Daily in clinic I see clients desperately wanting to slim down and not understanding why it's not happening for them. So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts about this...
Feel like you’re trying your best to slim down but nothing’s happening?
Could it be one of the following five things:
1. You’re Eating Too Much - Healthy or Unhealthy
Even if you’re eating healthy food, if you’re eating more than your body needs, your body will store this extra as fat.
No matter what dietary approach you’re following – high protein, sugar free, paleo – if you’re consuming too much energy overall, you won’t slim down. We are one of the first generations to have to deal with a constant oversupply of food. It's everywhere, all the time, ready to go. Which makes it hard to eat only what you need. Perhaps you're eating too much at meal times?
Or you may be snacking too often during the day?
Do you finish everything on your plate, regardless of how hungry you are?
Do you eat due to boredom rather than hunger?
Many people multi-task while eating. Checking emails or social media, watching t.v.
Mindless eating can make it very easy to eat more than you realise or need.
What can you do? For the next few days, write everything you eat down in a diary like this one. With a non-judgemental, curious mind, at the end of each day review it to see how often and how much you eat. Any surprises?
2. You’re Out Of Touch With Your Hunger Cues
In a society with an overabundance of food on offer, its vital to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness signals and allow them to guide you on when and how much to eat.
And it’s really vital that you distinguish these cues from wanting to eat simply because food is there, somebody else is eating or because you saw some food that looks appetising.
Do you even remember what hunger feels like? Too many of my clients eat because it’s lunch or dinner ‘time.’
As mentioned above, many people eat mindlessly.
Others may eat due to stress, but it’s hard to gauge when you’re full if it wasn't hunger that caused you to start eating!
What can you do? - Before you eat, ask yourself ‘how hungry am I?’ - Eat slowly and mindfully, then halfway through the meal ask yourself ‘am I feeling full?’ - Again ask yourself how full you are when three-quarters of the way through your meal. - Repeat this process every time you eat over the next week or two and see what happens.
3. You’re Not Active
Life these days makes it incredibly easy to be inactive. In fact, lack of activity has become the norm in our society. Most people have sedentary jobs and get in their car to go places. Its estimated that the average person now sits for 12-13 hours a day. Yet the human body is designed to move.
Previous generations were much more physically active than we are and food was much less widely available to them. The reduced need for incidental movement in our daily lives and the constantly available, energy-dense supply of food are explanation enough for the gradual increase in body weight that most people are experiencing.
What can you do? - Commit to walking every day (yes, all 7 days) for at least 30 minutes. - Don’t sit for long periods of time during the day. Get up and stretch or move around at least once every hour. Even if it is to get a glass of water. - Include 20 minutes of strength training at least 3 times a week in an aim to maintain or build muscle. Muscle mass has the biggest influence on energy consumption. In other words, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be :)
4. There's a discrepancy between what you want and what you believe
A part of you wants to eat better and/or exercise more so you can slim down but there is also a part of you that isn’t completely sold on the idea.
Perhaps you’ve slimmed down in the past using some gruelling diet or exercise regime which was really hard work and the thought of having to do that again is terrifying.
Perhaps you’re a very sociable person and don’t want to miss out on ‘having fun’ with your friends.
Perhaps something unpleasant happened in your past that makes you feel that being bigger makes you safe somehow.
To achieve any goal you need to be 100% certain you want it. If you have mixed emotions you won’t tap into your full potential or ability to achieve that goal.
You'll end up getting in your own way and becoming even more frustrated.
What can you do? Listen for excuses you use. What do you tell yourself about your ability to slim down? Common ones I hear are: ‘I’m too busy to exercise or cook,’ or ‘I’ve tried everything and nothing works.’ There could even be some truth behind these excuses. But if you want anything strongly enough, you’ll find a way around such excuses. If you don’t you’ll find an excuse to stay stuck in your comfort zone. Write a list of all the reasons why you can’t slim down, then go through and with compassion, see how much truth there is to each one. Note: If you are struggling with an unpleasant past which makes you feel being smaller is unsafe, therapy is the best approach.
5. You Don’t Believe You Can Do It
As Henry Ford famously said -
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Beliefs are possibly the biggest driver behind why you do what you do. What you say, either to yourself or out loud has a powerful impact over your ability to take action.
If you continually tell yourself “I can’t lose weight”, you will act in accordance with this belief. It will shut down your drive and motivation to take action.
Your beliefs shape your potential to change.
Your beliefs determine your thoughts.
Your thoughts determine the actions you take which in turn provides you with your current results.
Choose your words carefully and believe you CAN change.
What can you do? Listen to the Marisa Peer talk on how to mastermind your life to learn more about how your mind works. In my life coaching approach I use a powerful tool to help you discover the thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back and guide you through the process of changing them. Hypnotherapy is another powerful way to change strongly ingrained beliefs. Book an appointment to see me where we can discuss this in more detail.