If you’ve struggled to lose weight in the past, you know that stress and weight loss don’t mix. Think of how many weight loss attempts have been sunk because you:
- Felt deprived
- Worried that you weren’t making progress fast enough
- Were unable to juggle your new diet with the demands of your life
Perhaps each attempt ended with your feeling guilty, disappointed, and finally, hopeless. But if this is your experience of losing weight, you’re not alone. Most people’s response to this is to just try another diet (“This one will be the one!”) and hope for the best.
But I’ve got a better idea. When you’re going to lose weight, you need to take the stress out of the equation. As soon as stress is removed, you’ve got the greatest chance of success. So here are 7 tips to lose weight without stress:
1. Take your time.
I mainly work with women over 40, and many of my clients have been trying to lose weight for 30 years or more. And yet, many still want to lose weight as quickly as possible. What’s the hurry? The fact is, if you’re in a rush, you’re putting a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself. Will it really make a difference if you’re slim in six months instead of three?
2. Make tiny changes rather than overhauling your entire diet.
There’s something that feels good about detoxing and wiping the slate clean. But this sort of drastic change is very hard to maintain and it puts you under tremendous stress.
One of the most important discoveries for people learning how to maintain long-term weight loss is that you can get there by just making small changes. When you make small changes, it’s easier to integrate it into your life and much less stressful.
3. Allow yourself a life.
A lot of pressure is created by total denial of the enjoyment aspect of food. But this is not sustainable. There must be a fun element preserved. Don’t feel guilty when you have the occasional treat. (And yes, you can go out for dinner and still lose weight.)
4. Eat what your family's eating if you can.
Nothing kills diets quicker than having to eat different food than the rest of the family. Especially if you’re the one who has to prepare it! Try and keep your meals similar to what your family is eating. This will be easier if you embrace point #2 about making small changes.
5. Expect stumbles along the way.
So many people assume that their weight loss attempt must be a flawless journey. The big challenge comes when something goes wrong. It’s often enough to make people give up. But expecting perfection is unrealistic (in anything!). You will slip up every now and then. Don’t let this come as a surprise and a disappointment! It was unrealistic to expect perfection
6. Be grateful for your stumbles; they're your greatest teachers.
Think of every single time you’ve “stumbled” on a weight loss attempt. Why did it happen? I would say that each stumble indicates a problem area that needs to be addressed. For example, if you overeat late at night, perhaps your takeaway is that you need a mid-day snack. If you eat more on days when you're sleep-deprived, then maybe your lesson is that you also need to focus on getting your zzzs. If you don’t address these areas, every time that situation comes up again, you'll trip up. In other words, your long-term success relies on working out how to deal with these situations. So view your stumbles as good news. And each time you iron out a problem area, you'll be that much stronger for it.
7. Focus on trends, not tiny changes.
Weight goes up and down day to day. I think that weighing yourself every day is a good habit in the long-term because when you’ve reached your goal weight, it makes it much easier to pick up trouble early.
The only drawback is that when you’re losing weight, it can be too easy to focus on day-to-day fluctuations and take them too seriously. You'll find it much easier when you learn to appreciate that a one-off reading means nothing, and that the trend is much more important.
Remember, you don’t just want to lose weight for the day, you want to be slim and healthy for life.
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