I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published July 26th 2012
Step away from the crisps
Between January and May this year, I lost 10 kilos and dropped from a size 18 to a size 14. That was the goal I set myself on my arrival in Australia, and I was determined to do it the right way - over time and by watching what I eat and exercising, Knowing that you have done it the healthy way through hard work and determination makes reaching your goal that much sweeter and I simply cannot explain the joy of walking into a shop and picking up a size 14 and knowing that it will fit.
Since then and after that initial high I was kind of like "Okay, well what now?" I have reached my goal so now what happens. I know from experience, from friends, from research and from listening to those that have lost weight that often losing weight is really only half the battle and that keeping it off is just as hard, or maybe even harder!
I started to worry that it would creep back on, especially as in May my situation here changed quite a bit, I am no longer on holiday. I am now working, setting up my own business, studying, writing and more, so losing weight is not my only focus, nor do I have the free time that I did before. But I have been determined to keep going and to succeed where I had failed in the past, especially as my life has become busier, I didn't want to fall into the trap of blaming lack of time and stress, which I had done many times before.
I am pleased to announce that since I wrote my last article, Top 5 Tips To Losing Weight the Right Way, I have lost a further 2 kilos and I feel better than ever (yay). I now know that I will keep it off and that this is my size for good, a happy small size 14 and proud! For anyone who has lost weight recently, whether a few kilos or few stone, here are my top tips to keeping focus and keeping the weight off for good
1. Celebrate – Now I am not one for giving myself credit and to be honest for a while I was thinking maybe I had got it wrong, perhaps the scales are different over here (stupid I know) or maybe the dress sizes are different.
Then I was speaking to a mate and she reminded me that I (and only I) had achieved my goal, I put in the work, I got up most mornings and went to the gym and I changed how I eat. Yes there are gyms, nutrition advice, special foods and personal trainers but they cannot get results without you putting in the work. So give yourself credit, be happy, be proud, accepted the compliments with a smile and a thank you and remember how that feels. You did that! Well done!
2. Remember – Get an image of yourself from before the weightless, whether mentally or an actual photo, and keep it in mind or with you and refer to it when you need. For me it is the one below left, for some reason during one of Facebook's odd moments this image popped up on my wall one day a few months ago (spooky right?) and it really shocked me when I saw it, I feel like a different person now.
I don't want to look and feel like that again, I know how easy it can happen and how quickly the weight can come back so this is now my reference point, my reminder as to why I started this process and how far I have come. It's not just about looks it is about how you feel inside too, losing weight has given me more confidence and I feel more capable and disciplined than ever.
3. Get A New Goal – Obviously it depends on what you now want to achieve, if its to lose more weight then you will need a new routine but at the same frequency you were doing before, if you want to just keep a steady healthy pace and tone up then you can reduce what you do slightly.
I went from going to the gym 4/5 times a week to about 3 times a week; and I still watch what I eat but not so strictly as I did before. I still have to be careful but its about tone and definition now rather than weight loss so it's a different focus, but it is still a focus, and you must always remember that as quick as you lost weight it can come back even quicker.
4. Get a New Routine – This is important and has totally been the reason I have lost a little more weight. When you go to the gym and have a fixed routine after a while your body and muscles begin to get used to the workout and it stops having an affect, you hit the dreaded weight loss wall. Plus there are only so many times you can increase level and time, right? So after say 4-6 months its time to change it around, I met with a Personal Trainer friend of a friend who helped me put together a new simple routine which was basically focusing on toning up and strengthening my core.
I still do about 30-45 minutes of cardio (treadmill, cross trainer, boxing) but now have an added 20-30 minutes of a Pilates based set including sit-ups, stretches, balances, lunges and squats. Adding this in, I started to ache in places I didn't know I had muscles – a sign that it's working and my body is paying attention yet again. Plus as part of it isn't gym reliant - I can do the Pilates stuff in my bedroom and I still feel like I am making progress even if I am busy and haven't made it to the gym.
5. Dress Your Size - It is key that you start to dress for the size you are now. When I first lost weight (mostly due to lack of funds) I would still wear my size 18 clothes – I didn't think much about it really, it was only when I bought some basic pieces a month or so later, that I realised my mistake. The main thing was buying a size 14 pair of jeans (I cannot tell you how brilliant it is to write that!) and the difference was huge, I looked really good and you could clearly see the progress I had made, so I went home and threw those jeans away.
Since then, I have bought some more basic pieces and when I wear those clothes I feel totally different compared to when I put on older clothing – I still don't have loads of spare cash but the minute I do I am off shopping. By still wearing my old jeans and keeping old clothes I was giving off the expectation that I still believed that I was a 18 size and that this was maybe a passing phase, by throwing them away it made it official to the world that this is now my size and I intend to stay that way.
I recently bought a beautiful dress which is now my statement size 14 piece, and it makes me feel wonderful, when I tried it on I felt stunning and I haven't had many of those moments in dressing rooms for a long time. I intend to wear it for my best mate's wedding at the end of the year when I go back to the UK. It is my incentive to stay the same size and my motivation to get up and go to the gym.