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The Do's & Don'ts of Dieting

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by Sarah Says (subscribe)
I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published June 5th 2014
Why Isn't Wine Calorie Free?
The start of the weightloss journey, is always a tough one and you need to draw on some serious motivation and perseverance.

I have had many attempts and many, many fails, only succeeding when I did it the right way with exercise, portion control and some major will power in 2012. Over about 8 months I managed to lose 2 dress sizes and drop in total just over 12 kilos. I was at a perfect weight for my shape, and for the first time since my teens, finally happy in my own body.

Then in April 2013, I fell pregnant, it was unplanned but brilliant, and after what felt like an eternity my daughter was born in Dec 2013. But now I find myself even heavier than before my weightloss, and back at the beginning of that journey. This time of course, it's even harder as my free time and energy levels are limited.

Baby, weightloss, health, fitness, diet
Baby bump

So, two months in to my latest journey, I have lost just 2 kilos, and although I can see a difference in the tone of my body, I know I have a long way to go. Through my very many and different experiences I have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't, so here are my do's and don'ts for dieting and excersising.

Do exercise
Don't expect immediate miracles.

Exercise is so vital to get physically fit, but also mentally fit too, I only found this out when I lost 12 kilos in 2012. Heading to the gym first thing every other morning, or going for a long walk or run, set me up for the rest of the day, I had more energy, was proud of myself and I felt I could lose myself during my workout and achieve a calm that I struggle to get anywhere else. However, it is a very long road, and after a month or so, stepping on the scales and seeing no results is frustrating and led to my many fails. You have to persevere, in fact for the first month or so if you can stay away from the scales, and focus on your shape, if you see a difference in your body, then it is working. It's tough, believe me, but worth the resilience, your body needs time to work out what's happening, and soon it will catch up, and the kilos will start to drop.

Health, fitness, weightloss, diet, exercise
Fighting fit back in 2012

Do get know your body
Don't assume what works for others, or what worked before, will work for you now.

Knowing your shape and what you want to improve is key, you cannot alter your shape but you can refine and strengthen certain areas. Understanding your body and what it needs and what works is going to help you in the journey. What worked for me pre pregnancy, I have realised isn't going to work for me now, my body has changed, and the weight is carried in different places than before. So I have to rethink my approach as to what exercise and diet will work this time. You can research machines, speak to professionals, look into special strength exercises and what food will work for you, in the areas you want. You are unique and individual and success stories from others may not work for you, get to know your own body, find your own rhythm and dance to that in your own way. Plus now my lifestyle is totally different so I had to forget what had worked before and set a new schedule and approaches. Don't be afraid to stop and start again, or change the focus or goals.

Do be kind to yourself
Don't give in, or time to, pressures, anxieties and other people.

We all have body issues and hate ourselves at times but learning to love yourself first is an important, but often tough, first step in the weightloss journey. Lets face it, unless we want to go under the knife, then our shape and structure is here to stay so we must learn to love the base and seek to improve on the rest. I saw in glamour magazine recently a great campaign called letter to my body where people wrote an open letter to their body thanking it for keeping it alive and well in the face of abuse, disease and hatred. This resonated with me as right now I do hate my shape but it was this body that created, loved, nurtured and kept safe my beautiful daughter and delivered her to me. So how can I hate such an incredible thing. Don't buy into the media and the ideal of beauty or what others are doing - do it for you and be realistic in your goals.

My beautiful daughter

Do eat well
Don't cut out a food group or set an unrealistic daily calorie limit.

The only way I achieved weighloss was when I just reduced my portions, rather than going on some crazy fad or detox. It may work for you, but for me, the minute I decide to stop anything, booze or carbs perhaps, I simply want them more and give in. Sounds silly but I have my own bowl and plate which is smaller than my partners (he just eats and drinks what he wants and lots of it - I hate him) so I can control my portion sizes as we share the cooking. By reducing my portions and having healthy snacks when hungry, then I am more likely to succeed as I'm not going cold turkey on anything, it also means I'm not miserable. Of course, eating fruit and veg is key, and I find just eating carbs (especially my nemesis, bread) in the morning works best for me. Plus where you can, cook your own food, rather than having precooked food, as then you can control the recipe and know what it is you are eating. You could even do a 2-week trial run, I have done this, and it really helps with easing into the lifestyle change. As an example, I love my coffee, so rather than cutting completely I went from a tall full fat mocha with cream, to a short skinny mocha with no cream. It's about 200 calorie difference - small steps can get you far. Don't cut out any food group, our bodies need all of them to thrive, and the results, although often successful, are just short lived.

Healthy, eating, movement, diet, exercise, fitness, calories
Dieting Traps

Do ask for help
Don't internalise and suffer in silence, and don't be hard on yourself.

Whether a gym, a friend, a personal trainer, a book, family, an online forum, a weightloss group or weightloss technology, anything that is going to make things easier is a must. For those who don't need to watch their weight, they cannot understand the total mind roller coaster that you go through and you do need support, whatever form it takes. For me, it's the gym and an app to count calories - I just need that extra push and these do the trick for me. What I think is the most important is to give yourself a break when you do mess up, it isn't the end of the world, and luckily you can just work harder the following day to get back on track. Often I have given up to easily because of a slip, but if you want to succeed the only way to do it is to take a deep breathe and get back on that treadmill. Don't give in. You can do it.

Weightloss, diet, health, fitness, exercise
My calorie counting app
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It's nearly a year later Sarah. How are you going?
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4206) 2265 days ago
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