The first step
As with any journey, there needs to be preparation. In this instance we are focusing on weight loss and breaking through the weight loss barriers for those of us who are over 45. Of course, the same can be true for any age wanting to improve their health, but it seems just that bit harder once we step up the age ladder.
This same principles can apply to any goal you have in life.
There are many barriers blocking our way, such as myths about foods, being told you can’t lose weight over a certain age, being misdiagnosed or not correctly diagnosed with a condition. We let time and family commitments hold us back, and sometimes we get plain discouraged and perhaps shrug our shoulders as we try to trick ourselves into believing it’s all good. l’m ok, I’m happy, people should take me as I am and other such platitudes! You may feel you’re happy, but are you healthy?
The fact is you need to concentrate on YOU. Perhaps reorganize to allow yourself time to become the person you wish to be.
ALL of your family will benefit from your new energetic self.
Getting your head In the game
Step one is getting your head in the game! Weight loss really does start in the head. So, how do we do this?
Motivation is the key, your WHY.
It has to be YOUR why, not anyone else’s, it has to be FOR YOU, not for anyone else.
Now, having said that your why may be because you want to be around for a long time to come, to spend with your family, (and who doesn’t), to be more involved with them, be able to do things with them and for them.
Perhaps it is just being able to dance with your grandkids, or play cricket with them without feeling like your going to pass out through lack of oxygen!
It could be hobbies that you want to continue enjoying but struggle with pain or brain fog. All, or any of these issues, or some only you know about, have become your weight loss barriers and they have held you back for way too long and it is time to realize your worth.
That awesome living miracle that is you. Dare to resurrect those dreams that you have buried due to discouragement.
I can only relate to you how I have achieved this step. it is still a work in progress, but I am so way ahead of where I started. I personally believe we never stop growing. Even so there are days when I need to remind myself of my why which leads me to the all important step of writing it down!
I have written out my goals a few times, and they change over time. I will be revisiting them soon but this time I want to make my why (s) into a real arty focal point! One of my friends has made his ‘why’ list into a lovely piece of wall art by having the word ‘WHY’ outlined on a board and then filling the letters in with photos of his children. He has designed the background to reflect his passion, it is very cool!
However, for us mere mortals just to get them down on paper and stick it on our mirror, the fridge or a place were we will see it all the time, is a start.
Become a movie maker
Imagine yourself doing the things you currently cannot do, paint ‘mind’ pictures of what that life will look like, revisit them often. It’s like producing little videos that you can rewind and play as often as you need to.
Basically you are training your mind to see you as you will be, not how you are now. It really does give you more energy just to think this way. I find when I think like this it brings a smile to my face, warmth to my heart and determination to my soul.
How you see yourself can really affect your outcomes.
I will paraphrase a very wise saying that ‘without a vision a person will perish’, In this case, the vision is of yourself doing the things you want to do, and looking how you want to look. A vision that will pick you up in the slumps. Without a clear picture in your mind, success will be limited.
It does pay to write down your vision of the future you and your life in as much detail as you can imagine and play the movie often.
Though these principles can be applied to any area and goal in this instance we are aiming for weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. So picture yourself as trim, taught and terrific, (aim high). What you will look like, the clothes you will wear, the activities you can do…write down ‘a day in the life of the new you’.
I have images cemented in my mind of walking along a lovely sandy beach with my husband, I look really good and we are happier than ever.
I have other pleasant images of that time to come too. Yes, I am still on the journey, but I will never give up. I believe the time is coming sooner rather than later and I would be so excited to have you come on the journey with me.
It took me a few attempts to achieve this task, self made barriers held me back – I told myself it was silly to write these things down, that it was just ‘pie in the sky’.
Since writing my vision down I have wondered if we are afraid to put pen to paper so to speak, because once you do that it becomes more real, almost tangible and, dare I say, it can make you accountable to yourself!
We are making a commitment to ourselves which means we then have to actually take action.
Our brain is ready and awaiting Instruction.
Creating your circle of safety
This step is very important – aren’t they all though! Gather two or three trusted and supportive ‘fans’ (aka friends or relatives), People that you can confide in, people who will encourage you in the low times and cheer you on in the high times.
You need to be prepared to let your ‘fans’ speak openly into your life, in a constructive way with no condemnation or judgement.
Do not compare yourself with the results of others on the same journey, everyone’s journey is different.
There will be speedhumps to traverse which will slow you down, and sometimes you will move along quickly. The important thing here is not to give up if you fall off the wagon. Just enjoy the moment and then get back on the wagon!
Do NOT get into self-condemnation – it serves no useful purpose. Get back to those mind videos or read your vision statement. It’s a great place to revisit when you are feeling you have strayed onto a backroad instead of the road you should and want to be on.
I saw a little saying in my reading that said if you don’t quit then you are already a winner. It is good to have a timeframe, but don’t make it so rigid that it can’t bend a little here and there, even if you zig zag. By just keeping your eyes on the prize you will win the race.
As you have been preparing your mind you could also be looking for the vehicle you are going to use to keep you motoring on your exciting journey to a rejuvenated you.
There are many options available, the trick is to find one that suits you.
Most importantly, it must be sustainable, otherwise you will just fade into your previous eating habits. If you try something and find it isn’t right for you, then swap tactics but don’t quit. Remember this is a marathon not a sprint. Make changes one or two at a time, get used to it for a few days or so, before making the next change, don’t go from whoa to go in the first week – that is doom right there!
Whatever you choose, remember the age old principles- consume less than you put out and combine with exercise – make it fun, start slow and build up, do not attempt to go all out everyday if you are not used to exercise. Walking is a good start, again start with 15min and build upto an hour.
I have always found the early morning is the perfect time for me, unless it’s teeming with rain of course. But you choose the time that suits you best.
If you are like me and walking is not or cannot be a part of your plan yet (but it is a goal), then gentle strength building exercises from your chair are a good start, I have seen programmes for this type of exercise advertised on Facebook. But of course, if you are already fit enough then get out there and enjoy.
Another point I would like to mention is try and go organic if you can afford it, or in the very least avoid products with lots of preservatives, and artificial additives. Go as natural as possible and avoid artificial sugars in any form. These artificial sugars do you more harm than good. They actually increase your appetite, amongst other things.
Best look for alternative products, eg, swap soda drinks, even those that say ‘zero’ sugar for plain mineral waters, or get rid of bubbly drinks altogether. I have been off these things so long now even a sip causes my nose to screw up! I will talk about these things in depth in later posts.
Plan out your meals and create shopping lists so you always have the foods you need on hand. Some people cook in bulk and freeze portions, this keeps them out of the kitchen and away from temptation.
I have found that it helps to have a breakout day – still semi controlled. Just to make things more bearable, but in order to earn that reward you have to stick with it on the other days. Eventually the plan is to not need a break out day. Habits will become just that and you won’t even think twice about good choices. I find that now when I go to eat sweet things I used to like, I cannot eat them – they are way too sweet!
You could promise yourself a new outfit when you reach a certain weight, or something that will make you feel great and celebrate your win. Maybe a timeout in a cuddly corner with a good book and a hot beverage of your choice. Make it something that you find difficulty fitting in at other times.
Break the amount you want to lose into bite sized pieces (Pardon the pun ????). Aim for each goal, and then reward yourself. Not by munching a box of chocolates all in one sitting! If you are good at keeping a journal, then use this as a tool. It is good to look back to where you started and where you are after a while.
I have chosen a weight loss method using meal replacement shakes, I have been using this for a little while now, but have really only just started in earnest. I have lost 3kg in just a few days but I do expect that to slow, but that is ok as it is best to lose slowly, it tends to stay off.
I am following a hormone and gluten free regime one for over 45’s. So far so good. I will share more on this product at a later date.?
If you have health issues like myself – just run your plans by your doctor, making sure that you’re not going to do more harm than good with your chosen plan.
When all your little duckies are in a row – then off you go. (A word of warning, don’t wait for perfection or you will never move forward – you can tweek your plan as you go).