I don't know about you but i'm a gal who likes her lists. Give me a pen & a notepad and i'll give you a list as long as my arm!
I make quite a ritual of it. Every night after the children have gone to bed, I sit down with the TV on in the background & I start to write down my aims for the next day. I also have a general 'Goal list' for the month - this is filled with details of projects i'd like to complete before the month is out.
Now. You're probably thinking 1 of 2 things. Either WOW this girl is organised OR this girl needs to get a life and I'd probably agree with you on both of those thoughts.
BUT after reading this, i'm sure you'll also agree that list keeping is a great way of staying on top of the day to day humdrum of reality.
I don't look at my lists as a 'TO-DO' list you see, that's way too demanding and almost makes me think if I don't manage to complete it, I'm going to get a telling off from my internal self. I like to think of these lists as my 'AIM-TO-DO' list (usually consisting of 3-5 main things i'd like to complete and several others that aren't the main focus. If I complete the main 3-5 items, then i'm one happy girl and I move onto the rest of the list but if for whatever reason I don't complete them, then I don't sweat over it and just move them onto the next days AIM-TO-DO list (but I give them higher priority).
There's several reasons why I like my lists and the main reasons are the
1. I, like you am extremely busy - I work full time, running a house with 2 children and am often driving here, there and everywhere doing errands & having meetings.
2. It helps keep me focused - These lists keep me in the loop. With so many things going on, it's easy to forget what I need to get, do or pick up. I often think of ideas for something like a blog post and by the time, I get home, I've forgotten about it and spend the rest of the night trying to remember what it was (don't you just hate that)?
3. Organisation is ESSENTIAL - How do you know the direction you are heading in, if you don't have a starting point? for me, starting a list is a great way of preparing, organising myself and setting myself up for future success. Any projects or ideas that SMLDiet come up with usually start on a list and the idea of them grows from being on that list. There's also nothing quite like getting to lunchtime and knowing that my list is already completed for that day.
OK Ally, that's all good & well but what's this got to do with a brand new month?
Why do you think we start new years resolutions in January? What does the start of a new year really mean for you? Why do you wait until the new year to start your new years resolutions? Well for me, I like to look at each and every month (like a lot of us do in January). It's a fresh start, it's a new month that's filled with promise and hope & renewed motivation.
A new month can give us the opportunity to create our 'Weight loss' AIM-TO-DO list & give us the chance to start again. We can see our goals through fresh eyes and think it's the beginning of something new. We can mark day 1 of the month as our starting point and use it to re-focus our mind and evaluate what we want from that month.
Do you remember when you were at school & you were given a brand new exercise book to write your work in? I used to get so excited by that part of school & every time I got a new exercise book, I pledged to keep it neat & tidy. No spelling mistakes and certainly no scruffy writing. I look at new years resolutions & January in particular as my brand new exercise book. It's my time to get excited by that promise that we'll do it right BUT because the year is so long, we get lost in the humdrum of daily life. It's hard to be 100% 'perfect' for a year! BUT a month is so much more manageable. Just 30 (odd) days, and in that month so much can be achieved. Imagine this time next month, if we were to re-visit this blog post together, you could be saying to me, I did a month on SMLDiet, I dropped that dress size and now i'm going to use that blog post to focus on another fresh new month OR you could be saying to me, 'I read the blog post but didn't look at my aims & i'm still in the same place'
Which conversation would you prefer to have?
I'm hoping that when you read about my 'Aim to-do-list' that you were inspired to create your own. Why not create your own list focusing on what you need to do to drop that dress size?
Have one as your day to day focus and have one setting your aims & goals for the month.
Ally is a qualified weight management counsellor & founder of the SMLDiet. Having worked in the weight loss industry for over 10 years, Ally has personally supported thousands of slimmers to help them release their excess weight & look at weight management as their long term goal. - www.theSMLDiet.com
and getting back on again....
If you are one of those slimmers who has fallen off the wagon and can't seem to catch up with it whilst it rolls away from you, then don't worry you aren't alone!
A shocking 98% of us have had a lapse at some point in our dieting life and out of that 98%, 4 out of 5 of us beat ourselves up because of it.
I get it, I really do! A friend invites you out or those mini chocolate bars are in the snack cupboard just calling your name. We've all been there and found dieting hard at times.
The thing about VLCD dieting is that it isn't like calorie counting where if you go 100 calories over your daily intake you can think 'oh well, i'll start again tomorrow' . For us VLCD'ers, it can seem like the end of the world to us.
'oh no i've blown it, I'm probably not in ketosis now' and before you know it, we're on a merry go round of feeling pants, eating rubbish, feeling worse about eating that rubbish so we eat some more and yes I know what we all think 'I'll start afresh tomorrow'
However, even thinking I'll start again tomorrow isn't enough to stop that internal battle. That inner critic that seems to suck all of our energy and positivity away.
In fact silencing that inner critic can be hard work and mentally exhausting.
So... If you have fallen off your VLCD wagon, here's how to get back on it again.
You're only human
No-one is perfect 100% of the time. In fact, scrap that. No-one is perfect full stop!
Those celebs we see on the screens or in the mags, they really work to look like that and even those 'food and health gurus' have off days where they may not be up to working out or eating 'clean'. We all make mistakes and you know what? That's ok!
If you have had an off day and found yourself having a lapse tell yourself it's ok and move on from it. If you keep thinking about that lapse, you'll find that any motivation you did have will slowly ebb away.
You can't change what's been but you can change how you behave tomorrow.
Work out your day
We all have 24 hours in a day but we choose to spend them in different ways. When i'm on a meal replacement plan, I divide my day into time sections (abit like i do my working day actually). So for example, i have 4 packs to have in a day and i wake up at 5.30 every day so i know that at 7am (as my children eat their breakfast), I have my first pack then i have packs every 4 hours after that. It spreads them out nicely and as I like my routines, It's a great way to stick to routine and get in the habit of doing something for me.
If your routine is different, then come up with a meal pack routine that you know you will find easy and stick to. If evenings are hard for you (as they are with a lot of VLCD slimmers), then work out a routine to help you in the evenings.
Earlier in the year, i released a free e-guide about motivation and how you can help yourself stay motivated. Those of you who downloaded the free guide will know that motivation can come in many forms. Some people like to use celebs or other slimmers as their motivation, others are motivated by a comment someone has made about them. Visuals are a great way of staying motivated - that dress you want to get into? pop it somewhere you will notice it, try it on every week and see how it's starting to fit you. Leave yourself positive affirmations in food cupboards so when you do reach for food, you find yourself filled with positivity instead.
Instant gratification lasts for that instant
Lets be honest here, how many of us agree with the fact that our need for instant gratification got us here in the first place. I know i can hold my hand up to that one. I would start to diet but food would call to me. I would cave and spend the rest of the day feeling lousy about myself.
When you are on your VLCD and find yourself craving foods, remember this....
These foods you are craving, you have probably craved before (and more than likely acted on these cravings that's why they're repeating themselves).
How did you feel last time you craved them?
What was your end behaviour? (was it that you gave into the cravings and lapsed?) if so, how did you feel after lapsing?
What would honestly happen if you gave into these cravings?
How would you feel if you gave into these cravings?
Noticing these patterns can really help you stop your thought processes before your usual behaviour kicks in.
Find the positive in everything
Have you ever noticed that when you're feeling negative, everything seems like hard work?! Before you know it, you are at a pity party and no-one else wants to come!
It's so much easier for us to be negative instead of being positive. Find the positive in everything you do. So you've just had your second foodpack? celebrate that!
You've drank your water allowance for the day? hey go you!
Start to notice those achievements as they so often get overlooked.
Get yourself a journal and at the end of each day, write down your achievements and what you are grateful for. You'll go to bed with a happy head because of it
I always know when slimmers are having a hard time on VLCD. Mainly because they go quiet in our facebook support group. This is the time though where they should be reaching out more. You should never be afraid to ask for help, say 'hey i'm having a hard time of it, any advice?' I can guarantee that someone will pop along and help you out when you least expect it and you know what? you aren't alone. There's always someone out there who may be struggling with their vlcd too. Our support group is fabulous as it's non-judgemental and our slimmers really are the best when it comes to giving advice. If you aren't on facebook, don't worry as here at the SMLDiet, we're only an email or phone call away.
The SMLDiet is a leading weight loss plan in the UK. Specialising in VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diets), TFR (Total Food Replacement products and meal replacements.