Last Autumn, I decided that enough was enough and that I was going to lose the last of my ‘baby weight.’ I knew that whilst this was achievable alone, I would have a lot more success if I had an expert to help me.
Upon meeting Jasmine Chu, co-founder of Train and Sustain, I knew I would have no choice but to succeed. It was immediately evident that aside from being passionate about diet and fitness, she was incredibly knowledgable about health too. She never was unrealistic in what I could achieve but was also not afraid to push me to get there. In 10 weeks, I was 14lbs lighter but much stronger than I had been in a long time.
But what happened after that?
In the past when I’ve lost weight it has slowly just crept back. This wasn’t an overnight process but rather it just gradually increased over night. NOT this time.
I’ve continued to work out with Jasmine each week as well as finding the time to swim or train at the gym. Jasmine has taught me so much about food that my approach to food has changed. Admittedly I am 2l bs heavier than I was at Christmas *gasp* – but my clothes fit better and I can physically do things that I’ve never done before. The best example being 20m of monkey bars on an Army Obstacle Course (I was there for work!).
So – with all that in mind – I’ve asked Jasmine to guest post for me to talk about losing and keeping off that unwanted weight. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did!
If you were to ask me to narrow down and define how to achieve weight loss, it really comes down to two things; science and discipline.
- Science – achieve a calorie deficit. This is where the body requires more energy than is being consumed. Ideally, this should be achieved through a combination of two things – eating a little less (not necessarily in volume, but in calorie intake), and moving more (this helps to expend more energy daily which will contribute to creating a deficit).
- Discipline – Achieve the above, and then carry on consistently to reach your goal.
For many people, losing weight initially isn’t hard, in the first few days or weeks, pounds will drop, but how do we keep those pounds off long term? For many people this is where the challenge arises.
Whenever someone tells me they are going on a diet, especially if some sort of fad, the first question I ask is ‘can you eat in this way for the rest of your life’? By this, I don’t mean maintaining discipline to lose weight, I mean in terms of structure and food choices. For example, a juice diet, or cutting out all carbs, how feasible is this long term? These things will work, yes (because they will create a calorie deficit) but what is next? What happens when you lose all of the weight desired? This leads me on to my next 3 points – how to keep weight off once you have worked hard to lose it.
Create a great ‘normal’
In my eyes, creating a great ‘normal’ is vital to long-term success. After a holiday, a festivity or just a day that didn’t go to plan, it is important to fall back to good habits as soon as possible afterwards. Consistent over consumption will lead to weight gain again. Whether you are a mother of 4, a working professional, or a superwoman managing both, we all need some sort of routine. Looking after your body and energy levels needs to be part of that routine.
So, here is one example: You opt for a ‘juice diet’ for 6 weeks before your 2 week vacation to Mexico – pounds are shed quickly, goals are achieved and your beach body feels truly ready. Then, holiday time! You’ve only been drinking juice for the last 6 weeks, so cravings are high and you may as well go for it! All the fun has been had, and home time comes round – you’re feeling pretty full and sluggish, and your pre-holiday body seems to have evolved, so what now? Revert back to habits prior to juice diet? Weight maintenance problem 1: good habits weren’t created to achieve weight loss.
Ok, so better scenario – you change your lifestyle long term, increase your education around food and reduce calorie intake sensibly and the weight you desired to lose comes off over time. Then 2 weeks in Mexico comes, you have a great time, but adopt a little balance (as with your new found knowledge its much easier). When you come home, naturally still a few pounds heavier, you just go back to normal, go food shopping, plan and prepare food and continue with a balanced lifestyle. Any excess pounds (if any) will drop without an extreme approach, because your ‘normal’ is realistic and not drastic. Weight maintenance success: you created good habits in order to lose weight.
Balance in life is extremely important, and time with family as well as social activities should be enjoyed. Once you achieve a weight loss (or clothes size/ body shape) goal it’s a great place to be – enjoy a piece of cake, or a meal at your favourite restaurant or a glass of wine, this is perfectly okay.
However, weight gain happens through consistently over consuming calories over a period of time, so as long as this isn’t every day, it is unlikely to have an effect. But, if the body is regularly loaded with excess energy that isn’t used, then weight can creep back up. An easy way to avoid this is to use the energy!
Create a greater demand in the body by exercising regularly and doing resistance based training to help increase metabolism. So, enjoy a pizza on a Friday evening if that’s your favourite thing to do, just keep active and keep up a regular exercise routine.
Quit the ‘all or nothing’ approach
Having come through my own journey with food and exercise, one thing I prioritise and coach to clients is a healthy relationship with food. Fearing food, fearing carbs, self-hatred because you ‘caved’ and had a takeaway is not healthy for the mind and is not going to contribute to long-term success or feeling happy. It doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’, I prefer to aim for 80:20 or even 90:10 approach: 80-90% of nutritious foods, and 10-20% of what you love, whatever that may be!
Having a piece of cake and then feeling so bad that you end up with a week of disastrous eating is not a happy life! Enjoy the cake, but just get back on track the next meal or the next day (as per point 1, back to ‘normal’).
I have worked as a fitness professional in the industry for 11 years and I still find that people often have the perception that either my job, or the fact that I am of a healthy weight (or often that anyone of a healthy weight) must mean that I lead a life of restriction and carry a pocket book with a list of ‘I don’t eat…’ – which is (very) far from the truth.
Maintaining weight is not about restriction, it is about knowing what your body needs – lots of nutrients! The bulk of your daily intake should be based about nutrient dense carbohydrate, fat and protein sources, maybe not because you need to lose weight anymore, but because this is what your body needs for optimal health.
However, sometimes my mind would like a burger, or some Harbio (the forever child inside me!), or maybe even just a big bowl of my favourite pasta, and damn right it will be enjoyed, always guilt free!
Gym session the next day, and back to nutritious eating: weight maintenance achieved!
Thank you Jasmine for sharing this and supporting my own weight loss and continued journey to optimum fitness!
If you’re interested in working with Jasmine or have any questions please feel free to get in touch with her! You could call/message on 07969 954 893, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Train and Sustain Facebook page.