Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who can eat whatever they want and never gain weight. But I am not. My weight goes up and down throughout the year but I never allow myself to exceed a specific number. If I gain weight and I don’t feel good about it I will definitely work on losing it. But I don’t do diets as they are restricting and hard to follow. Although, I did go on a low-carb diet last year in winter and did manage to lose a few pounds but it was too restricting and not healthy at all so I won’t be doing that again. Instead, I found a better way of losing weight which I will share in this post.
Everything starts with a decision
In November I made a decision. I am going to lose some weight. There was one month when I just had too many treats and not because I bought them, it’s because they were available at work. So I gained some weight. Despite all the cycling I do.
It’s funny actually, because I actually thought that by cycling to work every day I will manage to lose weight but I didn’t really. Cycling actually gave me an excuse to eat more! I just thought, that’s OK, I can have this biscuit or this cake because I cycle every day anyway and I would use those calories. This thinking lead me to having too many treats over time which actually made me gain weight! I learnt my lesson now so never again.
When I made a decision to lose weight I also made a decision to avoid too many sweet treats, possibly not have them at all.
Change your mindset
Before you even start, get your head straight first – your mindset will have a big impact on your success. All you need to do is believe that you can do it, you can make the changes you need to make to lose weight.
Also remember to focus on positives – focus on being healthier, feeling more energetic and the good feeling when the weight comes off, how good it feels when your clothes feel loser.
Your mindset will have a big impact on your weight loss. First, get into the right frame of mind and start believing that you can do it. Yes, you CAN lose weight. Say it loud!
Be clear on your ‘why’
Knowing why you want to lose weight will keep you motivated and make it easier for your to resist temptation. I had many ‘whys’ in November when I made a decision to lose weight. The biggest one was probably my work’s Christmas party. I wanted to look good in a dress which I haven’t worn in a year. And I knew that when I wore the dress last time I was a little bit slimmer…
Another reason why I wanted to get slimmer is just because December was coming and in December there is my birthday, there’s Christmas and the New Year’s Eve. I don’t want to hold back on those days. I want to celebrate! My biggest weakness is cakes and sweet stuff which I would eat more than I should around those days so naturally I gain a few pounds.
On this blog I promote healthy eating but I am not shy of admitting that I do eat cakes and sweet treats when I want to. It’s all about the balance at the end of the day. So yeah, I just wanted to prepare myself for the season when I am likely to gain some weight, that’s another one of my ‘whys’.
Small lifestyle changes do matter
This time I didn’t go on any kind of diet at all. I just made some small changes in my life which all added up and helped me lose around 5 pounds. First of all, I stopped having a small portion of muesli in the morning so I would cycle to work on an empty stomach.
My commute to work is not that easy, there are a few hills on the way which make me work pretty hard so when I arrive at work I am all sweaty and feel that I just had a good exercise.
Exercising and having no breakfast means that your body relies on fat stores for energy. I believe that this definitely made some difference. Of course, I would still have my breakfast, but it would be slightly later in the morning.
When it comes to food I started paying more attention to other little things such as:
- eating only when about 80% full or even less
- having smaller portions
- avoiding processed foods, cakes and biscuits
Interestingly, I did very well by not eating any cakes or desserts for a while and I had no cravings for them either. That just made things easier for me really. Instead, many times I was surprisingly craving a salad!
I am not saying that you should totally give up all your favourite foods, no, this may not be the best idea. But what you should do is just think about the small changes you can make. Can you have only 1 biscuit instead of 2? Do you really need a big slice of cake? Why not having a smaller piece instead? Can you replace sugary drinks with something else? The key here is to change something for better, it doesn’t matter how small it is as small changes do add up.
Controlling your sugar cravings
Dealing with sugar cravings can be hard, for women especially, who experience cravings before their period is due. It’s really important you know how to control your cravings as otherwise all your good intentions will fall out of the window.
I know exactly how to control my cravings. Basically, before a woman gets her period, she will have more need for certain nutrients, magnesium especially. Magnesium is a mineral found in chocolate, that’s why many women crave chocolate before their periods. But the dairy chocolate is full of sugar and not exactly healthy. A better choice is a dark chocolate (at least 80% cocoa) but even better is if you consume other foods rich in magnesium such as dates, broccoli, certain nuts and green leafy veg.
I do try and pay more attention to my diet about a week before my period is due, but it’s not always possible to get all the magnesium needed from the diet alone so I supplement. When it comes to magnesium I use a few magnesium products which I apply topically – these are from Better You (magnesium spray, magnesium butter and magnesium body lotion). These are not only good for controlling your cravings before your period is due but they are also great for your joints and muscles, especially after the exercise.
If you are a man you shouldn’t experience the type of cravings women normally do – the key is a healthy and well-balanced diet full of nutrients from a variety of food sources. In this way your body should get everything it needs from a diet and any cravings should actually disappear.
Exercise makes a big difference
Just making a few changes to your eating habits may not make a massive difference and if you really want to speed things up then the exercise is the answer.
In order to boost your weight loss you should really be more active. It’s a good idea to focus on fat burning workouts if you can. When I was trying to lose some weight I was already pretty active, cycling to work every day, and going for short brisk walks during my lunch time. But I felt I needed to do more.
I believe what really helped me lose a few more pounds is the fitness DVD I introduced after a few weeks. This fitness DVD from Extreme Bootcamps is hard, really hard and in the beginning I could only do about 30 minutes of it. BUT, after a few more attempts, I managed to do 40 minutes and then finally the whole 60 minutes of it. The exercises are designed to work all your muscles and burn fat quicker. I felt it really made a difference to my body and helped to flatten my stomach.
If you haven’t exercised in a while just start with walks first. Walk as much as you can and increase your time slowly.
Most importantly, find the exercise you enjoy as only this way you will be more willing to do it regularly.
Something to keep in mind – shorter intense workouts will help you lose weight quicker.
Alcohol is your enemy
If you really want to lose weight and you are a regular drinker, consuming more than just a few pints of beer a week, then you really need to try reducing that. Alcohol has a lot of calories. One pint of beer, for example, has around 180 calories and to burn it off you would have to run for 13 minutes or cycle for 15 minutes (source). Is it really worth it?
If you cannot totally give up on alcohol, at least reduce the amount you drink.
Luckily I am not a fan of alcohol so I don’t have to worry about it but it’s something that could make a lot of difference to somebody’s weight loss success.
Remember to be consistent with your actions. Without this you will no doubt fail. It’s no point eating until you are 80% full five days a week but when the weekend comes you overeat until you cannot move. Stick to your decisions and keep your mind strong. Don’t give into a temptation easily and when you feel tempted just remember what you what to achieve and why. Again, I am not saying not to have treats, just don’t have that many.
You don’t have to go on a diet to lose weight. All you need to do is make a few small changes in your life which will all add up and help you lose weight gradually over time:
- First, make a decision
- Work on your mindset
- Know your ‘why’
- Small lifestyle changes add up
- Control your cravings
- Avoid alcohol
- Be consistent with your actions
I managed to lose about 5 pounds in less than a month by just making some small lifestyle changes and you can do it too. I know 5 pounds is not much but for me it was a good outcome since I didn’t really need to lose much weight anyway.
If you do follow any of my weight loss tips in this article and manage to succeed I would like to know!
Are you planning on losing some weight in the near future? Do you already have a plan on how you are going to do it? What do you think it’s the best way of losing weight? What works for you? Share your weight loss tips below!