Women's Fitness (UK)

Lee Chambers,

psychologi­st and wellbeing consultant

- (leechamber­s.org)

HOW DOES OUR MINDSET AFFECT OUR ABILITY TO KEEP LOST WEIGHT OFF?

‘One of the main reasons is not having attached concrete reasons to the everyday health behaviours you practised when you were trying to lose weight. Realising that eating well, moving your body and sleeping optimally often make you feel happier and more energised can become clouded by the biggest abstract goal – that of looking a certain way, hitting a certain number or wearing certain clothes. Once you achieve your abstract goals, if you don’t have concrete reasons to continue, your healthy behaviours are likely to fade away.’

WHAT COMMON BEHAVIOUR MISTAKES DO PEOPLE MAKE AFTER DIETING?

‘Some people use food and drink as a reward mechanism for achieving their goals, promoting precedents for continuall­y indulging in them. Others focus less on healthy behaviours, which leads to less aware choices. This can lead to a feeling of shame for not hitting standards. Losing the awareness of emotional eating triggers is another challenge and, combined with less overall health behaviours, stress triggers are more likely to ignite unhelpful behaviours that were comforting in the past.’

PLAN TO SUCCEED

‘Firstly, keep your levels of preparatio­n up, keep planning, keep hydrated and keep sticking to portion sizes. After a couple of months, assess your emotional eating behaviours and triggers. Keeping a journal is a really powerful way of tracking your progress. Ask yourself: “Do I eat when I’m stressed, lonely, bored or low on energy?” By getting clear on how you have struggled, you can be compassion­ate and come up with a plan to give yourself a replacemen­t activity for each situation that doesn’t involve eating or drinking.’

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