We all have times of difficulty in our lives. It's part of living and some say we are defined by how we choose to handle those difficulties. I used to be one of those who would go into denial in the hope that it would just go away. However, that rarely happened.
About 5 years ago, I was going through a pretty tough time. It was difficult emotionally and I felt so alone. My weight started to soar as I started eating emotionally and I felt (as a weight management counsellor) that I had to have all the answers and be so all together. Of course like many of us do, I kept my feelings hidden inside in the hope that if I didn't acknowledge them, it would be ok. However, my husband noticed I wasn't quite myself & sat down me down. I confided in him how I felt and what was going on with me and he gave me one of his pep talks. Of course he said many things which really helped but of all the things he said to me, he said 'You got this Ally' and those 3 words became my mantra for life!
The words we tell ourselves really do make an impact...
It's incredible how just 3 simple words can change your whole perspective. Those 3 words pulled me out of that hole and helped me get my power back. I was able to get my act together and over time have achieved incredible things for which I am grateful. Those 3 words made me think 'Yeah I have got this' and off I went with my cup half full ready for a new fight. Those 3 words became my own personal mantra and even now when I have moments of self doubt or self sabotage, I use them to give me a kick up the rear and get on with it. You too can use them for added strength in any situation in your life.
- Feeling doubtful about something? #YOUGOTTHIS
- Feeling that you aren't good enough or why me? #YOUGOTTHIS
- Feeling anxious about going for a promotion or a job interview? #YOUGOTTHIS
- Lacking self belief? #YOUGOTTHIS
- Finding weight loss hard and want to give up? #YOUGOTTHIS
Have you ever noticed how your mood changes based on your thinking? Your thinking can either ZAP you of your motivation OR it can give you the power to take control and achieve those goals.
Your weight loss strengthened by your thinking and the words that you choose, by your mantras and by how you talk to yourself.
Answer this for me....Who is more likely to achieve their goals. The slimmer who said 'I'll try to lose weight' or the slimmer who said ' I can and I will. Just watch me'
Words are powerful. Choose them wisely
Weight Management Counsellor - the SMLDiet
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.
Do you mindlessly eat when you're alone? maybe your good intentions go out the window when you are chatting with friends? There are so many different ways in which our weight is affected purely by our behaviour and time structuring & today I'm going to explain them to you.
There are 6 ways in which we choose to spend our time: Withdrawal. Rituals. Past-times. Activities. Games & Intimacy. Each of these ways in which we spend our time can have an affect on our eating and our weight.
Withdrawal is when we spend time on our own. An isolation period from others. Isolation can be good for us as we all need a bit of alone time but sometimes slimmers find that when they are alone they over eat without fear of someone judging what and how much they have eaten. Because of that fear of judgement, slimmers may find that they CHOOSE to be alone to indulge in secret eating.
Have you ever been to an event and there wasn't any food? It's not very common that that happens. Take weddings - a large all you can eat buffet spread put on or a wedding breakfast. You name it, food is usually involved. Throw in a few glasses of that cheeky vino & before you know it your resolve is thrown on the floor (a bit like your dance moves later on). Us humans are creatures of habit too. We do like our structure and routine. How much of your last 24 hours has been spent in your usual routine? wake up, brush teeth, get the children ready for school whilst you get ready for work etc etc. Have you ever thought that your eating could become a routine for you? From what you choose to eat, to when you eat it. We have a routine with our eating and it may not necessarily be doing your waist line any favours.
A few years ago (and i always give this example to explain how habits can quickly form), I worked until late at night. After work one night, i stopped to get petrol and whilst i was there i picked up a lil something something. In my head i liked that thing so next time i finished work and passed that petrol station, i got myself another lil something something. Before I knew it. It was my 'end of work' routine. I'd finish work and go and get that - EVERY TIME!!!
This is where we spend time maybe catching up with friends, chatting about the latest goss or anything predictable as you would when catching up with those that know you. Usually food is involved here to. Maybe a bit of alcohol?
This is where you spend your time 'doing'. Whether it be that housework, going to your actual work place or doing general run around chores. Believe it or not, this activity time can affect how you eat. When at work, do you all get the biccies and cakes out to celebrate Marge's birthday? Maybe whilst at work, you pop to the shop to buy a lunch meal deal?
Games are part of the game playing transactions we all have. You can spot them a mile off and they usually end up with a feeling of 'oh no here we go again'. Lets us an example of Stacey & Jane.
Stacey tells Jane 'I'm so fat and unhappy'. Jane's response to Stacey would be? yup you guessed it 'no you're not'
To which Stacey would tell Jane 'yes i am, i hate it i can't do anything about my weight. It's making me so unhappy'
(Can you see where we're going with this one?)
Jane would probably respond with suggestions
-Why don't you come to the fat fighters club with me on Thursdays
-Why don't you start eating healthily
-Why don't you join a gym
Stacey (because she is unknowingly playing a game) will bat back all of those suggestions because it isn't what she truly wants to hear
_I can't do Thursdays plus it doesn't work
-Eating healthily is too expensive
-The gym is too expensive and i'd feel self conscious
No matter what Jane suggests, it won't work. This will go on and on until one of them starts to feel like a victim 'nothing i suggest seems to help. Don't know why i bother' type of thoughts.
Of course games can be centered around anything in life and some games can be quite serious. Like the games we play with our partners because we are unhappy with our weight/looks and we start to push them away (usually to test our internal theories that we aren't good enough for anyone)
When i usually talk about intimacy when it comes to time structuring, people usually think it means in the literal sense. A bit of candles and Barry White but it can be the total opposite. What I mean is the sense of being true and honest with yourself and others. Opening yourself, raw and pure emotions.
Some of the ways in which we structure our time can really leave us feeling emotionally vulnerable. The emotional risk increases when we move from withdrawal all the way to intimacy.
When we are experiencing withdrawal we are emotionally safe as no-one is able to get in our withdrawal bubble to hurt us. When we are playing games, it may end up resulting in emotional distress for one or both parties.
When we are intimate with another person, we open ourselves up to them. They can bring with themselves positive or negative intimate experiences. How intimate we are with others usually comes from experiences in our childhood. This can affect our ability to get emotionally close as adults, our ability to be honest and true.
We usually spend less time being intimate due to these experiences and the beliefs we have formed around them. Because of this, we usually find it safe for us to be in past-time mode when it comes to other people. It's safe to just generally chit chat and not be true about your emotions. Unfortunately, there can be a downside to that general social situation. Our encounters can become superficial and can fail to stimulate us.
I hope this has given you some insight into time structuring and how it can affect your weight. As you can imagine, all of the ways in which we structure our time DO affect our eating. For example:
Games - when you are left with that bad feeling, you may find yourself reaching for food (emotional eating)
Intimacy - if you aren't being intimate, you may find intimacy from food
For a bit of self development, feel free to answer these questions for yourself:
If you have found this article helpful, please do check out our range of support tools over on the SMLDiet website.
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.