January is famous for New Year’s resolutions. There is something so motivating about pressing the ‘reset’ button and starting a new year with a fresh set of goals – a brand new year for a brand new you. If you are ready to make 2022 the year that you take control, lose weight, get fitter, and gain confidence, read on. Here are seven secrets of success – all backed up by the latest research into weight loss and behaviour change, from your local Slimming World weight loss experts.
1. Don’t go hungry
To lose weight you have to eat less, right? Well, no. What you are eating is much more important than how much. Swapping high calorie, unsatisfying foods (think chocolate, alcohol, pastries ) for foods that are lower in calories and more bulky, so they fill you up for longer, is key to losing weight in a way that is easy to live with. Research shows that by basing your diet on low energy dense foods, like fruit and veg, and foods that are most filling – or satiating – like lean meat, fish, eggs, pasta, and potatoes, you can actually eat a larger amount of food and feel more satisfied while losing weight. Some quick and easy changes include using less fat when you cook, so you boil or dry fry instead of frying in oil, swapping full fat dairy products for low fat or fat free, ditching sugary drinks in favour of low-calorie drinks, and adding more fruit and veg to your daily meals.
2. It is OK to walk before you run
If your goal is to get fitter, remember you do not have to become a professional athlete to get active - just making a commitment to moving more all adds up. Many people make the mistake of joining a gym, overdoing it in week one, and quickly giving up, thinking ‘exercise isn’t for me’. Finding an enjoyable, achievable, and sustainable way of building new active habits into your routine is key – anything that gets you moving more, from heavy gardening or vigorous housework to brisk walking counts. What is most important is making it a regular habit – as natural to your day as brushing your teeth.
3. Be kind to yourself
We all start January with great intentions, but it is all too easy to go off track. It is what you do next that matters most – and the most important thing is not to beat yourself up about it. A recent Slimming World survey of 1,700 slimmers showed that when they did have a slip up, being self-critical was more likely to lead to comfort eating and giving up completely, whereas when they were kinder to themselves (imagine how you would talk to a friend who has had a setback ), they more quickly got back to healthy eating, lost weight, and they kept it off.
4. Set a goal
It is hard to achieve a goal if you do not set it out clearly in the first place. And when you are thinking about your dream weight, don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Research from Slimming World shows that slimmers who set ambitious targets lose twice as much weight as those who try to be ‘realistic’. Shoot for the moon – you never know where you might land.
5. Don’t opt for a quick fix
It is no secret that many people find losing weight far easier than keeping it off long-term. To avoid becoming trapped in a yo-yo diet cycle, it is important to approach weight loss as a permanent change to your lifestyle – and focus on developing new healthy habits that are sustainable for life, as well as getting support to make those changes. Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of research, says: "Based on their weight loss over a year, the top 10,000 slimmers who attended their weekly weight loss group regularly lost 30 per cent of their body weight – around 5st each. In our groups, members are equipped with all the tools they need to stay slim for life, so that they can be confident that the changes they’re making are sustainable forever."
6. Strike a balance
An all-or-nothing approach is rarely effective when it comes to weight loss. Restricting yourself when it comes to food and drink might work in the short term, but soon you will be fed up, hungry, and giving up completely. A little bit of what you fancy is key. That might be a Saturday night glass of wine or a bit of chocolate in the evenings. Whatever it is for you, having a flexible approach and a balanced mindset is much more likely to deliver long-term success.
7. You do not have to go it alone
The principles of losing weight are quite simple, yet if it was that easy – we would all be doing it. Studies show that embarking on your weight loss journey alongside other slimmers brings more success than going it alone. And not only that - recent research by the University of Lincoln revealed that people who are supported to lose weight in a group increase their mental toughness – developing more control, embracing challenges, and growing in confidence. Dr Jacquie Lavin says: “The power of the group and the peer support members give one another is what sets Slimming World apart. Our members become part of a community, something special, which helps them to realise that they are not alone in the challenges they face. That’s combined with our personalised approach – called IMAGE Therapy – which helps every member discover more about themselves as a slimmer, identify their own pitfalls and danger zones, and create practical plans to overcome them.”
If you would like to lose weight with the help of your local Slimming World group, visit slimmingworld.ie, or call 01 656 9696.