Column inches are frequently dominated by stories of the nations ever expanding waistline and have been for some years. Of course, we all know that being overweight is unhealthy, that excess weight carries a myriad of health risks, but still a significant proportion of us weigh far more than what is considered ‘healthy’. But why?
Overcoming unhealthy eating habits that have manifested over a lifetime is sadly not a simple case of eating less and exercising more. Half the battle is finding the motivation to begin, and the other half is keeping the progress going.
During the past decade the ‘fad diet’ concept exploded, with many individuals seeing them as the answer to their weight woes. Think cabbage soup, fasting, low-carb and low-calorie – fad diets such as these pledge to make you lose weight fast but in the main don’t produce sustainable results.
We should know by now that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and any diet that promises a quick and effortless route to losing weight should set alarm bells ringing. There is no magic pill, and there is certainly no easy way.
Fad diets are often extreme, sometimes demanding avoiding entire food groups or surviving on only liquids. Whilst these radical rules might be fine for short bursts of time, they cannot be maintained on a long-term basis and could even lead to illness.
So if dieting is not the answer to long-term weight loss, what is?
Weight loss and a healthy lifestyle should always be a learning experience, and you should be able to walk away feeling confident and motivated that you can continue and sustain your progress independently. Weight loss isn’t simply about changing what you eat; it is about changing your approach and attitude towards food.
It is for this reason that many individuals seek health coaching.
Health coaches aim to help individuals find the motivation needed to stick to their diet, even after the initial drive begins to fizzle out. It is not about trying fad diets or exploring the emotional relationship we have with food – it is about introducing structure and attainable goals to motivate and prevent old habits from raising their heads.
Professional Life Coach Midgie Thompson is no stranger to providing motivational coaching, and has been doing so since she founded her Bright Futures Coaching business back in 2003. Since then, Brighton based Midgie has coached a variety of individuals ranging from professional athletes through to Managing Directors, and below she gives us her top tips for staying motivated when either trying to lose weight or when embarking on other health goals independently:
- Set clear goals and make a plan to achieve them
Clarify what it is you want to achieve and include detail of the outcome. Then work out, in small incremental steps, how you will achieve that goal.
- Go after only compelling goals
How important it is for you to achieve your goal? What difference will it make if you achieve, or don’t achieve, that goal? What benefits will you gain?
- Identify specific times for exercise
Plan in advance when you are going to do your exercise and put them in the diary just like any other appointment or meeting.
- Create clear boundaries for flexibility
Identify how important your goal is to you and create clear boundaries of where and when you will, or will not, be flexible with occasionally re-arranging things.
- Strengthen your self-belief and confidence
Develop a strong belief that you will be able to achieve your goal and can face any challenge positively and successfully by taking small incremental steps.
- Maintain your focus to keep you on track
Regularly remind yourself of your goal and the reasons why you are pursuing that goal to help you stay focussed and disciplined to do what you need to do.
- Manage your inner chatter to support you
Silence the internal critic and negative chatter by replacing it with positive supportive comments and thoughts. Compare you with you, not against others.
Give yourself a pat on the back and recognise your achievements along the way!
If you are struggling to find the motivation needed to overcome an obstacle, whether it be your weight or any other issue – a life coach could provide the additional support you need.
A life coach specialising in healthy lifestyle and motivation coaching is not there to give you advice or tell you what to do, but instead will help you to develop a structure that will help you to achieve your own goals.
With an extensive library of fact-sheets – including information about health coaching, motivation and personal development – Life Coach Directory provides all of the information needed to help you fulfil your health objectives.
*Based on a survey carried out on Life Coach Directory between August and October 2012.