For this week’s post, we’re focusing on an issue that crops up for us every year – losing weight for the summer. I don’t know about you but I’ve never been very good at keeping the pounds off. I’ve yo-yo dieted for years but have never been able to find the right balance for keeping the weight off completely.
I’m not ashamed of my body, far from it. People have the right to be loved for every shape or size they want to be. But being overweight doesn’t make me feel happy or particularly healthy.
I get out of breath walking up the stairs these days – the pandemic really did me no favours in the diet department. Also, it’s a fair few months since Lockdown ended so I really need to stop using it as an excuse for my lack of fitness! It’s time to get serious about getting healthy. But how?
I’m not one for following rules as I hate being told what to do, so programmes like Weight Watchers don’t work for me. I don’t like cooking very much and I feel like diet ready meals always look unappetising and unhealthy. I can’t cut down on ingredients effectively so I adopt an all or nothing attitude that always ends up failing. Plus, I just don’t have enough hours in the day to spend exercising, mostly because I’m too tired!
The only option that I can see left to me is to adopt a different mindset when it comes to thinking about food or diet. Have you ever noticed how some people just don’t think about food at all? They eat when they’re hungry and generally don’t seem to worry about dieting. Inevitably, these people often have no problem with their weight and have a good relationship with food. They seem to be slim without trying. Bastards.
In today’s blog, we’re going to look at how to adopt a slim mindset. The idea is that if you think like a slim person and adjust your mindset accordingly then pretty soon, you won’t have a weight problem. From the outset, this seems like a pretty good way to lose weight and keep it off without having to follow any kind of gruelling diet regime. Let’s see what that looks like and how we can give this a go.
Eat to Feel Satisfied, Not to Feel Full
Slim people are rude – they don’t eat everything on their plate. I mean that in a sarcastic way of course. Slim people likely didn’t grow up in a household where you weren’t allowed to leave the table until you had finished everything on your plate or were constantly reminded that there were starving children all over the world who would be lucky to have what you have. Either that or they broke with this parental brainwashing early in life.
The key is to eat until you’re satisfied not until there is nothing left. Try pausing halfway through your meal and asking yourself whether you still actually feel hungry. If you’re not, then just leave it – simple right? This feels like a practice we can all easily adopt so give it a go if you want to try and reduce your portion sizes.
Get More Sleep
Studies show that slim people tend to get at least two extra hours of sleep per week compared to those who are overweight. There is a theory that lack of sleep is responsible for lower levels of appetite supressing hormones. If we try and add 17 minutes more sleep to our nightly routine, we may find that we feel less hungry during the day. Sounds simple to us but not everyone has a good relationship with sleeping. Try to get to bed at least half an hour earlier than you usually would and follow some of the tips from our previous blog on overcoming sleep sabotage.
Exercise Self-Control and Resist Emotional Eating
According to research, the biggest predictor of weight gain for women in later life is their lack of inhibition and self-restraint. Those who had a high degree of self-restraint tend to be slimmer and are far less prone to weight gain. This makes a lot of sense to me as I’ll admit that when it comes to food, I don’t have a high degree of restraint. If I fancy something, I just eat it. If I’m stressed, I’ll have a glass of wine and some chocolate. If I’m sad, I’ll have some cheese on toast.
Generally for me, this is because I exercise such a high degree of self-restraint in other areas of my life that my only outlet or sense of comfort comes from food. So how can I overcome this? Well, clearly I first need to find another outlet to process my emotions and I need to have some self-restraint! Taking up a hobby that you can pick up when you’re feeling a need to express yourself can help – something like writing art. Preparing myself for social occasions where my inhibitions may be low could also help – setting a maximum number of drinks in my head and telling myself I’ll split a dessert if I want one when I go out with friends are good starters for ten and definitely habits that I can start to adopt moving forward.
Stick to a Routine
I hate routine – it’s boring and dull and its not something that I can sustain. However, slim people tend to stick to them. They don’t vary their diets greatly and tend to eat at the same times every day. Studies show that an extremely varied diet with too many tastes and textures can encourage you to overeat as you just want all of the flavours, all of the time!
Sticking to a loose food schedule that gives you the option to swap out chicken for fish or meat in the same meals will effectively limit your opportunities to overindulge. Essentially, try and be a bit more boring with your daily diet and refrain from mixing it up too much. On the plus side, shopping will be a lot easier!
The big thing for me has always been exercise. I’m not a fitness freak, I’m very much a couch potato. I hate all sports and find most exercise to be thoroughly boring. Unfortunately, slim people tend to be active an extra two and a half hours a day more than those who struggle with their weight. If you want to be slim, you’ve got to move.
Ideas for how we can add more activity to our day without noticing include:- setting a timer for 30 minutes and trying to do as much cleaning in the house as possible (bonus, you’ll have a cleaner house at the end of it), track your daily steps with and app or fitness device and gradually challenge yourself to add more every day, add some form of exercise either before or after work. Shockingly, the average time we spend sitting down every day is between 16 – 20 hours. Jut reading that stat makes me want to move more!
When you look at the list of things we can do to adopt a slimmer mindset, it does not appear to be that difficult but appearances can be deceiving. If you want to make a new habit stick, you need to keep it up for at least three months. I can safely say that I will give a few of these tips a go as the idea of changing my mindset is vastly preferable to the thought of going on a diet. Adopting healthy habits that stick is definitely the way forward and we hope you give them a go too, rather than committing yourself to another fad diet.