Here are some of my top tips for keeping yourself motivated and staying on track!
Get organised! Planning:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
At the start of the week, sit down and give yourself half an hour to write out a food plan... and do your best to follow it! I like using the SW online food diary when I have time but I much prefer writing things down in pen.
It can also be a good idea to write out a shopping list of all the ingredients you will need so you don't buy lots of food that will get wasted (or naughty snacks!).
If you do buy snacks, try and plan those out too.
Use your healthy extra B choice allowance on tasty cereal bars or research some low-syn chocolate/sweet options so you can stay within in your syn-limit!
ALWAYS try not to buy anything unless you have a good idea of how many syns are in it. Never guess, eat, and look it up later! Bad move!
Keep your food plan and any awards you have in plain sight!
It will be a good reminder every time you go to open the cupboard or fridge (aimlessly..we all do it) and it will hopefully stop you from picking and snacking! I know somebody who used to keep a "fat photo" of herself on her fridge for this very reason.
An interesting method..not for me, but might work for you!
Keep yourself hydrated:
Hungry? Have a drink first! More often than not, we think we're hungry when we're actually dehydrated. A big glass of water will make us feel fuller in between meals. If you're still feeling hungry, then try and opt for a free or superfree snack. If this fails and you are still hungry after an hour, think about having a filling meal!
If you bite it, write it!:
Keep a food diary or at least try to log down any syns you've had as soon as possible, sometimes it's easy to forget everything you've eaten throughout the day! I keep a little notebook handy, but it's just as easy to log it down in your phone and pop it in the food diary later!
Give yourself some alone time to read through the Slimming World magazine, browse the internet for new recipes or read some success stories on the SW website. Write down any good tips!
If you haven't used Pinterest before, I recommend giving it a try!
You can save any photos, links to articles or recipes from all over the internet to one place - on your own personal online 'inspiration board'.
I have one for Slimming recipes which you can see here: http://www.pinterest.com/georgievale/slim-friendly-food-recipes/
Set yourself little goals!:
“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”
― Margaret Lee Runbeck
Reaching target weight isn't the only thing you should be looking forward to. It can make your journey seem never-ending, especially if you have a lot to lose.
Sometimes it feels like there's no light at the end of the tunnel!
You can feel confident and happy in yourself even if you aren't a target member.
I think people presume they're going to feel instant happiness when they get to their end goal, but I believe you actually collect little sparks of encouragement and confidence with every smaller achievement along the way.
Make a list of the things you'd like to achieve on your slimming journey.
For example; fit a certain item of clothing better, drop a dress size, wear a bikini on holiday, feel confident at a friend's birthday party etc! Tick these off as you go along, remember to celebrate and recognise every achievement. It will make you feel good about yourself and the direction you are heading in!
Be adventurous: TRY NEW RECIPES!
Don't be scared to try out new meals. Variety is the spice of life!
Keep your menu interesting and you will look forward to your meals more.
Try using a new vegetable or spice you've never had before! You might like it!
I highly recommend browsing online
at www.slimmingeats.com for new recipe ideas!
Be PROUD of your meals:
Buy a nice plate and bowl set. Make your food look appetising - presentation is key! I always try and take a picture of my food, even if I don't share it with anyone. I like to keep a folder of all the new recipes I've tried and sometimes I post it on here with the recipe if someone in group has seen the photo online or heard me talking about it at club. Trust me, it does work!
Before and after photos:
Sometimes it can be encouraging (no matter how daunting!) to take a photo of yourself at every milestone you reach. Half a stone, stone etc.. it will be great to look back on your progress and see the difference in yourself!
It can also be incredibly motivating to see before and after photos of people who have lost weight on the same plan as you. It gives us hope when everything seems impossible! We all have to start somewhere!
Left: Probably me at my biggest, just before I started losing weight. It was this photo which was the final straw for me - this is when I knew it was time to start dieting. Right: A recent photo taken when I reached my 4 stone award.
I used to hate having my picture taken. Before I started dieting, I would cry for hours and delete every single photo of myself. I would keep myself logged in to Facebook constantly just incase someone tagged me in a photo I didn't like, so I would instantly be able to ask them to remove it before anyone else could see it. Now, 4 stone lighter, I feel so much more confident in front of a camera. More often than not, I'll try and get in to group photos with my family and friends when we go out instead of hiding behind someone or insisting that I don't want my photo taken. It's so much nicer to feel involved!
PICTURE yourself slimmer.:
Okay, so, to some people, this might seem a
little bit ridiculous but honestly it works!
We all have some sort of 'ideal body' in mind
when we start our slimming journey, don't we?
Along with the health benefits and other things,
Let's face it, our main reason for slimming is really for the body confidence!
Whether you want a figure like Marilyn Monroe, Kate Moss,
Scarlett Johansson (my personal goal), the Special K advert lady,
how you looked 10 years ago, your next-door-neighbour's dog walker..
we all have to be able to imagine ourselves in this way to keep the determined!
You could print off a few photos of celebrities or people with 'the ideal figure' and make an inspiration board. You could pop the photographs on the fridge to remind you where you want to be and how you want to look.
Or, you could go on to FaceInHole.com and literally paste your face on to other people's bodies. It can be hilarious and really motivating!
Here's my face on the body of Lady Gaga. I was pleasantly surprised!
Retail therapy: Clear out your wardrobe!:
When you drop a dress size, have a good rummage! You'll realise that your old clothes are fitting you differently - some things will drown you! It's very easy to feel attached to clothes but it can be quite motivating to spend the day sorting through your wardrobe and assessing which garments don't fit you anymore. Pass your bigger clothes on to friends, family, charity shops or sell them on eBay! Why are you keeping them if they don't fit anymore? And DO NOT use the "what if I put weight on again" excuse ;) That mindset won't get you anywhere! Make room for prettier, smaller clothes! Plus, it gives you a great excuse to save up and treat yourself - who doesn't love shopping? There's nothing more satisfying than discovering you have dropped a size! I am still terrified of buying jeans, but I'm sure the day will come where I don't cry in the dressing-room mirror, faced with the image of myself in these denim demons. I wait for that day eagerly, and it shall be glorious.
I do, however, recommend keeping one item of clothing from when you started your weight loss journey. When you have reached target, try it on and you will really notice the difference! It'll make for a great photograph.
Group support: attend your local club!:
I cannot stress enough just how essential the support at my Slimming World group has been to my weight loss. I really don't understand these "weigh and go" people. I honestly look forward to the one hour a week where I get to completely surround myself with other people who are following the plan. Outside of group, I do feel like I talk about it a lot with friends who probably aren't interested, but it does take over your life a bit and it's okay to be enthusiastic! But on a Monday evening I get to feel normal and I remember that I'm not doing this alone. I've made so many friends, we have a good laugh and share loads of great recipes and ideas. It's also good to stay to group especially if you've had a bad week, because you know everyone else has been in the same position at least once and they are all so supportive about it. No one judges you, everyone is in the same boat. It really puts me back on track and kicks me up the backside when I need it the most!
Last but not least: DON'T PANIC! Remember how far you've come:
Whether you've just started your journey or you're almost at target,
try not to let a bad day turn in to a bad week..
which can turn in to a bad fortnight or even a bad month!
It's very easy to put the weight back on but before you fall in to the trap of the downward spiral, think back to how you felt on your first weigh in and how far you've come since then. You made the brave decision to face the music, start a healthy eating plan and change the way you think about food forever. It's quite the commitment! You know it works, you know it's worth all the effort you put in to it because you've seen the results. It's easier to draw a line under a bad day and start a fresh tomorrow. Don't panic, don't be too hard on yourself and don't dwell on the slip-ups or the amount of syns you've had that day.
Do get back on track and go back to basics! We all feel deprived and go on a little binge every now and again. It's only human! But only you have the power to turn things around.
It can be a good idea to have a visual reminder of your progress.
For example, I have this chalkboard on my wall which acts as a bit of a 'countdown to target' and really keeps me in check. When I'm feeling low, deprived or like I am falling in to bad habits, I always look over at the board and the numbers make me feel really proud. It restores my faith in the plan and keeps me going!
If you've made it this far down, thank you so much for reading this massive post!
I hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to share my blog or leave a comment - I would love to talk to some more fellow SW members! There are so many of us around the world, it's kind of like being part of a community isn't it?
Apologies for not posting for a while, but I really did have a major set back and instead of writing a long 'sorry I've been in a rut' post, I thought I'd share some motivation tips with you! Now I'm back on track again and there's no looking back. I would very much like to be at target for Christmas! (but wouldn't we all?!)
Slow progress is better than no progress.
Nothing is impossible.