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Jan 3

The 16 habits of people who lose weight and keep it off – Independent.ie

Dublin parents-of-two Rob Cullen and wife Yvonne, lost (and have kept off) 13 stone between them. Rob says its because they stay focused on why they want to maintain a healthy weight.

For us its about remembering why we started in the first place and that was for our two boys.Both felt unhappy with their weight and how it was making them feel lethargic and depleted.

They decided to make a change, embracing home cooking and cutting out takeaways and alcohol.From 2016 to 2018, Rob went from being over 20 stone to 12 stone and now weighs in at around 13 stone, a weight he feels comfortable that he can maintain.

The couple say they feel more energised, their taste buds have changed, they have fewer aches and pains, less bloating and even Robs snoring has stopped.

What he feels has worked for them is the fact they never considered themselves on a diet. Dieting is something you do for six weeks and after that you put the weight back on, he says.

People fail because they go on these diets but its only sustainable for a certain amount of time.Hes confident his and Yvonnes approach (which they write about at robandyvonne.ie) is sustainable.

What helps is being mindful of what they eat and watching portion sizes, making healthy choices but still allowing for occasional treats and staying focused on their common goal of remaining fit and healthy for their two sons, Liam (8) and Tommy (13).

Rob and Yvonne along with a panel of experts explain the 16 habits you need to keep the weight off.

1. Have a (non-scales related) long term goalMany of us fall into the trap of losing weight to reach a magic number, fit in an outfit or go on holiday. But these short-term goals wont sustain long-term commitment this requires a deeper, values-driven motive. Psychologist Susannah Healy, author of Fabulous Jelly: Use Your Brain to Lose Weight and The Seven Day Soul, explains: We are naturally more inclined to give our effort and attention to things that are meaningful if the weight loss was just to fit into an outfit at a wedding, then the goal was not hugely meaningful and the motivation is unlikely to last.

2. Sleep (for about eight hours)Lack of sleep often comes with a host of other health-sabotaging factors such as stress, excessive screen-time and lack of activity throughout the day, but several scientific studies have suggested a strong correlation between getting a good nights sleep and weight management. One study reported that older adults who slept less than five hours, compared with seven to eight hours, increased their risk of obesity by 40pc. Interestingly, other research has shown that too much sleep isnt good either with those sleeping nine or 10 hours 21pc more likely to become obese compared with those getting their seven or eight hours of shuteye.

3. Make healthy options accessibleIts when youre hungry and wanting something fast that youre most likely to slip into making less healthy choices. But its not just about making sure you have the nutritious stuff in the house. Healy says little changes, even down to where food is in your kitchen, make a difference to long term-habits. Its not buying and having fruit in your kitchen that will increase your fruit-eating habit, but the exact positioning of that fruit bowl in arms reach, not hidden away in a corner, will increase how much we eat, she explains.

4. Find an exercise you love and do it regularlyYou might have been able to force yourself through an intense workout regime to lose weight, but exercise will not become a long-term habit if its not something you enjoy. The simple truth and fact is they must get something sustainable and practical that suits their lifestyle, says trainer Paul Byrne. Its not practical to work out seven days a week and eat 1,000 calories a day youll crash. Find a workout or exercise you like, look forward to doing and mix it up.

5. Address your headspaceWeight management is about so much more than calories in and out. So many people who reach a weight they are happy with talk about the importance of self-love, of being able to look in the mirror and accept yourself. Getting your mind in the right place leads to day-to-day changes which in turn leads to better choices and a healthier body and mind, says Jason OCallaghan, a hypnotherapist in the D4 Clinic, a therapy he believes can help with the negative self-talk that can impact on weight management.

6. Monitor your progressThat doesnt have to mean stepping on the scales every day, it could mean noticing when a pair of trousers starts to feel a little snug, feeling more breathless doing an activity you previously could do with ease. Be attuned to your body and act fast if you see changes. Its easier to get back to where you want to be if you act sooner rather than later.

7. Eat enough fibreWe know that the better your fibre intake, the lower your sugar intake, explains dietitian Aveen Bannon. Fibre slows down the speed at which food passes through digestion and makes you feel fuller for longer. The best sources are fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and pulses.

8. Get supportThe people you have around you have a big role to play in the success of weight management. Have a friend, a class, a dietitian, says dietitian Sarah Keogh. It takes quite a while to really bed down new habits so having someone you can check in with regularly is important, not necessarily for a weigh-in, although that can help for some.

9. Make a food planI dedicate a lot of time to meal planning on my courses because I truly believe that planning and organisation is what holds so many of us back from achieving our health goals, says Elsa Jones, a nutritional consultant who runs free online weight management workshops.Planning is pro-active and will give you control in choosing what you eat. While food diaries can be a useful tool in monitoring, they can also become a negative means of self-flagellation to beat yourself up at the end of the day for being bad. Plan, dont punish.

10. Take nothing off the menuThis is called the law of reverse affect, explains OCallaghan. If you say to someone dont think of a black cat I guarantee you will think of one!So saying Im never having wine or chocolate or ice cream means you have to keep thinking of them to keep your rule.Then if you slip up a little, you tend to just give up totally until next Mondays diet.A healthy relationship with food is grounded in moderation.

11. Be able to draw a line under somethingOne of the most common mindset traps I see people fall into is all or nothing thinking, reveals Jones.This is when you tell yourself youve blown it by eating one biscuit, so you may as well eat the whole packet and start fresh tomorrow. The best way to counteract this is to ditch the whole notion of being on a diet. If youre not on a diet then you cant blow your diet. Instead just focus on what you can do today to bring you closer to your goal.

12. Keep an eye on your proportionsPortion size is important, but a long-term, sustainable, balanced diet also revolves around having the right balance of nutrients on your plate one quarter protein (chicken, fish, beans) one quarter complex carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa) and the rest veggies.

13. Eat mindfullyEver sat down to watch TV only to look down and realise youve shovelled a family-size bag of crisps into you without even noticing? If you want to try and stop your waistband expanding, register what youre eating. Eat slowly and notice when you feel full, dont just automatically clear your plate, recommends Keogh.

14. Drink waterBeing even a little dehydrated can cause your metabolism to drop and work less effectively. Most of us dont drink enough water and often confuse thirst with hunger, reaching for a snack when we should be turning on the tap.Experts believe we should consume between half-an-ounce and an ounce of water per pound you weigh, every day.For example, someone at 12 stone should be drinking at least 2.5 litres of water a day, although activity level and climate will also be a factor.

15. Remember how far youve comeYou might have thrown out all your old clothes and not want to look at old photos but they can be motivating.We remember how far weve come, says Cullen. And that we dont ever want to go back to the way we were.

16. Accept theres no one size fits all approachMaintaining a weight youre happy with is ultimately about doing what works for you. Some studies show that eating breakfast helps some people maintain, other research says it makes no difference.Some swear by keeping an eye on the scales, others rely on how they feel the most successful means of maintaining a healthy body weight is finding the best way that works for you.

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The 16 habits of people who lose weight and keep it off - Independent.ie

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