It’s January, which means we’re all about to be bombarded with the usual diet detox bullshit so I thought I’d throw my Wholeheartedly Healthy approach into the mix! It’s now been 7 years since I made my New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, going on to lose 4 stone in a year. Since then, as regular readers of the blog will know, it has been an up and down journey for me, but I’m happy to say I’ve kept off most of the weight. As a holistic health coach I have lots of experience on the topic of weight loss so I thought I’d start a mini series of blog posts all about it this January.
Where better to begin than my take on the truth about losing weight! So much will be written about it now and over the next couple of weeks, but there are a few realities that you can’t sugar coat…
It’s ok if you want to, and it’s ok if you don’t
I feel like there’s such pressure on us women. Half the time we’re told we should be losing weight, and the rest of the time we’re told we should love our bodies and be happy as we are. For me, I don’t think those things have to be mutually exclusive, however it’s the messages we get that can be confusing and make us feel bad whichever path we choose. It’s ok to love your body as it is now, and want to lose weight. It’s ok to love your body as it is now, and not want to lose weight. You are the commander of your own ship! Only you know what feels good and is healthy for you, and that’s the approach I’d advocate here. If you feel like you’d be healthier losing some weight, that’s ok, it’s how you approach it that is key.
There are no quick fixes
Honestly there is nothing that is going to help you lose weight overnight or even in a few weeks, certainly not if you want your weight loss to stick. It’s going to take time, sometimes months and even years to find a happy weight for your body. Speaking from experience though, it’s so worth it!
Eating healthy food might not be enough
There’s a big belief that if you just start eating ‘clean’ foods that you’ll automatically drop weight and become a size 8. Unfortunately for some of us that’s simply not enough. If you have underlying hormonal issues, mindset problems or blood sugar level imbalances, you might need to do more than just eat clean to lose weight. I’m talking about reducing (not necessarily quitting) sugar and natural sugars, managing portion sizes and most importantly dealing with the mindset and emotional stuff that holds you back.
Less is not more
Eating less and less food will not help you lose weight. It’s true when people say that your body will enter starvation mode and its metabolic rate (the rate at which food / fat stores are burned for energy) will drop. It’s finding a balance where your body is losing 1-2 lbs a week that’s the key.
Cardio is not king
I used to spend hours and hours in the gym on the cardio machines. Yes cardiovascular exercise like running is good for you, but unless you’re training for a marathon or half marathon, constant rate cardio probably isn’t the best thing to help you lose weight. Weight training supports your body to build muscle which is metabolically active (i.e. burns calories) even at rest, so even if you’re not burning as many calories during your workout, you’ll be burning more calories overall. High Intensity Interval Training is a form of cardio which is performed over a shorter period of time (shorter workouts, score!) and also has a greater effect on metabolism.
A calorie is not a calorie
I have a lot to say on the topic of calorie counting which I’ll cover in a future post, but for now what I will say is this: a calorie is not a calorie. You can eat 1500 calories of processed crap or 1500 calories of real food and the difference will be huge! This is a big part of being Wholeheartedly Healthy, we want to be nurturing your body to its healthiest and losing weight at the same time.
Your life won’t be better and you won’t be a better person when you’ve lost weight
It’s true. As much as it may feel like all the crap in your life will disappear when you fit into a size 10 pair of jeans, sweetheart, it won’t. I say this with love: if you aren’t happy with your life now, losing weight isn’t going to change that. You also won’t be a better person when you’ve lost weight. I’ll admit, when I was on my weight loss journey I almost felt superior to other people. I could stick to eating less (and as it happens, less and less) and eating ‘pure’ food and I’d be better than everyone else. It’s a hard thing for me to say, because I know what a total bitch I sound, but that was my way of thinking back then. That’s incredibly dangerous and it lead me down a dark path of very disordered eating. Now, I can look back and see where that mindset came from.
Losing weight might make you healthier, it might even make you more confident and you might get fleeting moments of happiness when you go shopping for new clothes or receive complements from family and friends, just remember that it won’t transform your life completely, there’s a whole lot of other stuff you might need to deal with to do that.
If you don’t love your body now, you won’t love it then
I truly believe that cultivating self love whatever size you are is key to being able to successfully lose weight. It makes the weight loss journey more enjoyable and nourishing for your body and soul and it means that you’ll actually be happy with the result. When you don’t love yourself, no goal weight will ever be enough. Again, I’m speaking from experience here, I had a goal weight of 11st, but found myself at under 9st still hating my body! Self love doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and work, much like getting healthier and losing weight. Why not work on them all at the same time?!
You don’t have to use the scales (but they can be useful)
I have a full post planned all about using the scales, but in a nutshell, there’s no need to use the scales if you find they are a negative influence on you. Weighing yourself every day is not healthy! Remember that weight is subjective. 10st on one woman looks different to 10st on a different woman. We don’t walk around with our weight tattooed on our foreheads do we? Size and shape is usually more important and you can measure that with a tape measure or the fit of your clothes. If you can keep to weighing in once a week, then the scales might be more useful and motivational for you.
It’s f**king hard
There’s no other way to say it, losing weight if you’re doing it right, is hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be slim! It takes focus, determination, perseverance, willingness to change and acceptance. But the result of being healthier is SO worth it.
Check more of my posts on weight loss here:
If you’ve lost weight, what lessons did you learn? If you struggle, do any of these points ring true for you?