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  • Writer's pictureSarah Skelton

Never give up

Success means never giving up

Flat battery, stalling, hill starts, kangaroos… sound familiar? No doubt many of you had experiences like this when you were learning to drive, but these words could be equally well applied to a challenge such as losing weight.

Many people successfully lose weight the first time they go on a diet and that is a fantastic achievement. But some need several attempts to get started, and others lose weight and then regain some for any number of reasons. Their weight-loss graph hops about all over the place – a bit like the car did when you were learning to drive and finding changing gear, using the clutch and moving forward all at the same time a bit tricky.

But does this make it harder to lose weight and get to your goal once and for all? Well no, it shouldn’t and here’s why.

You’re not a failure

Having a second, third or even fourth go at losing weight or anything else is not something to feel embarrassed about. Nor does it mean that you are a failure, or will fail in the future.

Having another go is a very positive thing to do and, with the right mental and physical preparation, this time you will succeed and keep it off long term, too.

Remember, losing weight is all about health and well-being as well as being able to fit into smaller clothes. It’s as much about what’s in your head as what’s in your diet book. 

Let’s be realistic, though. Losing weight isn’t easy for everyone and there’s no doubt that it can be harder to shed those pounds the second or third time around.

Why might it be harder second time around? 

The cycle of gaining, losing and regaining weight affects your metabolism. When you lose weight you decrease your percentage of body fat. Each time you return to a high weight, your percentage of total fat may have increased a little. This is because when you lose weight, some of the weight lost is lean tissue and, when you put the weight back on, the lean tissue isn’t replaced.

Muscle is lean tissue and muscles need a lot of energy. If they get smaller they need less energy, so your body’s basic energy needs decline, too. That’s why it may be a little harder to lose the weight.

The answer is to become more active to build up your muscles and raise your metabolic rate again.

Safe mode: your body is the most fantastic complex piece of equipment on the planet and, if you tend to try every diet fad/trend that comes along, your body will rebel. If it recognises signs of tough times ahead it will become smarter and smarter and will resist change more and more. It goes into “safe mode” to preserve energy.

Get real! 

Were the reasons you started on your diet the first time around realistic? Did they accurately reflect what you could achieve in your chosen time frame, or were they a bit far-fetched?

If your targets aren’t realistic you could be setting yourself up to fail before you’ve even started. How many times have you said one of the following?

  • If I starve myself this week I will get into that dress/suit etc.

  • If I cut out all my carbohydrates I will be thinner by next week. 

  • I want to lose 2st by the time I go on holiday in three weeks.

I'm sure you can think of many more and, if you look at them closely, how realistic are they?

Get into condition

Cross your arms. How does it feel? Comfortable? You did it automatically in one way, didn’t you, so now cross them the other way. Does it feel different? Is it hard to do? It’s not comfortable any more, is it? 

This is conditioning. You have conditioned your brain to feel comfortable when you cross your arms in one particular way. Your chances of successfully reaching your weight-loss goal and staying there can be greatly enhanced if you recondition your brain.

Condition it to feel comfortable when you eat correctly.

Condition it to feel comfortable when you exercise regularly.

Condition it feel comfortable without chocolate at 4pm. Condition it to think positively.

So, you see, whether it’s your first, second or even third time on a diet, you can succeed if you don’t expect to fail.

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