'Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone' Neale Donald Walsch
I'll never forget the day I sat on the beach (drinking a can of soft drink, diet of course) and feeling too self-conscious about my weight to and splash around in the water with my two young children. At the time, I was only 34 years of age and like many women, I had gone from being fit and slim in my 20's, to gaining weight as a result of juggling a busy career and a young family. It felt like I just didn't have time to think about some of the bad habits that had crept into my daily life. Looking back if I'm honest, I was eating far too much processed food and relying on quick high sugary snacks to keep me going.
I knew I wanted to make a change, but this time it had to be permanent, I was well and truly fed up with losing weight just to gain it back a few weeks later. Of course, I wanted to have more confidence and enjoy playing with my children, plus I knew that being miserable about the way I looked meant that I wasn't that much fun to be around.
I had another reason to get to a healthy weight and that was always at the back of my mind. During both my pregnancies I had suffered from gestational diabetes. I was told I was now at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and that I should commit to a healthy lifestyle. I absolutely did not want to make myself ill or for my children to have inactive overweight Mum as a role model.
So I decided to make a commitment to change and I honestly think that I may have tapped into a power that the weight-loss industry doesn't want us to know about.
I am referring to the power of the mind and in my experience, when it comes to weight-loss your mind can be your magic wand. Deep down I knew the types of food I should be eating and I knew what I should avoid, so I worked on developing the right attitude, behaviours and approaches which keep me motivated and on track to this day.
Here are my top 5 weight-loss mind set tips that freed me from yo-yo dieting:
1. Make a decision to go for it - Before when I went on diets I only expected them to work in the short term, looking back this was a limiting belief. Of course, if I was expecting the short term results that is what I would get. I made a decision to find a long term solution, to carve out a lifestyle that would be different to the one I was currently living, but would be better and sustainable.
2. Stop the stories - I told myself I was too old to lose weight, I'd never be have time to cook healthy food and that my genetics were against me. None of it was true and the best decision I ever made was to change my story. The truth is I had everything I needed to make this happen, I just had to start taking the action.
3. Get support - Having someone to cheer you on and bounce ideas off is a great way to stay motivated. I was lucky to have a supportive husband and when I was changing what we ate and experimenting with different recipes my family loved it!
4. Small consistent changes over time get you great results - I allowed myself the time I needed to make gradual changes. In the past, I had completely burnt myself out by trying to overhaul my lifestyle in 24 hours. To begin with I focused on making dietary changes. I had always exercised, so I maintained that and once I had got some new routines and habits established I focused on the switching up my fitness routine. I went from yoga and running to focusing my training on getting stronger and more toned.
5. Have fun - In the past, I always thought of weight-loss as something I 'should' be doing. Changing my mind set from 'should' to 'want' changed my approach completely. I actually enjoyed the challenge and looked forward to developing my weekly menus and trying new activities.
The key for making this work was that I had to keep it simple, I had to find a way of fitting it in with my lifestyle. I needed to give the changes I made the time they needed so that they became automatic habits. Nowadays, I am still trying to develop myself, grow stronger and learn how to cook better, but the main aim is to keep it fun. I do still enjoy some of my old favourites, just not every day (or a few times a day!) like I did before.