The Top 5 rules of weight loss: lose weight and keep it off

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 I have recently lost the last 10kg I needed to get to my goal weight and I’m surprised by how many people ask me how I lost the weight. My uncle asked me how I did it and I replied bluntly “I ate less and exercised more”…
In hindsight of losing the weight it seems like a pretty silly question once but a friend pointed out to me that maybe it’s not so obvious when your on the other side of that excess weight. Thinking about this I have complied a list of the 5 key points that I feel will allow you or your loved one drop the weight and keep it off. They are not the nice fluffy lists that you find around but follow them and it will work. I would also point out that whilst I am a registered health professional please seek advice from your doctor before starting any type of dietary change and exercise regime.
Sarah keeps her weight in check and lean through hard work, exercise and clean eating
Sarah works hard at both diet and exercise. I have seen her diet and a credit to her for being so disciplined. 

1 Stop the victim mentality

Huh? That’s not nice. No it’s not but this isn’t going to be one of those little fluffy articles that list some little changes and steps to shed massive kilos. Weather you like it or not this all comes back to you (ok I will point out something here. There are some medical issues and some medications that will make you gain weight but if your reading this and you think this might be you, please go and see your Doctor. If they say your fine read the rest of this article and take note. If they find issues, thankfully you went and saw your doctor!)

But it is so easy and we are all guilty of allow these mental state to happen. “I had to go out for dinner that night”, “My partner brought me that cake as a surprise”, “I had a bad day and needed a pizza to make me feel better”. This cycle has to stop. Nobody else is responsible for you or the decisions you make in your life. Nobody. If you don’t agree, don’t bother with the rest of this article.

Ok so how do I stop? The first step is to reflect upon yourself and ask if this is a behaviour that you consciously or unconsciously follow. “I’m not fit enough”, “I just can’t do it”, “I’m not making any progress so why bother”. I want to be blunt and write “At the end of the day nobody cares” but that may be a bit mean. The reality is though they may care but they can’t be responsible and that is the insight you need to take. “I like eating bad food”, that’s fine I accept that you can make that decision in your life and won’t judge you but you are responsible for that and the side effects that will come. If you want to make this change and want to make it stick you need to reflect on yourself and stop the victim mentality.

2 Be accountable to yourself

This really does lead on from point 1. You are accountable for the food you put in your mouth. I could really leave it there but I extend this to say that nobody will know what you do or don’t eat at any given point in time. If you sneak food and don’t record it in your diary it still counts. It’s very easy to fall into the little traps and just say “I’ll eat this, it wont matter”. It all matters and part of the process of effective weight loss is the learning about making informed food choices. You can push this element more by making yourself accountable to others. IE if you plan to lose 5kg then tell your friends or family, want to run a 5k then put it on Facebook or Twitter. By making yourself publicly accountable, you “need to succeed”. Weather you admit it or not the only person that can achieve this goal is you so how do you explain to yourself why you did not make it? Are you happy with that reason? We all fail, the ones that succeed are the ones that pick themselves back up and do it again.

Lost more weight then me
My friend Jye, be accountable to himself for the last 100k we rode together. Still had another 37 to go at this point. #JyeShagged

 

 

3 Use tools such as MyFitnessPal (aka Keep a food diary)

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There are a ton of free and paid tools available that will help you to record your food an activity. Weight Watchers and Michelle Bridges 12wbt both have some great paid tools and support processes in place to help but remember, just because you pay for something does not make it their responsibility to make you lose weight (See point 1). My tool of choice is MyFitnessPal (MFP). Its free and available on both iPhone and Android. The brilliant thing about this tool is that it uses the camera on your phone as a bar code scanner, making it super easy to record everything. It sends you a reminder if you haven’t logged your food and gives you a clear sign if you are in or out side of your daily goal. It even gives an estimate at the end of the day to help keep you focused on your goals. One silly little thing that helped me here is that MFP has the “streak”. Its how many days in a row you have logged and recorded your food. I set a goal to make it to a year. I was desperate to keep my streak running and be ahead of my friends that also used the app.

I credit MyFitnessPal for the core reason I was able to get the weight off and keep it off.
I credit MyFitnessPal for the core reason I was able to get the weight off and keep it off.

4 Don’t use gimmicks and weight loss supplements

I worked with a person for several years who was desperate to lose weight. Every other Monday she would come into work and show me her latest weight loss tool, fad diet, supplement or gimmick. After all her time on the “5/2 diet”, “the only green diet” the “mono-oxy something or rather diet” and drug store of powders and pills she kept in her draw she still has not lost any weight.

They don’t work for a reason and that’s because you have not accepted point 1 and 2.What do you mean? The mental state of the supplement is a quick fix. Most weight loss supplement are not tested well their clinical effectiveness, let alone to a rigorous scientific standard and nearly all of them recommended they be used in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet and exercise regime. I remember when the craze hit for some shoes that did not have the flat soles, the tag line being that you could lose weight through micro instabilities caused from the shoes whilst moving and walking. Wow, shoes that help you lose weight whilst walking! Brilliant! We see these sales promises all the time from online to infomercials. I cite the Dr Oz Green Coffee bean incident here. And whilst the video below is making fun of the situation, think about it next time you see a TV infomercial.

 

5 Find something you love to do.

This could have been “find and set goals” and stuff but in keeping with this post and brining to back to reality, find something you want to do and work you goals into that. For me I started riding my old bike in the shed. My original goal was to lose 5kg for motorcycle road racing. However as the weight started to go I set myself some harder goals, I entered a local triathlon, then I started trying to ride further distances. I used an app called strava (also links to MFP) that really helped me to be competitive with myself and offers fun challenges to push you. Some days I feel that I’m cheating a bit because I enjoy riding and it doesn’t seem like exercise at all. Running on the other hand is effing hard work, not my cup of tea but is for some although I do partake in it as part of my gym routine. I would still like to complete the city to surf. Maybe I need to take my own advise there set a goal.
Cycling will burn a lot of weight
@oliverhiggins during a local crit race

Keep finding goals in the things you do enjoy, get out with friends or your kids. Find ways to incorporate aspects of exercise into your daily life, got little kids? Do all the Wiggles dances next time you put on the DVD. I could probably easily do another 5 or even 10 points to help people lose weight, keep it off and have a better life. Find a friend, have goals but… don’t rush it, stay on target, pick yourself back up, avoid fads, Heart rate zones, don’t give up everything, know your BMR. Maybe these more complex items are for the another list in the near future. And if anybody owns a tug toner please let me know.

Using a Treadmill with Runkeeper & Your iPhone

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For the last few months I have been using Runkeeper to track all my activity. Originally this was to sync with My Fitness Pal to help me lose weight but has turned into a great tool to work with as my fitness picks up. Whilst Cycling/Mountain Biking is my preferred choice of activity, it is not always possible to get outside during daylight hours. I have a treadmill at home, so problem solved right? Well kinda but how do I log an activity that 1/ I’m not in GPS range and 2/ I’m not actually going anywhere to log? The good people at runkeeper have thought of this and do offer a solution to add your treadmill (or other non GPS) activity in thier software that will still sync back to apps like my Fitness Pal. However it is not initially all that straight forward.

Using Runkeeper to log your “non-gps” related activity is actually quite straight forward, however on the surface it does not appear so. Lets take the example of running on a treadmill. For me I can’t always get out in the daylight hours to run but I like the idea of centralising my activities and having it sync back to My Fitness Pal.

Open up Runkeeper as normal and got to the main map page. On the right hand side you will see the “Log” option. Touch it to open the side banner. Select the type of activity you have completed, in this case running and it will open the manual activity log.

Touch the more details option. Here enter any additional information you have but primarily touch the gym equipment option and select treadmill. Once done select back and input the duration, distance and calories. Add your notes if required and the “Save activity”

What this does not do is “track” the activity. So if you are using a heart rate monitor or similar you will have to enter it manually. But it still allows you to easily keep a track of all your activities.

[I’m trying to take a more personal vain on my blog. If you are after my professional services please visit higginsproductions.com.au ]