12 Techniques for losing Seven stone
There’s a good chance you’ll have tried diets and exercise programmes in the past which haven’t worked for you – but don’t give up. You can see from the before and after photos in newspapers and magazines that big weight loss is achievable. If they can do it so can you.
We’ve asked the experts for their tips to help you along the way.
Here are the 12 Techniques for losing Seven stone
1. Think about why you are overweight
It’s not just about overeating and not exercising. If you analyse why you are overweight it may help you. Ask yourself do you actually gain something from being overweight? If you are bigger you may feel more protected emotionally. You may like to hide behind your extra flesh. It may be keeping the opposite sex away. Often very overweight people describe feeling invisible in society.
“For some people, especially those with low self-esteem, carrying extra weight can feel like having an emotional ‘buffer’ which can feel protective, as if others don’t really see or know the real person,” says chartered psychologist Dr Rose Aghdami.
By thinking about your subconscious motivation to stay heavy it may lead you to address those issues and help kick start your motivation to start losing weight.
2. Are you in a good place to start?
If there’s already a lot going on in your life, perhaps big changes at work, in a relationship, or if you are grieving or having emotional problems, throwing serious weight reduction into the mix isn’t always a good idea.
For your new food regime to work you need to be ready to commit 100% to lose weight. If you have other issues to contend with, you may be more likely to throw in the towel and start comfort eating.
That doesn’t mean you have to wait until your life is perfect before trying to lose weight, that’s unrealistic as no-one’s life ever really is, and it could be just a delaying tactic.
Some people who are going through disruption and stress may find that starting a weight loss program helps them as it is one area of their life that they can control.That was the case for 39-year old Georgina Wallace. She says: “There’s no good or bad time to start. I just woke up and thought: I’ve got to do this. I’m taking ownership of this even if everything else in my life is falling apart. My day could have been full of stress but a positive at the end of the day was I stuck to my food plan and didn’t succumb to chocolate.”
Georgina from Middlesex lost 7st 12.5 lbs. (50kg)
3. Be responsible for yourself
It sounds simple to say you are the one responsible for what you put in your mouth but it’s true. There may be lots of complex reasons why you want to eat junk, or eat just for the sake of it but you can overcome those feelings and be accountable for your weight loss plan.
“You need to know your own triggers and weaknesses. I’ve learned a huge amount about myself and my relationship with food,” says Georgina. “Some people turn to drugs or alcohol. I turned to food.”
Her advice is: “Take ownership of your body. I used to blame my genes, family history and being big-boned until I realised I was overweight because I ate too much rubbish and it was up to me to lose it.”
To cement that responsibility it helps to have a structure to your days and weeks. It may involve attending a weekly slimming club or weighing yourself every week at a friend’s house or you may have specific days for exercise classes or walks.
“The mental approach to your weight loss journey is crucial,” says Jill Tipping from the charity Helping Overcome Obesity Problems (HOOPUK). “Without the correct acceptance of accountability; it is unlikely that someone can achieve long term success. The reason for making changes has to come from the individual and they have to own it!”
4. Get help
You don’t have to do this alone. There is professional support on offer.
“Support available depends very much on where you live. Resources are patchy and those that are there are not always easy to find,” says Jill. “Starting with your GP is the first port of call, but if you don’t get any joy there (our members tell us many GPs are not aware of the services in their area, which is often down simply to lack of communication), contacting local health centres and local authorities is the next step to see what help is available.”
Your GP or practice nurse will be able to talk about diet and exercise options suitable for you. They may offer you exercise on prescription where you are referred to a local active health team for sessions with a qualified trainer.
Georgina didn’t ask her GP for help. “At my heaviest, 22 stone, I avoided doctors like the plague as I knew they want to talk to me about my weight which I was massively defensive about.”
It’s best not to bury your head in the sand but to find out what your GP and local authority has to offer.
5. Get support
Many people who lose a significant amount of weight do so through the support of a slimming group. There are plenty available with the most popular in the UK being Weightwatchers, Slimming World and the Rosemary Conley programme.
5. Get support continued…
All have different healthy eating plans and formats so it’s about which suits you and your personality best.
Georgina lost her weight with Slimming World and now runs her own group. “One of the main reasons I lost the weight was down to my consultant and the other members of the group who didn’t think I was a weirdo as we were all going through the same thing. If you had a good week or a bad week they’d support you and not judge you as they knew how you were feeling,” says Georgina.
“Absolutely nobody can take on such a monumental challenge by themselves,” says specialist dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association Aisling Pigott. “You can use formal support like GPs and slimming groups, as well as family and friends, mobile phone apps and online initiatives.”
“Set yourself challenges that don’t involve the scales,” says Jill. “A lot of our members get involved in 5km races for charity or it may be to simply walk to a certain point. Each time a challenge is met, set the next one.”
6. Put yourself firstWhen you are determined to lose weight you do have to develop a kind of selfishness. You don’t have to agree to go to a restaurant where there’s nothing on the menu to suit your weight loss plans, pick a different place that means you can stay on track.
Think about what you want to eat during a day. Take the time to prepare yourself a healthy lunch to take to work so you don’t have to grab whatever’s available in a canteen or cafe. Make a weekly menu for yourself first, with dishes that are suitable for you and then think about everybody else’s food needs.
“Stabilise your eating habits and plan ahead with healthy meals,” says Aisling. “We know that people that have regular meals are more successful losing weight than those that skip meals.”
Oliver Greene, author of The Menace of Obesity, lost 8 stone 6 lbs (55kg) in 2 years. He says: “To lose the weight you need a change of food and a change of mind, you need to put yourself first, always be Number One and don’t allow other people’s negative views of your weight to affect you.”
7. Play the long game
Don’t think of it as a diet but a lifelong plan to eat healthily. Realise you aren’t going to lose 7 stone and more overnight. It’s a slow process that could take a year or two if you lose the weight gradually.
“Fast weight loss is just a waste of time. You must do it methodically and dedicatedly,” says Tam Fry, spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum. “You must want to lose it and not get disheartened if it comes off at a pound a week.”
7. Play the long game continued…
The good news is it’s going to be easier for you to lose weight, especially at the start, as you have a lot to lose.
Oliver says keep your long-term aim in sight. “Get a photo of someone whose body is the size you want to be and Photoshop your face onto their body and look at this picture everyday and say to yourself you will achieve that weight.”
There may be relapses during such a continued period of trying to lose weight. “Identify what your ‘why’ is and make sure it is strong enough for you to focus on in tough times,” says Jill. “Understand that one bad day is not the end and you may as well give up. A bad day is just that – a bad day.”
8. Short term goals
Have short-term goals along the way. Your goal may be to run a marathon but reward yourself at every mile marker you pass.
You may want to lose a stone before a holiday or fit into a currently tight outfit for a wedding in 3 months. Give yourself realistic targets to aim for on the way to your target weight.
Georgina says: “I celebrated every time I went into another stone, when it was 17 stone 13 and a half pounds then 16 stone something.
I remember reaching 15 stone and getting into a size 18 dress and feeling like the bees knees even though I was still on my journey.”
Be proud of yourself every step of the way. Every pound you lose is a step towards your goal.
“The big message is that losing a lot of weight is not an easy job by any means. It takes a magnitude of strength and determination to make these changes,” says Aisling. “Whilst 45kg may be your overall aim break it down into small goals and praise yourself for every goal achieved.”
9. Take away temptations
When you have decided the time is right to start to lose weight, get rid of all of the junk food in your house. Don’t allow biscuits, cakes, sweets or crisps into your cupboards if you know you won’t be able to resist them. If they aren’t there you won’t be able to eat them.
Fill your fridge and shelves with healthy food that is suitable for your new regime. “Buckle down and divest your cupboards of any sugary, fatty foods. Only eat the most nutritional foods like fruit and vegetables and keep off the junk,” says Tam.
Don’t feel guilty if other family members moan about the lack of treat food, it’ll benefit them too. If they do want something sweet or fattening to eat they can have it occasionally, but it can’t have residence in your house long-term if you’re likely to eat it.
By all means reward yourself along your weight loss journey but not always with food.
Instead of a slap-up meal to celebrate half a stone gone, treat yourself to some new make-up, a spa day or a trip to the cinema – in fact anything you’ll enjoy that isn’t edible.
“One phrase that sticks with me,” says Georgina, “is ‘Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog’!”
She rewarded herself instead by shopping in ‘normal’ shops buying some leggings and getting some long knee high zip up boots. “I still have chocolate,” says Georgina, “but I just don’t have it as a reward.”
Aisling says you can cut yourself some slack occasionally. “Plan for treats, but not binges,” she says. “Try to include treats in your plans (i.e. it’s my birthday on Tuesday so I will have a small slice of cake), but try not to plan to overeat (i.e. it’s my birthday on Tuesday so I will eat as much junk as I want).”
11. Think of the benefits
Always have in the forefront of your mind the benefits of losing weight. You’ll look better and be healthier.
“Don’t focus on what you will be losing out on (sweets, chocolate, wine) but instead on what you will be gaining (control, confidence, health),” says Aisling.
She adds: “Don’t just focus on how you look, measure health benefits like mobility, breathlessness and comfort.”
Think about how you’ll be able to run about with your children, play with your grandkids, go swimming on holiday without feeling awkward.
12. Medication and surgery
If you are severely overweight and have tried and tried to lose weight through diet and exercise in the past to no avail, you may be a suitable candidate for weight reduction medication or surgery.
“If you are thinking about surgery you have to meet the NICE guidelines otherwise it’ll cost you £5,000 plus,” says Tam. “And the problem is if you have a gastric band or such like you have it for life and you’ll have to eat a modified diet for ever even when you get to your healthy weight.”
Final thoughts of 12 Techniques for losing Seven stone
We asked the two ‘real experts‘ to sum up their advice. “Remember your goal and believe in yourself,” says Oliver. “Never give up,” adds Georgina.
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