“I have followed every diet under the sun and my weight has gone up and down for years. No matter which diet I was on I always wanted to reach my goal weight so that I could stop starving myself! As soon as I came off the diet the pounds piled on again. Now I have found a way of eating that I know I can sustain for the rest of my life. The food is delicious and I never feel hungry. My friends are all commenting on how well I look and how much weight I have lost. I can’t thank Christy enough for introducing me to this way of eating.
So if like me you are fed up being on the diet yo-yo then take the plunge and contact Lose It and Love It.
If you notice your weight starting to creep up once you hit 30, your lifestyle could be having more effect than you think. We all know the obvious triggers such as eating too much and not doing much exercise but there are some sneakier factors that can play a big part in weight gain. Here are some of the most common ones to avoid so that you can keep your tummy trim and within a healthy weight range.
Too Much Stress
Struggling to keep your stress levels under control? There’s a good chance that it’s affecting your weight – especially for women. Your body releases the stress hormone, cortisol, during stressful periods and this can send your blood sugar levels haywire. According to studies, high cortisol production leaves you craving sweet foods and means you’ll probably eat more calories.
Cortisol also changes how your body uses glucose, makes it harder to burn fat and makes it easier to store fat. Women are more likely to store fat on their stomach but this can also be true for men. Abdominal fat has been linked to health issues so it’s definitely something you want to keep to a minimum!
Falling Into Emotional Eating Habits
Not taking care of your wellbeing can mean that you eat in line with your emotions rather than when you’re genuinely hungry. Feeling sad, stressed, lonely, bored or disappointed can lead you to eat to fill an emotional void and crave particular foods (usually the unhealthy kind!).
You might feel a little bit better in the immediate aftermath but in the longer term, this type of emotional eating can have a big effect on your weight. Most of the time, you won’t get a signal to say that you’re full and it’s all too easy to find that you’ve eaten a lot more than you planned in a very short space of time. And you probably won’t feel any better afterwards. In fact, you may well feel a whole lot worse as it’s common for emotional eating to make you feel guilty and ashamed of your food choices.
Not Sleeping Well
Poor sleep quality makes you more likely to eat more calories and gain weight. This is because it disrupts hormones that control your appetite. Lack of sleep increases production of ghrelin and decreases leptin levels, which means it’s harder to manage your appetite.
Sleeping well is one of the underrated ways to keep your weight in check as your levels of these hormones will be a lot more balanced.
Not Building Muscle Mass
If you spend a lot of time sitting down and aren’t very active, you probably don’t have much muscle mass. This might not seem like a big deal but it’s a common weight gain trigger.
Lean muscle boosts your metabolism and makes it that little bit easier to burn calories. If you don’t have much lean muscle, your metabolism doesn’t get this benefit and it’s harder to burn calories.
One of the best ways to build more muscle mass is through strength training. Don’t worry- you won’t end up looking like a bodybuilder! The idea of strength training is to build a toned body with minimal body fat rather than the bulky look we often associate with weights.
Not Eating Enough
Being on a diet more often than not means you’re definitely going to lose weight, right? Not always! Restricting your calorie intake too much slows down your metabolism and encourages the body to go into “starvation mode” so that it can run on fewer calories. This also means you burn fewer calories too as your body uses most of your intake to survive.
These kind of diets are very hard to stick to in the long term. Chances are, you’ll go back to a less restrictive way of eating but your body can still be more likely to store fat. This is why many people find that they gain weight after coming off a low-calorie diet.
Eating “Low Fat” Foods
Just because a food claims to be “low fat” doesn’t always mean that it’s going to help you to stay in shape. A lot of supposedly “low fat” options are often high in sugar and salt to make them tastier and can also contain a lot of calories. Eat too many of these “low fat” foods and you’re probably going to put weight on!
Tips for Avoiding These Triggers
So, what can you do to avoid these common triggers and get your body in the best shape?
Eat a healthy, balanced diet that isn’t too restrictive on calories and stay away from “low fat” foods that can promote weight gain
Be physically active and help your body to gain a bit more muscle mass
Get plenty of sleep to keep appetite hormones in balance
Make stress reduction a big part of your self-care routine and finding healthier ways to manage your emotions that don’t involve emotional eating
Adopting a more mindful approach to eating so that you don’t eat on autopilot
I have made the decision to share my personal journey with you all. This wasn’t easy to write as I am a very private person but as a coach, I feel it is important to be able to relate to my client’s struggles and be able to offer support and encouragement from a place of personal experience. I see so many people struggle with their own health and weight loss issues for lots of different reasons. Healthy eating and managing your weight isn’t just about what we put in our mouths. It’s so much more than that.
After having my second child I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and generalised anxiety. I lived in a constant state of fear. I can only describe it as living with that same sensation of that split second a car pulls out in front of you. You slam on your breaks, you get a fright, your heart is thumping, you can’t breathe and your legs are shaking. Depending on how big a fright you get this sensation of panic will pass. However, for me, I lived in this constant state of ‘fear’ day in and day out. I stopped leaving the house and was utterly terrified my kids and I would be killed in a tragic accident. We stopped going to the shops, I stopped walking with the buggy and we stayed in the house all day long. I lived like this for around 6 months before getting help.
Help for me came in the form of antidepressants, a particularly nasty kind because I was breastfeeding. After about three weeks the sense of impending doom lifted and I was able to function again. I went back to work a few months later and things were good. I was a bit of a zombie and gained a lot of weight which I couldn’t shift on my medication. Looking back now, I wish I knew then what I know now about the true powers of exercise and good nutrition.
When I was well and feeling better I weened myself off the antidepressants. My diet at this time was poor, highly processed and I consumed a LOT of sugar! I tried various diets and they worked for a few weeks but were unsustainable long term. I would lose some weight then put it back on, or I would reach my ‘goal weight’ then revert back to my old ways and pile it back on and feel like a failure. A common story for so many people. That diet treadmill is a horrible cycle to be stuck in.
Fast forward one year and I fell pregnant with my third child Charlie, he was a pleasant surprise, however, I was scared post-natal depression would rear its ugly head again. Fortunately, it didn’t. In fact, I felt amazing. I had three gorgeous boys and I felt really good. This came as a big relief to me, I was more sociable, outgoing and generally a much happier mummy. I believed my days of depression were behind me at last.
Five months later my world was turned upside down in a split second when I discovered my husband was having an affair with someone I viewed as a friend and had been since before I fell pregnant with Charlie.
My husband and I separated almost overnight and I found myself a new place to live. Due to the situation, I also made the decision to move my kids to a different school and nursery. (This all happened in a matter of weeks, 2 weeks to be exact!) This was such a difficult time for me mentally, I was terrified of the thought of being a single mum, bringing up three wee boys all by myself. It wasn’t how I thought my life was going to turn out. Silly things would sadden me, like family holidays, how would I ever manage two weeks on my own in Spain with three kids, silly I know but I felt like my dreams of a family life had been taken away from me.
At first, I muddled on the adrenaline got me throw the first few weeks but as the dust settled I could feel myself slipping down ‘that’ horrible road again. I just couldn’t go through all that again, my kids needed me more than ever! They needed a fully functioning, happy, loving mum. They also needed me to support them through this sudden change to their family life. Everyone I confided in about my concerns for my children, told me how resilient kids are and to not worry about them too much. How right were they, thank goodness!
After several trips to the doctor, I was prescribed another course of antidepressants. I reluctantly accepted them as I felt it was my only option. After arriving home from the doctor’s surgery clutching my prescription, I sat at my kitchen table staring at them, not wanting to take them but also not wanting to feel this bad either, I wanted the old me back.
I knew deep down this depression was caused by a situation in my life that I knew in time would get easier. I made the choice to researched how to help improve my depression and anxiety without medication. It became very clear quickly, that exercise was up there as one of the main ways to help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Nutrition also played a massive roll in alleviating the symptoms of depression. So that was it I was hooked! I threw my anti-depressants to the back of the cupboard and decided to get myself through this with healthy eating and exercise and it worked, it worked fast. I am not saying anti-depressants are bad or should be avoided because they helped me in the past. This time I wanted to help myself in a way that I knew would benefit me long term. I would not recommend coming off medication without consulting your doctor first.
So my journey to a happy, healthy Christy began nearly 5 years ago. I started walking every day with the buggy, then running and I started training weights, lifting heavy weights made me feel strong, with no man around the house I needed to be strong physically as well as mentally. I cut sugar from my diet and cut out alcohol Monday to Friday. I started my journey by eating clean, cutting all processed food from my diet, including flour, sugar, bread, pasta and avoiding preservatives, colour additives and fat replaces. I felt amazing, strong and above all HAPPY. At a time where I could have easily gone in the other direction, I managed to help myself through self-care and love. I nourished my body with everything it deserved. I was so passionate about how wonderful I felt I wanted to support others through their own struggles and help them make positive changes to their diet and lifestyle. I knew I could do this because I had gone through the changes myself. I 100% do not view this type of eating as a diet but as a lifestyle approach to food.
Honestly, I can say I felt amazing almost instantly, more energy, alert, I was losing pounds every week, my hair and skin started to glow. It truly did change my life and relationship with food forever. I was so pleased with my results and keen to learn more I went onto to study Nutrition.
It was at this point I decided to create Lose It and Love It, I wanted to help others achieve what I had with my health goals. My mission was to help my clients feel fabulous by nourishing their bodies with wholesome foods. My approach to weight loss, nutrition, my one to one coaching and accountability helps clients make lasting changes to their diet and lifestyle. I feel so privileged to have helped so many women make the change.
Life throws so many curve balls and that’s what life is about, right? I hope my personal journey has shown you that things have not been smooth sailing for me and that I struggle sometimes but I always know that if I focus on a healthy balance of exercise and good food I will feel better again very quickly. If you are struggling just now my biggest piece of advice is to start taking good care of YOU.
It is that time of year again, the holidays are a distant memory, the kids are all back at school and dare I say it Christmas is fast approaching!! Yes, I did just mention the C word. As wonderful as the summer months are, it becomes more challenging to stay focused on your diet and exercise regime. We all naturally thrive with good routines and habits. I know I am far more efficient when I’m busy and have some proper structure in my day, as the saying goes “If you want something done ask a busy person”
I try very hard to live a healthy balanced lifestyle. I eat well and exercise daily. However, if I am perfectly honest the holidays have taken their toll on me. I enjoyed a few extra glasses of wine, my food choices were not always perfect and fitting in plenty of exercise was tricky. I knew this was not a long-term issue for me and as soon as I felt ready to get back into my routine I would bounce back quickly because for me I much prefer how I feel on the inside when I’m in control of my diet and lifestyle.
Regaining control for me is not about jumping on the new latest food fad, chugging down carrot juice, meal replacements and food supplements in the hope I drop a dress size in three days, because lets be honest we have all been there and know it doesn’t work! It doesn’t have to be so drastic……
I want to share 4 steps with you on how I get focused in the hope it inspires you to regain control and start to feel more energised, motivated and generally healthier while dropping a few pounds along the way.
Don’t set yourself unrealistic weight loss goals. Be honest with yourself based on previous weight loss attempts. Set yourself short, medium and long-term goals. These goals don’t need to be focused purely on the dream number on the dreaded scales. For example, your short-term goal could simply be to eat a healthy breakfast every day, medium goal, to drop a dress size in 6 weeks and long-term goal to run your first 10k in 12 weeks. Research shows that those who write down their goals in a meaningful way increase their chances of achieving them by 30%, this can increase your success ratio by 60%.
So, get planning and smash those goals!
GO BACK TO BASICS
We have all been there, it is Monday and we have started our ‘diet’ once again! This process normally starts with massively reducing calories, fat intake and signing up to every exercise class possible only to crash and burn within a week. This is due to complete exhaustion, boredom at lack of food choices which ultimately zaps your motivation and makes you give up altogether. Going full throttle like this is so common and is one of the reasons many people have such negative feelings associated with healthy eating and being active because they have failed time and time again.
I recommend rather than making massive changes and going full steam ahead, you make simple easy achievable changes that will make a big impact with minimal effort.
Consume good lean sources of protein at every meal
Swap the afternoon biscuit for a piece of fruit
Get some early nights
DON’T OVER RESTRICT
The biggest reason we all fail or give up is we restrict ourselves too much. I’m not saying its ok to carry on eating whatever you like, whenever you like. It is all about balance, 80% good 20% naughty! This can be spread out over the week or saved up for a cheeky curry on a Saturday night, whatever floats your boat. My 20% is a big juicy pizza and a bottle of red!
Too many people in society are tipping the scale in the opposite direction. If you give yourself that treat, own it, enjoy it and commit to making your next food choice as healthy as possible. Don’t let one treat derail your entire weight loss plan, it does not have to be like that. Research shows that banning your favourite treat can cause guilt eating which leads to binging and ultimately more weight gain in the long run. Enjoyment around your food and food choices is essential to lasting weight loss. This strategy is scientifically known as “flexible control.”
Life is too short to never eat cake again!
Lastly – DESTRESS AND MAKE TIME FOR YOU
We all have responsibilities and in this day and age we just don’t stop. We often put our own health and wellbeing at the bottom of our massive to do list, if it even makes an appearance on the it’s at all. Stress is associated with higher cortisol levels, suppressed immune function, decreased sleep, increased consumption of comfort foods, high blood pressure, higher BMI all of these are a massive risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is important when undertaking any changes in our diet and lifestyle to look at all associated factors. Managing stress levels and reducing triggers to ‘self-medicate’ by using foods as a pacifier. Here are some simple tips to reduce stress.
Undertake some moderate exercise for example go for a brisk walk, do some yoga or take up palates.
Try undertaking some kind of resistance training which will help burn fat and any fatty acids that are released during times of stress. Increasing the levels of serotonin will also help improve mood and help you relax.
Sleep is so important you must aim for a minimum of 8 hours per night, a good night’s sleep reduces cortisol levels, boosts the growth hormone which helps burn fat. If that’s not a reason to hit the sack early every night I don’t know what is.!!
Keep a diary of your emotions, this will help you establish triggers that may result in over eating. Writing down your emotions also helps you release negative feelings while distracting you from your temptations. Getting a good understanding of your behaviours and triggers associated with emotional eating will help you gain some self-control.
As you can see from the above it isn’t just as simple as watching what you eat to lose weight, there are many other factors that come into play. The next time you start a diet remember the steps I have suggested and don’t be so hard on yourself.