Being overweight in the summer can make us feel more uncomfortable than at other times of the year. It is difficult when it's hot and it can make us feel alienated and self conscious. We can feel exposed because we don't need as many layers and we feel our body is 'on display'. Our need to fit in with what we perceive is acceptable on the beach or at the pool can be a cause of stress and a driver to lose weight quickly. But don't you wish to throw all that aside and be your own beach babe?
Get in a cossie and get on the beach!
I am a big advocate of building positive body image which enables us to enjoy the beach or any holiday experience no matter what size we are, or what we think of our bodies. This is so important for self-worth and a sense of intrinsic value. Positive thoughts create a platform for taking better care of ourselves, eating better to nourish our precious bodies and are a route to enjoying life to the full! You have every right to enjoy your leisure time, no matter what size you are.
Sadly, a lot of our value system can be extrinsic. In other words, pre-occupied with what others think of us. We can find it creeping into our thinking in many areas of our lives but with body image it is highly prevalent. Can you stop yourself comparing yourself to others? Can you practice a little body gratitude instead? Can you take a deep breath and just get out there "because you're worth it"!
If you still want to lose weight, here are a few thoughts about how to do it in a lasting way.
There is no short-term fix which is a long-term solution
You will have heard me talk about the failing of dieting and short-term fixes. One guaranteed way to fail is to look for a short cut weight loss method. I started to see these advertised on the TV as early as March. You know what I mean. The type of programme that promises a fast effortless way to reduce weight. In my experience, none of these diets or pills actually work, and the medical evidence is quite clear. The maximum rate of sustainable fat loss is between 1 and 2 pounds per week, perhaps a little more if you are very overweight. So for the sake of your sanity as well as your financial health, please don't waste time on weight loss methods that make extravagant claims.
There is no short-term target
You can't lose much weight in a week or two. You need about three months to make a significant impact on your body shape but what you can do now, is to start eating as an investment for your health. Make a start which won’t have an end point, it’ll run on and on, because building well-being, both psychologically and physically is what really matters. It’s the rest of your life we’re talking about.
Remember too that, the human body is interested in survival, not cosmetic appearances, and since rapid weight loss is a prima facie symptom of disease not good health, the only guaranteed way to improve your body shape is to adopt a gradual approach of healthy eating and increased exercise. In three months, you can lose about 26 pounds - more than enough for most overweight people to experience noticeable health improvements as well as a much leaner body. And by reducing your weight gradually in this manner, you have far less chance of weight regain, so if necessary you can continue losing more with less danger of incurring a weight loss plateau or other obstacles which cause us to give up.
So what do you do?
Basically, the trick is to put the short-term goals aside. Eat mindfully, eat less and eat better. Honestly, it’s that simple. If you eat according to hunger and fullness and you avoid or minimise high calorie foods you will see a difference – slowly. Focus on what you will add to your diet to make it more nourishing, rather than what you will take away. Pay attention to portion sizes and let go of pre-determined quantities you think you should be eating.
It’s a choice about how you view your changes in eating approach. You can focus on the deprivation involved in giving up certain foods, or you can focus on the benefits you will get by substituting them for something more nutritious. The other important factor is that you must allow yourself some of the foods which make you feel satisfied – whatever these are. But it is true that if you want to improve your body (and not just for the summer) you must avoid the negative thinking trap and appreciate the longer term benefits you will receive by making small adjustments to your eating lifestyle. Add in some more regular exercise and you will really improve how you feel about everything - your body and yourself.
Focus on health and happiness! What do you want to be doing in your life to bring you these things? is that about sitting under a towel or throwing it off and running down the beach like a lunatic?!
If you want support to lose weight steadily and change your eating habits for good, just get in touch with me HERE.