Today’s post is in response to a reader question. In fact, since the release of ‘Secrets of Lasting Weight Loss Revealed’ I’ve been inundated with thank-you’s and requests for feedback on reader’s food diaries and specific weight loss questions. So I’ve decided to make this week all about you guys – every post will be a response to an ‘ask me’ that I’ve received over the past 2 weeks.
Hi Kat. Do you have any advice for keeping the weight off please? I got down to a healthy body fat ratio 2 months ago, really took my time in getting there, lost several stones, thought I had learned all the lessons along the way, but sadly have put on 5/6 lbs in as many weeks, due to overindulging on sweet foods, and some binge eating. I know the info about sugar, eating protein, eating regularly, exercise, so it’s not that. I am not aware of any psychological issues, but maybe there is something buried deep. One thought I have had is that so far I have learned how to manage my nutrition for weight loss reasons, and maybe I still have to learn to eat “normally” like a healthy weight person who just wants to stay healthy, learn about portion control from that perspective, and about saying no when my head knows I have eaten sufficient. So the process continues. I really do NOT want to be one of those 90% who put the weight back on after all this effort. Can you help me please? Thankyou. Christine.
Firstly, well done on losing weight so effectively in the first place. I can understand that you’re now getting frustrated with the creeping weight gain, but don’t forget that many people never quite get organised enough to achieve what you did at all. So you deserve lots of praise for that! And the best part? The knowledge that once you’ve lost weight once, you know you can do it again.
That being said, let’s consider why you might be falling back into those old patterns.
Before you start worrying too much about deep-set psychological reasons for why you might be over-eating, let’s look at the more obvious surface stuff. There are 5 key factors that I’ve found to be common amongst people who can’t stop indulging or binging.
- Old habits die hard
- Game plan for cravings
- Mindset toward food
Let’s tackle them one by one.
1. Old Habits Die Hard
Any time you revert to old eating patterns, the first thing to remember is that it’s not your fault; not in terms of thinking you just have poor willpower at least. Even if you have only a short history of poor eating habits (and most of us have at some point had years to undo) the reality is that you’ve created a neurological pathway that’s tough to break. For many of us, eating is linked to certain emotions. Boredom, frustration, tiredness, and any kind of stress or overwhelm are the most common. What this means is that until you simply need to re-train your brain to react to any eating traps with something alternative. Part of this is about realising that the pain of not meeting your health goals outweighs the pleasure of indulging. IF you’ve been stuck in faulty eating patterns for a long time, it can take a few attempts to undo those patterns. I’ve found the best way to be to set yourself a 21-day challenge – avoid any trap foods for 21 days. It’s long enough to form a new habit, and short enough to be doable. After that you can set another goal with the same food, or with different foods. You’ll find that the more you do this the more you’ll break those mental ties to your treat foods.
Don’t underrate the importance of being prepared as a powerful weapon against poor eating. Getting home after a long day and having no real food around is a surefire trap. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll do your shopping on the way home from work when it’s so much easier to just grab ready-prepared or take-away. Failing to eat a proper breaky or lunch due to poor organisation is another no-no and will often result in either low-nutrient, high-sugar snacking, or a half-hearted attempt at a healthy lunch (such as yogurt and fruit, or a salad sandwich), which again, will lead you to craving overload. It’s a bit full on to plan all your week’s meals in advance (although it works for some), so keep it simple by planning at least the next day’s meals in advance. When you do cook, cook extra for lunches and even for breaky, and if you can grab extra time in the morning then pre-chop your vegies for dinner. Always keep ready-to-go protein at home – eggs for hard-boiling, tinned wild salmon, beef jerky. Raw nuts and seeds are also handy for your purse and desk.
This one’s real simple and real obvious, and yet so many of us ignore it. Do NOT keep food you don’t want to eat in the house. If you’re desperate, you’ll just have to go out to the corner store. 9 times out of 10 you won’t bother. A good way to keep this commitment to yourself is to only do your grocery shopping after a satisfying meal!
4. Game plan for cravings
Don’t even try and pretend that willpower alone can battle cravings. Cravings are – for the most part – a very real response to a lack of earlier nutrition. Eating protein with each meal starting from early in the morning will make a big difference here, as will these 5 tips that I’ve covered in a previous article. Further to that, a fantastic trick I picked up in my recent BioSignature refresher course is to use a spoonful or so of the amino acid glutamine (which also assists in insulin and cortisol management, as well as builds a strong immune system) with a few spoonfuls of organic full-fat cream. Ideally the cream should be raw. It might seem strange to eat ‘fat’ to stop a craving, but it’s so much better for you than a sugar overload and can even boost your metabolism.
5. Mindset toward food
Finally, remember (again) that you got the weight off and you can keep it off. Keep in mind also that weight loss and health is not usually a challenge that people conquer on their first attempt. Part of going through the ups and downs of it is learning something from each occasion, and gradually getting to a point where you can sustain long term weight loss without it being a constant battle. A technique I find very useful for any form of goal is to journal, and to do so in a forward-frame, i.e. “it is October 2nd, and I am ‘x’ percent body fat”. Doing this daily can be incredibly powerful, and will help you to stay motivated for your daily goals. Lastly , know this, believe it, and write about it as well if it helps: you are on the right track 🙂 and you’re doing exactly the right thing by asking for help and being honest about the challenges you’re facing.
I hope this helps and I look forward to hearing back from you on your progress!
*Do you have any questions for me that you’d be happy to have answered in the form of a blog post? Contact me here or reply in the comments below. I am happy to withhold your name if you prefer. Thank-you!
Reader Testimonial: Secrets of Lasting Weight Loss Revealed
All of my life I have struggled with weight loss and weight management. As each year passed, I found more kilos worked their way onto my short frame and, was resigned to adding more clothes to my "Skinny clothes" hamper. At my heaviest, I had been working out 5 times a week and eating very healthy (or so I thought). Nothing seemed to work and I had all but given up hope. Then, a couple of months ago, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a fairly common condition in women which, amongst other things, causes your body to store very high levels of insulin - which makes losing weight a nightmare. I asked my Doctor what I could do to combat this condition and was told search Google or take drugs... Thankfully, I was able to turn to Kat for some advice and a realistic plan to take back charge of my body and my insulin levels. Now, for the past 30 days I have been following what I learned from Kat and for the first time in about 10 years, I am actually happy. Aside from caffeine withdrawals in the first couple of days (coming down from 4-5 coffees to 2 per day), the benefits have kept piling up whilst the kilos have dropped away. The benefits have not just been weight related - I am also less irritable, less stressed, more energetic and my Irritable Bowl Syndrome seems to have disappeared. I have to date lost 7 kilos and 3 dress sizes. Most importantly, I have been able to start reclaiming all my Skinny clothes - one by one. It's amazing how easy and how delicious weight loss can be just by making some simple and logical changes that I would never have thought of before. Thanks Kat!
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