So you’ve tried every diet under the sun and you’re finally seeing some results? The important thing now is to keep up the good work! This series of articles looks at healthy eating, positive lifestyle changes, and most importantly, how to lose weight AND keep it off.
We’re following Babs’ diet journey from 18 stone down to an intended 10 stone 7. How to drop almost 8 stone? This is the 3rd update in the Babs diet: how to lose weight and keep it off. Just 10 weeks into the plan and Babs has already lost 1 stone, 12 lbs. That’s an average of just over 2.5 lbs per week!
An average weight loss of just over 2.5 lbs per week!
Losing weight improves our confidence in ourselves
As we start to lose weight, we often see our confidence improve. We are happier with how we feel, and how we look. This is certainly the case with Babs. She’s already getting into the smaller-sized clothes that she had stashed in her wardrobe for ages, because she hadn’t been able to wear them. In the last update, we looked at how organising your clothes storage keeps you motivated.
Another positive result of shedding the pounds is increased mobility. Increasing your exercise and general activity is good for you in so many ways. Since Babs began 10 weeks ago, she’s gone from leaning on the shopping trolley just to be able to make it around the supermarket, to joining me on short walks in the countryside with the dogs. This has done wonders for her self-esteem.
How important is exercise for weight loss?
However, though getting regular exercise is super beneficial for our bodies, it’s not the most crucial aspect of weight loss. Current estimates put it at 25% exercise -vs- 75% diet.
Many of us lead very sedentary lives these days: driving to work, the shops, to visit friends and family, and then sitting down at the office, in front of the TV, out on the patio with a G&T…
Even if it’s low sugar tonic in that G&T, the calories used in raising the glass to your lips won’t be enough to count as exercise.
Lots of people HATE exercise. The idea of going to a gym is unimaginable. But there are simpler, more accessible ways to be more active and gently introduce more mobility in your life. Every little helps!
Easy ways to add exercise to your life
Here are some easy ways you could introduce a little more activity in your daily life: park a little further from the office to give yourself a short walk; jump off the bus a stop early and enjoy a little stroll back home; take the stairs not the elevator when you go to the shopping centre. If you have a dog, walk it! Or at least enjoy some play time with it throwing a ball, playing tug, chasing it around your house or garden. Make it fun so it doesn’t seem like a chore.
Bit by bit, as you increase the amount of movement in your daily routine, your general mobility will improve, just as it has for Babs. She loves the fact that she can now walk around the supermarket without needing the trolley for support. And when her grandchildren visit, she can play with them more and go for walks with the family – something she had really wanted to do but couldn’t before. Being left out of family activities sucks, but by losing weight and increasing her activity a little, she is now more able to enjoy spending time with loved-ones.
Have you identified the principal reason WHY you want to lose weight or keep the weight off? Doing so will help keep that motivating factor at the forefront of your eating decisions. I don’t just mean because you don’t like being overweight. Focussing on your WHY helps you lose weight and keep it off. Read more about identifying your WHY here.
You are what you eat
So now for the 75% of the diet-vs-exercise equation. We all know that the most effective way to lose weight is to eat less. To that end, it doesn’t really matter which diet plan you choose, as long as it works for you. And if, like Babs, you have a history of yo-yo dieting, most likely you’ll have tried several different diets. Perhaps a particular one that you had success with in the past no longer does it for you? Maybe you need to try something new?
Whichever diet you choose, how much food you eat is key. Portion size is key. To help reduce portion size and overeating, try changing your plates – use smaller plates. It’s much harder to pile on too much food if the plate is little. Any portion looks big on a small plate.
Portion size is key.
Food that enables you to lose weight and keep it off
So what kinds of things does Babs eat? The diet plan she is following is set by me and changes from week to week to keep boredom at bay. If you read the last update, you’ll know that one week her weight went UP by a pound. The occasional slip is to be accepted, there’s no point beating yourself up over it. But it’s important to look at WHY there was a slip: how can the plan be adjusted, what needs to be done to not repeat the same mistake?
On this diet plan, there is very little junk food. I can’t say there is NO junk food, because prohibiting something totally is generally not very effective. Once a month or so, Babs will have a take out. The slip-up last time was caused by eating too much of the take out. Since the last update, Babs has had her favourite of kebab and chips again. She ordered a small portion size this time though and got it with salad. She had it on a smaller plate, AND managed to leave food on her plate. Way to go!
- Either 2 slices toast with butter and jam, a latte coffee, a glass of fresh fruit juice.
- Or a bowl of porridge made with semi-skimmed milk ,not water, and a tablespoon of honey or syrup on top, a latte coffee, a glass of fresh fruit juice.
- Mushroom, squash, or spinach risotto
- Broccoli and pea lasagna
- Roasted sweet potato with sage and goat’s cheese on olive bread, with a side salad, link to the recipe.
- Nachos with chilli, avocado, refried beans and sour cream
- Mexican bean wraps (this one came from Jamie Oliver, link to the recipe here)
As a snack between lunch and dinner, Babs will often have a small bowl of mixed dried fruit and nuts.
Dieting over Christmas
It’s often really difficult to lose weight and keep it off over Christmas, or on holiday, or when it’s your birthday. Of course Babs indulged in more goodies than normal. She went out for a couple of group Christmas lunches, but was careful with her portion sizes.
When the family came to visit, she ate a little of everything, but much LESS of anything than she used to serve herself. This diet plan and strategy clearly work, since she enjoyed a couple of puddings and a few nibbles of Christmas chocolate (how can you not eat at least one bit of chocolate…?) and STILL lost weight. Excellent!
Weight loss summary: 8 pounds in 3 weeks
she lost 8lbs in the last 3 weeks
In the next update I’ll be looking at some of the frustrations and complications we face when on a diet, and how to manage them. I’ll also include a couple of recipes, with a focus on adding spirulina to our food.