Welcome back to week 9 of our 12 Week Weight Management Programme. We're pleased you have decided to continue with your weight management journey.
How did you get on last week? Were you able to practice mindful eating?
Do diets work?
We're using the word diet here to mean a way of eating and drinking that's intended to help people lose weight. This is sometimes called a slimming diet.
We don't recommend you think of yourself as being on a diet. How many times have you been on a diet in the past, and did you find the diet was successful? The likely answer is many times and 'yes, but only while I was on the diet.'
We know that people tend to lose weight while on a diet. But they regain all the weight lost, and usually a bit more too, when they come off the diet. This is because their energy balance is tipped in favour of less calories being consumed than they're using, so they lose weight until they return to old habits. We would encourage you to focus on making meaningful and achievable changes that can be maintained.
What are fad diets?
Fad diets are diets advertised as the 'new quick fix' to manage your weight or the latest 'guaranteed way to lose weight'. They often promise rapid weight loss.
Fad diets often have the backing of a celebrity and are endorsed by celebrity quotes. Sometimes the fad diet will even generate income for its creator. Fad diets are popular for a limited period of time before the next fad comes along. They're similar to trends in fashion or hair styles. Fad diets usually aren't successful in the long term as they don't address our underlying eating habits and lifestyle.
Remember that to lose weight you do need to reduce your calorie intake. It's best to do this within a balanced diet.
Why am I doing this?
Do you ever ask yourself 'Why am I doing this?'; or 'Why does weight loss matter?'
The answer that you come up with gives you an insight into:
- the things in life that really matter to you
- those things which give meaning to your life
- your values
For some people it's their family that gives life value, 'I want to see my grandchildren grow up.' Or it may be 'Getting a new job matters and gives my life a sense of purpose.'
Personal routines and goals
When you set your mind to change your routine or part of your daily behaviour, you'll be more likely to achieve it if your goal is realistic.
If you decide to eat breakfast every day, you can achieve this by getting up in time to have breakfast and having breakfast food in the house.
If you decide to increase your physical activity, you can achieve this by having realistic expectations and planning how to fit this into your routine. For example, if you're looking after children 4 days per week you could plan to swim on other days. If you decide to walk 6000 steps a day you could walk to the park with the children or go for a walk with the pram.
Pause before you eat and ask yourself why you're eating. Remember the difference between hunger and appetite. Are you responding to a signal from your body telling you that you're hungry? Or is it that you want something to eat and your appetite is telling you that you want to eat. Or is the desire to eat driven by an emotion or intense feeling - boredom, sadness or stress.
But we know that food isn't a helpful way to deal with your emotions, and emotional or comfort eating can make you feel worse about yourself. So, if you stop and think 'health' you can give yourself time to make a mindful choice instead of automatically reaching for food in response to an emotion which has triggered comfort eating.
Before you eat …think “HEALTH”
Make it one of your personal rules before you eat to ask yourself if you are
- In a Hurry
If the answer to any of these is yes then use the hunger scale and check if you are actually hungry. If using the hunger scales shows you not in the hunger zone then food is not the answer. Remember food is not a solution to deal with emotion and emotional eating can actually make you feel worse.
These are emotions that often lead people to eat whenever the emotion arises, so it could be late in the evening, during the night, or it could be at any time during the day. These emotions often trigger us to overeat and to reach for “comfort food”. Usually it is unpleasant emotions which trigger eating behaviour, but this is not always the case. People can associate happiness with eating too, celebrating or marking a positive event. As with all emotionally driven eating, we need to monitor this, or it can lead to unhelpful overeating and feelings of guilt and regret can be triggered.
Just pause before you eat and ask yourself why you are eating. Remember the difference between hunger and appetite. Are you responding to a signal from your body telling you that you are hungry? Or is it that you want something to eat and your appetite is telling you want to eat. Or is the desire to eat driven by an emotion or intense feeling: boredom, sadness or stress. If we use the hunger scale it will help us to think about our level of hunger and how ready we are to eat.
But we know that food isn't a helpful way to deal with our emotions, and emotional or comfort eating can make us feel worse about our self. So, if we stop and think “health” we can give ourselves time to make a mindful choice instead of automatically reaching for food in response to an emotion which has triggered comfort eating.
Setting your goals
It's time to set new goals for next week. When setting your weekly goals you should:
- decide which day next week you will be coming back to this programme, this will be the day you can review your goals
- consider the areas for change we have discussed this week
- look at your lifestyle diary/journal/app/photos and choose areas where you feel you could make a small change over the next week
- ask yourself what you can do more of, what you can do less of and what would help you me make these changes
- add 1 or 2 new goals - we recommend 3 to 4 weekly changes goals are the most you should ever set yourself
If you don’t meet your goals every day, that’s ok. It’s important to keep returning to what you've written down. We’ll review them next week.
Your can use our goal-setting tool to record your goals for the week, or print out our blank weekly journal (PDF, 42KB) to fill in yourself.
For next week
During the next week:
- complete your lifestyle diary
- think about any fad diets you've tried in the past and identify why they stopped working for you
- practice thinking 'health' before you eat