Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Staying motivated - is your weight-loss programme working?

Once I had committed a weight-loss programme, I found the best way to stay motivated was to actually be losing weight!

I remember being about two months into this nutrition programme and putting on a skirt I hadn't worn for a while. I put my feet through it, hiked it up to my waist, zipped it up at the back - and it was so loose I was able to turn it completely around my body in a single movement. At first I was a bit shocked. Had I really lost all that weight? Then it sunk in. Yes! Woo hoo! Sure, I'd seen the numbers dropping on the scale, but putting on that skirt and seeing the huge gap between my body and the material was fantastic! My motivation went through the roof, and I had no problem sticking with my programme - and still maintaining to this day.

The proverb (or cliche'): 'Nothing succeeds like success' ... is apt with regard to weight-loss. Success with weight-loss does breed further success. When you start getting the very results you are after, you keep doing what is working.

I think the top reason people lose motivation when they are trying to shed fat is because the programme or diet they are following doesn't work for them. Over the years I have tried countless diets (which I posted in detail about here) and got little or no results. There are only so many weeks or months you can carry on eating a particular way when you are not seeing the results you'd been expecting.

Here are three ways to find out if your weight-loss programme is working:

1. Weigh yourself on a weekly basis. You may not see a loss every week, but you should see a regular downward trend over three to four weeks. On average you should losing 500g of fat each week. The only problem I have with scales is that they often do not show the true picture of what is happening with your body. There may be weeks when the scale actually shows weight gain -but that doesn't mean you've gained fat - it could just be fluid retention. The scale does not show that you could be losing muscle instead of fat. Both scenarios have happened to me, and my nutritionist was able to tweak my programme to assist with getting my body back into fat-burning mode. Still, there is merit in seeing the numbers on the scale.

2. Your clothes start to feel looser. I know, this is pretty obvious. But I have to say, there were times when I could convince myself that I was losing weight, and the reason my jeans were so tight was because they'd just come out of the dryer. Choose an item of clothing you can use as a benchmark - keep it in the closet and use it just to check if your body is indeed shrinking.

3. Keep track of your measurements. Measure your bust, waist, hips, thigh and upper arm with a tailor's tape. These are the areas where you are most likely to store fat - so most likely place for the fat to come off. Measure on a weekly basis and write it down. Stay consistent with the tautness of the tape each time you take your measurements - having it loose one week and tight the next is not going to help you track your results accurately.

If you are not seeing consistent weight loss over a three to four week period using the above ways to track your progress, your programme needs tweaking. I will cover possible problem areas and what might need tweaking in next week's post.

No comments:

Post a Comment