'OMG You look amazing. How did you lose it? A mum in the playground asks me. Obviously extremely happy at such a lovely compliment, I quickly and proudly say 'A VLCD plan'. Her smiley face drops and turns to a face of disgust. 'Be careful on plans like that. A friend of mine lost 5 stone and put it all back on again within 4 months of finishing'.
This was an actual scenario that I was faced with a few years ago. I quietly smiled at the mum who initially complimented me and accepted what she said about her friend who put the weight on again. I didn't tell her that I, in fact own a VLCD company and that our bodies aren't sponges (we won't immediately go and put all the weight on again the moment a piece of 'conventional' food touches our lips) AND in fact that to put 1lb of weight back on, means we have eaten 3,500 calories more than our bodies need for nutritional purposes. I suppose this mum was hoping i'd say something more conventional in terms of how I had lost the weight - personal trainer maybe? weight watchers or slimming world but I dared say the dreaded 4 letters and that was it - back in slimming exile I went.
The truth is that VLCD's have been around for over 30 years and I have worked in the VLCD industry for over 10 now. Sure I have seen people lose the weight and unfortunately put it back on again. Heck - even I've done that but I know that it isn't the issue with the diet. It's more of a 'eating more than I should' issue BUT I have also seen A LOT of slimmers successfully lose & maintain their weight after too.
When we embark on a new weight loss plan such as a VLCD, we are usually excited.
'This is it!' kind of thoughts enter our head and once we start losing weight on a VLCD, it's contagious. We want people to notice the weight loss (just to re-enforce that it's not in our heads). Lets face it, although embarrassing, it's kinda nice when someone goes WOW you look incredible. How did you do it? but like anything in life, when we put ourselves out there, we leave ourselves open to hurt, questioning or criticism.
So to tell or not to tell that is the question...
I'm an open book kinda person...
My hubby always tells me that I give too much about myself away. You ask me a question about myself or my life and ill gladly tell you no holds barred. So when I first embarked on LighterLife back in 2005, I was ready to tell the world and his wife about my diet plan. I would sit at my office desk (as I had a 9-5 council job back then) and I would sit there drinking my shakes. When the weekly cake round came out, I would sit there polishing my halo whilst everyone else guzzled their lemon drizzle cakes. I had willpower, I was determined and I wasn't scared to show it.
At first the compliments came - 'Ally, you've got such amazing willpower, I couldn't live on just shakes' - yup that's me, super Ally!
but then it turned. About 7 weeks and 2 stone in out came the 'Ally you're looking ill' even someone close to me said 'I think you have an eating disorder and should stop'
At first I chose to ignore it, how could I possibly look unwell when I was still medically classed as obese? but after a while when all you get is criticism over the diet and how you look, it's hard to keep your spirits up so of course, I start to believe them and that's when the self-sabotage kicked in (cue sad face).
The 'to tell' debate
The 'not to tell' debate...
Hopefully after reading this, you'll know one way or the other if you want to tell the world about your weight loss or keep it a secret.
I personally still love telling people when I lose weight and how I do it as I am so proud of the SMLDiet and I know if I put on abit of weight, it's because of me eating too much and enjoying the good life rather than the VLCD not working.
I am also grateful for all of our slimmers who share their VLCD journeys as they become our success stories. They are living proof for future slimmers that YES VLCD's & SMLDiet does work and can help you too!
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.
'If we took a holiday. Took some time to celebrate. Just one day out of life. It would be, it would be so nice'
Now holidays are supposed to be a time of fun, time to relax and unwind. Forget about all the troubles back in reality BUT what if you get so wound up thinking about your holiday, what you are going to look like, how you're going to feel on that beach that you find yourself feeling anxious? We certainly don't want that for you. So. this blog is designed for anyone who has seen those holiday snaps and ripped them up in tears (waves frantically here), this post is designed for those who is losing weight for their holidays (again waves frantically) and this post is designed for those who book their holiday only to be consumed with thoughts of 'I need to lose weight'
So. You've booked a holiday...
and if you are anything like me (or most people out there), one of the first thoughts you had was how long you had to lose weight for this holiday . Am I right?
Thought so. Whether you have 3 weeks or 3 months to go before your holidays, It's a good time to start getting organised about what you want to achieve. Ask yourself this...
How much do I want to lose?
How much time do I have to lose it?
How much can I realistically lose?
How am I going to lose it?
These 4 questions will set you up for your holiday weight loss in no time at all.
How much do I want to lose?
Lets be realistic here. If you are going on holiday in 7 days time, you aren't going to lose 5 stone. However, you need to look at how far away your holiday is. So for example, on the SMLDiet, slimmers lose (an average of) 1 stone a month. If your holiday is 8 weeks away, you could lose about 2 stone in that time on the SMLDiet. However, if your holiday is 14 days away, you could still lose a significant amount if you put your mind to it.
How much time do I have to lose it?
Usually people have a lot of time from booking their holiday to the actual departure to try and lose weight and get prepared. However, I have a friend who randomly booked a holiday and flew out with just 5 days notice (lucky her). Look closely at how much time you have to lose your weight, draw out a chart to show a countdown of days, look at your diary for any events coming up.
How much can I realistically lose?
The key word to remember here is the word realistically . Again, as I said earlier, you can't lose 14 stone in a day BUT no matter how little or much time you have, you can certainly make a difference to your weight, health and overall confidence for your holiday. It's important to set yourself goals and even rewards (not the food kind) along the way but remember - be kind to yourself. Remember: DON'T STARVE YOURSELF!!! There's no point in making yourself unwell to try and lose an unrealistic amount before your holidays.
How am I going to lose it?
Type in the word 'diet' on google and a gazillion websites will pop up all offering to be the holy grail of weight loss. There is a world of information out there to help you lose weight but how do you know that the weight loss plan you are going to follow is safe?
Do your research!
Look for reviews on the company, look at how active the company is on social media channels, look for the support the company offers, look at the about us page for more information on the company and the people behind the company.
You also need to look at how you want to lose weight. I have previously tried many diets and although weight watchers works brilliantly for some, for me I found it confusing. Other plans out there work incredibly well for some of my friends but for me? it's got to be VLCD - I love that the plan is simple to follow - 4 packs a day and i'm off.
I love the faster weight loss that a meal replacement plan gives me.
I love that all I need to do is drink a shake or eat a bar and that's it. No point counting, no weighing, measuring or worrying about going over on my calorie intake.
However, I know that VLCD's aren't for everyone either so you need to find a way of losing weight that's fine for you. So if a Total Food Replacement isn't right for you at the moment, then consider another plan (maybe 5:2), maybe calorie counting. You have to feel comfortable with what ever you choose and don't let anyone pressure you into their way of weight loss.
Ally is a qualified weight management counsellor & founder of the SMLDiet. Having been a size 22 at her heaviest, Ally works with slimmers to help them lose weight and to maintain it afterwards. For us at the SMLDiet, learning to change your relationship with food is the most important step in achieving healthy weight management and we do that with our FREE e-guides, our blogs and our booklets. For more information, please visit www.thesmldiet.com
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.