Thursday, 26 November 2015

Which Slimming Plan Works Best?

There are lots of different slimming plans out there. While I’m a Weight Watchers leader, I fully respect all the different healthy eating plans available. I understand why people choose different diets and weight loss methods.

The question that many people have is whether one slimming plan works best. There is a lot of competition between different companies, all saying they are the best.

For me, Weight Watchers has always worked the best. I’ve tried different diets and healthy eating plans and not always found success. With Slimming World, I gained weight. I’ve tried the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and even the Paleo Diet but found them all far too restrictive and for short-term benefit.

That doesn’t mean everyone will find the same as me.

It all depends what you need

One of the things I’ve learned is that it isn’t a one-diet-fits-all approach. I’ve spoken to plenty of Weight Watchers members who have said that Slimming World just didn’t work for them or they had the same experience as me with the Atkins or Paleo Diets. Similarly, I know people who recommend the Slimming World plan and didn’t find the same success as me on Weight Watchers.

It really all depends on what you need and want from a diet. There is something to suit all preferences.

Weight Watchers works for me because I don’t want a diet that bans anything. I believe in everything in moderation. Slimming World works for some because there is no portion control when it comes to the healthier options.

Before you start any diet, you need to assess what you prefer from one and what you want to achieve from it. Then you can look at reviews and the plan to see if it is going to suit your needs.

It depends on motivation

Another aspect is motivation. No diet plan is going to work for you if you don’t try your hardest at it. When you lose motivation, you start going off track.
Image from Amazon

I know that when it came to the Atkins Diet, I couldn’t stick to it. I didn’t have the motivation to restrict myself. It was the same with the Paleo Diet and many others. With Weight Watchers, I had the motivation, which is possibly why it was the slimming plan that worked best for me.

Before you start any diet plan, set your weight loss goals. Give yourself something to work towards so that you can keep your motivation.

It depends on your body

Finally, I’ll go back to the one-diet-fits-all myth. There isn’t a diet that fits all because everyone is different. Some people can handle all types of foods, while others struggle with wheat, gluten, dairy and other types of ingredients.

Some of the people I’ve known struggle on Slimming World have been those with IBS or a wheat intolerance, because there is a lot of focus on pasta and bread. With Weight Watchers, they’ve been able to enjoy more of a range, without worrying too much about piling their plates with pasta.

Other people have struggled on diets where diary is limited because they need to get a certain amount. Others have had to leave diets where diary is focused on so much because they have an intolerance to it.

It’s about the maintenance options

Not all diet plans will have maintenance options. They help you lose the weight but not keep it off in the long run. The idea is to keep getting money out of you.

This isn’t the case with all, though. I will always now look for a slimming plan that offers a maintenance option. It was because of the Weight Watchers maintenance option that helped me keep the weight off.

People say that Weight Watchers, Slimming World and other similar plans are scams, but they’re really not. The problem is too many people go back to eating as they used to. Sure you may not want to stick to counting points for the rest of your life, but you really don’t have to. There are other ways to maintain your weight, and the leaders in groups can help you find the best one for you.

Always look into maintenance options before you start a plan. Find out if there is one, and what you need to do to be part of the maintenance.

When it comes to which slimming plan works best, it’s all about thinking about you. Everyone is different, so I can’t say that one will work better for you than others. I had to find out through trial and error. I was almost ready to give up until a friend suggested Weight Watchers to me and I’ve had success since.

There are some who will say that no slimming plan works, while others have their favourites. For me, it’s all about Weight Watchers, but that’s because it checks all my boxes. Which one checks all yours?

Friday, 20 November 2015

Getting Back on Track After a Bad Week

Losing weight is hard. It doesn’t matter how many “quick fixes” and “miracle cures” come out, losing the weight and keeping it off in the long term requires hard work.

The truth is nothing worth having was ever easy.

Getting back on track after a bad week as soon as possible is essential. It’s the only way you’re going to give yourself the best chance. There’s no point saying the plan isn’t working, when you know you’re not sticking to it.

Here are four tips to help you get straight back on track.

Face the Scales

When you have a bad week, it’s really easy to fall off the wagon. You think that you won’t jump on the scales to see the damage, but you’ll be really good for another week. Does it really happen?
I’ve had plenty of members come to me at the scales and tell me they were thinking of missing class. They didn’t want to see the damaged they’d done. But then they knew that they wouldn’t get back on track. The best thing they did was admit that they needed to see the damage, so they could get back on track.

You’re not doing yourself any favors by skipping the scales. I’ve had members who haven’t come for a week, thinking they’d get back on track. They’ve then missed that week and then the week after. Eventually, it gets to the point where they’ve missed a month or two without even realising, and the weight has piled back on.

Facing the scales will help you get back on track. You admit the damage to yourself, and are more likely to be in the frame of mind to lose it again.

Draw a Line Under It

Sometimes you can’t help bad weeks. In fact, you may plan them. If you go on holiday, you want to have fun and not constantly think about your weight loss.

There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re willing to do one thing: draw a line under it as soon as you’re back.

The sooner you get back on track, the sooner you can undo some of the damage. You don’t need to wait for the scales to tell you. You don’t need to wait for the start of the week. Just pull the food tracker straight back out and get writing everything down.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been off track, either. It could have been a day or a whole week. Just make a commitment to yourself to get straight back on it at the first opportunity.

Text/Chat to Your Support

You will likely have someone to support you on your journey. This doesn’t have to be someone in your house or a friend. You could have a support network online. There are lots of Facebook groups full of people on the same journey as you, and they can be great for support. You may even have your Weight Watchers leader who wants to help you get straight back on it.

When you’re struggling, don’t hide away. That negativity often just leads to you eating everything in sight. You’re less likely to stick to a plan, because you don’t feel confident in yourself.

That support can help get you back in the right frame of mind. I always tell my members that I want to hear from them if they’re struggling. They can contact me through Facebook, text or a phone call, and I will help them. I’ll go over concerns and I’ll discuss how they’re feeling about the plan and their confidence. I don’t want them to wait until the scales if it means the risk of another bad week.

Get in touch with your support. That’s what your support is there for.

Put On Your Running Shoes

Okay, maybe you don’t like running and the weather isn’t the greatest for walking, but get active in some way. This boosts your mental health and you can often feel more confident in a weight loss plan.

I love to go swimming. Just half an hour in the pool gets me back in the right frame of mind. I don’t want to ruin everything I’ve just done in the pool for the sake of a chocolate bar. Maybe you could find an activity that gives you that same boost of confidence and positivity.

Getting active is also good for your health and weight loss. It helps to boost your metabolism and will help to reduce the risk of numerous health problems. If you don’t want to or can’t get out, why not look at some armchair exercises or get the home exercise DVDs. The Wii Fit was one that I turned to for a long time before I was able to find a swimming pool that I enjoyed being at.

The best thing you can do is get straight back on track after a bad week. It’s not the end of the world and you haven’t completely blown it. Face the scales and draw a line under it. Now is your chance to lose weight.

Christmas is just five weeks away. You could lose half a stone in that time rather than putting it on! How would that feel come January?

Friday, 13 November 2015

4 Tips to Make Sure You Lose Weight This Christmas

Wouldn’t it be great to lose weight this Christmas? It doesn’t have to be a dream. Yes, losing weight over Christmas really is possible. It’s all about planning, preparing and being in the right mindset.

I’ve lost weight every Christmas but one. That year I gained, it was half a pound and was my first year back on Weight Watchers after having my daughter. Needless to say, I was making up for everything I couldn’t have the year before (pates, blue cheeses etc).

So, how can you lose weight this Christmas? Here are my top four tips to make sure you do.

Plan Ahead for the Season

Go into the supermarket with your shopping list. By planning ahead and making a list, you’re not as likely to buy the random items on offer. Just think of what that does to your financial budget!

Start by making a list for everything you’re going to need on Christmas Day. Move onto Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve/Day from there and then think about over the season. We prefer to do two lots of food shopping, so we’ll buy our Christmas stuff in the days running up to Christmas and then focus on New Year afterwards.

Stick to that list when you get to the supermarket. Yes, there will be mince pies on offer and crisps and chocolates calling out to you, but did you put them on the list? No, you didn’t forget about them! You just know you don’t need them.

Be Realistic With the Treats

You are allowed some treats when it comes to Christmas and New Year. I never track what I eat on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and I always allow myself some treats. This year, there will be no pate, blue cheeses and alcohol again, but there will be other options.

The trick is to be realistic. Just think about the amount of food you ate last year for the sake of it. How much of it went in the bin?

There’s nothing wrong with not buying those large boxes of Celebrations chocolates. Last year, we got one of the small boxes instead of the large tubs. There was enough for everyone to enjoy some and we didn’t feel deprived. In fact, we all felt better for not having a large box of chocolates waiting for everyone to eat.

Avoid the mince pies if you know they’re hardly going to be touched. Don’t bother with multiple packs of crisps. The only day that most shops aren’t open is Christmas Day. If you really want some extra treats, you can pick them up on other days. Chances are you won’t bother and you won’t miss them!

Have a Filling & Healthy Dinner

Christmas Day lunch is usually Filling and Healthy. It’s your lean turkey, potatoes and vegetables. You can reduce the amount of oils you use and make sure what you make is good for the Weight Watchers Filling and Healthy plan.

Fill up on these options and listen to your body. You’ll find that you don’t want to snack as much afterwards.

There’s always something left over for the next couple of days, so focus on Filling and Healthy dinners afterwards. Not only will they make you feel fuller, but they are also healthier options for you. Most have fewer carbs and unhealthy fats.

You can also make Filling and Healthy desserts. Try fruit salads instead of the cakes. We always buy yogurts and meringue nests to make a delicious Eton mess style dessert. It adds something sweet without it being over the top.

Get Out for a Walk

How many of you stay indoors all Christmas? Maybe this year you can do something different. Why not get out for a family walk?

Christmas Day may be out of the question, but you can always get out Boxing Day and the other days around it. You don’t even need to go anywhere specific. A local park or woodland trail would be great. Children don’t want to be cooped up in the house all the time.

Pop your pedometer on and get out in the fresh air. You’ll feel better for it and you’ll avoid eating all the food in the house!

If you don’t want to go outside, you could always do a bit of shopping. Spend that money you got in your cards and do more steps that way.

You can lose weight this Christmas. It’s not a dream. Make it a reality this year by following the above tips.

Have you lost weight over Christmas? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Managing Your Weight at the Christmas Party

The Christmas party will be here before you know it. In fact, some work places are holding their Christmas parties this month! If you’re on a diet, you may be worried and thing your options are limited:

  • Do you skip the party completely?
  • Do you limit yourself completely while there?
  • Do you have a big blow out?

You don’t have to do any of them. I’ve managed weight loss at a Christmas party. In fact, the year that I got to goal I’d had a Christmas party days before my weigh-in. How did I manage it? I used the following tips.

Alternate Your Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks are full of empty, unnecessary calories. But they’re delicious, right? How can you say no when everyone else is drinking?

Well, there are a few options here. The year that I did it, I opted to drive. I had a couple of glasses of wine with my meal and then switched to non-alcoholic drinks for the rest of the night. This year I’ll be sticking to non-alcoholic drinks because of my pregnancy.

But there have been years that I’ve not driven. Instead, I’ve alternated my drinks. For each alcoholic drink, I’ve followed it with a non-alcoholic one. It means I drink fewer calories and I can still remember the whole night. The drinks tend to last longer.

Not only do I save on the waistline but I save on the cost, too. Non-alcoholic drinks tend to cost less.
People don’t have to know you’re not drinking with each drink. Opt for lemonade or other soft drinks that look like they could have spirits in if you’re really worried.

Listen to Your Stomach

We tend to feel the need to eat everything on the plate. That’s perfectly understandable, especially if you’ve paid for the meal. But are you really that hungry?

More often than not, Christmas meals are at least three courses. You may not even need to eat everything on the plate. I’ve had one meal before that was so large that I just couldn’t physically eat it all. I ended up leaving half the main and only had a few mouthfuls of the dessert and didn’t feel deprived at all.

It’s all about listening to your stomach. This is a great way of controlling your portion sizes. If anyone asks, just answer honestly that you are full. There will likely be someone who wants to finish it off for you!

Get the Menu Beforehand

With some meals, you can make a choice before you get there. When this is the case, get the menu before you go and look for the healthiest options. If you go with a meal planned out, you’re more likely to stick to it and avoid the stuff that is going to be bad for you.

Try to avoid the meals that come in cheese sauces, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for sauces and dressings on the side. Ring ahead to find out if this is possible.
Image from Amazon

If you’re on Weight Watchers, ring ahead and ask for the nutritional information. This will allow you to work out the points in the foods, so you have an idea on the weeklies that you’ve used.

Get Up Dancing

Don’t sit down and chat the whole night. The meal is a great time to talk to colleagues, but after that you want to get up and dance. Pull up your friends and burn off the calories you’ve eaten and drunk.

If you’re dancing, you’re not as likely to drink. Some hotels and venues have a ban on drinks on the dance floor.

Now’s the time to request your favourite songs and get up to dance the night away. This is why I got to goal. I just danced the whole time. My feet ached afterwards but it was so worth it in the long run. If you have aFitBit, why not wear one for the night to see just how many calories you’re burning?

The Christmas party doesn’t mean a weight gain. You can see a weight loss at the Christmas party, and even get to goal. I managed it!