How to avoid failing at fast weight loss
The new Slimfast ads have caused quite a stir - for those of us on the side of eating real food and throwing off the shackles of diets and unrealistic body images, we're horrified, disgusted that marketing like that still exists. But for every one of us that it repels there are a hundred women that the ad called to.
The reality is that we made this 'market' - the research is in and the marketeers found that lo and behold, we want to be thinner, and we want it easy and we want it fast - and they fix our problems by selling us promises in the shape of meal replacements - with shakes/bars and 'ambient' calorie controlled meals.
This market for weight loss products is growing at a rate of 6% a year - it's not going away any time soon. Do you know the killer? Obesity is growing at the same rate as the weight loss market - around 6% a year, though I am hopeful those growing up now, the next generation are going to have more love for themselves.
So back to the ad - back to that itch you really want to scratch, fast weight loss, simple easy weight loss - you want to take the magic pill.
To win at this game you need to walk into it with your eyes open, knowing the pitfalls and having a plan - don't blunder in hoping that magic pill will work (It won't). Make it work for you, run rings around the money making machine and get what YOU want out of it...
Here's how to avoid the 3 pitfalls that any meal replacement fast weight loss 'diet' will bring ......
Pitfall NO. 1: You'll regain the weight you lost and probably more:
You will lose weight if you significantly reduce your calories for a period of time. It will happen and it doesn't matter how you do it. You could have 1 mars bar 3 x a day. It's the calories in/calories out equation to your body (Nutrition is an entirely different ball game which is why no one is selling the mars bar diet - but I'm just saying - it would work, and having looked at the ingredients of meal replacement bars it's not frikking far off).
The trick you HAVE to deploy is to know how you generally eat and identify what you need to change in your day to day diet so that when you stop the fast weight loss programme, you start to eat well for you, for your health and happiness, and you don't go back to eating habits where you'll gain straight away again.
I'm going to let you in on a secret - your issues are in your snacks and sugar. They are. Try www.myfitnesspal.com for 5 days and track your normal eating habits - just be curious, record what you eat, have a look at how much sugar is in your diet (All sugar counts, even fruit sugar) and I promise you if you can sort out your snacks and reduce your sugar to under 30 grams you'll be eating loads better and will shave off calories.
If you do a fast weight loss programme then go back to how you were eating before, you will regain most of the weight, if not more. It's what you do consistently that counts. So allow yourself the grace of 5 days to understand how you eat today - be mindful and you'll take back the power from the shakes, and you can maintain that initial kick of weight loss and lose more if you nail those snacks properly!
Pitfall Solution: Eat Mindfully once you've finished the fast weight loss programme
Pitfall NO. 2: You'll feel like crap when you are eating this food regularly day in day out:
This isn't good food - let's be clear. Here's an ingredients list for a meal replacement bar and a shake.... there is nothing good in here...
Don't do this for long - if you're doing it because it's easy then do it for 2 weeks maximum as a kick start - its a chemical shit storm. It's not just weight that you are attacking with what you eat - calories are not everything, you are still feeding your body. How you think, how you power your body will be affected if you pour this stuff into you for a longer period than 2 weeks.
I'm coaching a beautiful woman at the moment on her body image and food confidence after she lost weight on Lighter Life, and then gained a lot of it back. The price she paid for her weight loss efforts was that she lost her hair while she was on the diet. DON'T FEED YOURSELF THIS SHIT.
Pitfall Solution: Swap in real food alternatives as soon as you can. If you are replacing meals then you are not taking up time cooking - use that saved time and research some great simple salads - make them easy ones, with just a handful of ingredients so you can spend 5 minutes prepping and go. Pack them full of lean meats, tofu or nuts or roasted chick peas (Simple salads post coming up in a couple of weeks!). That's lunch done. No more meal replacement bars there.
Buy yourself a blender and make a banana/unsweetened almond milk and cocoa powder shake (A gazilion times better than a Slimfast shake). Breakfast.
Evening meals? Buy 5 of these Kabuto noodle pots, have a bag of spinach and some sliced pepper in the fridge, chuck it all in a bowl, add boiling water. Done. If it's simplicity and ease that will get you there then there's a replacement right there for every meal.
Start to swap them in and then your transition back to eating well everyday will be simpler and you won't feel like crap.
Pitfall NO. 3: Nothing really changes - fast forward to Christmas and you're desperately trying to lose a few pounds for one party. Fast forward 12 months and you're in exactly the same place, with a summer holiday on the near horizon. Hating your body, loathing your curves, wanting fast weight loss.
Now we're at the real issue. The thing that sickened me most about that advert was the beauty of those women who were so excited that they were going to go on that date, on that holiday having lost a few pounds. And they didn't need to.
It's fine to want to lose some weight. If you are overweight, or at a weight that's making you uncomfortable, then absolutely work on yourself. But loathing yourself, putting your life on hold for the pounds as you do it will result ultimately in failure. You'll lose the pounds, but nothing will really change.
Here's the big evolution that we have to make in our minds - It is fine to work on yourself, it's fine to evolve your diet for weight loss or health, its fine to start moving more and connecting with your body and it's fine to love your body right now, exactly as it is, for everything that it does for you. Life is now, in this moment, not when you've lost 7 lbs.
Let's say its a holiday on the horizon - pick clothes you love to wear, have a fake tan before you go, forgive and love your curves because you are so much more than a number.
If it's a date - ask 3 people close to you to tell you what they love about you - work on your self esteem. Imagine you do meet your ultimate guy and he only loves you because you are thin? And let's be honest, having followed a calorie controlled diet of that extreme for the previous week, you'll have one glass of wine and make a complete tit of yourself. So just don't OK 😉
Pitfall Solution: Stop the loathing. You are uniquely you and beautiful. Full Stop. Your weight does not define you, it's fine to love your amazing body now and eat well for your health and happiness rather than loathing and running at weight loss solutions like Slimfast. This is the real work you need to put in. It takes time, you'll always be critical, it's in our nature, but take a step.
The Real World Weight Loss formula is the programme that takes you on that journey, working hand in hand with me so you have one to one support and accountability.
If you'd like to find out more, I'd love to hear from you - email me at [email protected]
Rachel Streek - Life Coach. Nutritional Adviser. Blogger
Rachel has coached hundreds of women to help them reconnect with their amazing bodies, succeed with their ideal weight goals and throw off the guilt and failure of dieting for good.