the big picture, only take your measurements periodically (not every day!). Don’t just track your weight though, take a photo and set a fitness test to see how your body copes with exercise and recovers.
4. Get your friends and family on board.
Let’s face it, keeping active can be tough and when we prioritise exercise it can feel like we’re missing out on time with our loved ones so why not make active social plans and kill the two proverbial birds with one stone? A regular walking coffee catch up, a hiking holiday or even a roller skating date are all fun ways to get your daily minutes of movement and burn calories. You’re also more likely to stick to an exercise plan when someone else is counting on you – no one wants to be the one that cancels!
5. Aim for progression – not perfection!
We tend to get call caught up in following a plan perfectly but an activity plan shouldn’t be a short-term, quick fix but rather a routine we aim to maintain for the long-term… years, decades even so when you miss a session, a week or even a month… zoom out, shift your attention to the big picture a see the potential of what you can achieve over the longer term, even when the wheels fall off for a bit. Remember consistency is key!
6. When the going gets tough – don’t give up, get help!
Take a step back and reassess – scale back if you need to, prioritise and target the low hanging fruit and don’t if you don’t know what to do, seek the support and guidance of a professional. Getting a registered health professional on board can help you develop a plan that reflects your specific health priorities and takes advantage of changes most likely to yield results. Evidence suggests that you’re more likely to stick to a personalised plan that is developed collaboratively between you and your exercise physiologist than if you go it alone.