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What To Do When Things Go 'Pear-Shaped' on your weight loss journey - Part One

This is Part one of a four-part series focusing on what to do when things go a little pear-shaped on your weight loss or healthier lifestyle journey, told from the perspective of my personal experience.

Don't slip of your weight loss or healthier lifestyle journey path
When things are starting to go 'pear shaped' and you're heading in the wrong direction, stop and take stock

I want to share my story with you to demonstrate that even when you’re a healthy weight coach, physiotherapist / physical therapist or other healthcare professional, you can still have things go 'pear shaped' as they say, and start taking on unhealthy habits again. I have ironed a lot of these out now, and am at a really comfortable weight for me (my right hip and knees are happy about that), but I'd be lying if I said I was perfect, I'm far from it!

I'll let you in to a little one is perfect! However, I've learnt what works for me, and how to keep my healthful habits on the right track. It does take time and thought, but it's SO worth it!!!

Keeping on track with weight loss and sustaining the healthier lifestyle progress you've made is such a great feeling!
Keeping on track and sustaining the progress you've made is such a great feeling!

Here's some of the things that have caused me to stray from a healthy lifestyle in the past:

Life Got in the Way

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’d like to share some of what was going on in my life that had me skipping exercise time, missing my regular sleep and eating 'junk food'. I was working so hard at university in the week, then working a total of 24 hours over Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, then back to the uni on the Monday.

Sitting is the new smoking. All work and no play is a recipe for weight loss and health disaster
All work and no play...

I found myself sitting at my desk for many hours a day. In fact, this happened to me a lot over the Covid-19 pandemic with my work as a physiotherapist in the UK NHS (National Health Service) switching to predominantly Telehealth, with back-to-back patients and only a sit-down desk to work from (so glad we have reverted back to normality now!!). I’ve heard it before, and I've spouted it many times before, but I can definitely say that sitting is the new smoking: I felt the effects on my body right away. My back and neck started hurting, my hips got stiff, and my routine workouts started getting shorter and not as intense because I was so exhausted. I was exhausted from moving less!

Normally I like to go for regular walks just to calm my mind and process the day or prep for the day ahead (depending on when I'm walking...ideally both before and after working, even if it's just for five minutes), and those began to disappear as well, in both of the situations I've mentioned above.

Sitting all day leads to sluggishness and tiredness and is a recipe for weight loss goals disaster
Sitting all day leads to sluggishness and tiredness

Self-Preservation Mode Kicks In

At a certain point when a person is under continuous stress, they kick into self-preservation mode. Suddenly they finds themselves in situations where it’s actually appropriate to ask: do I exercise, or do I sleep?

Hint: if you’re ever asking yourself that question:

A) It’s time to take a serious look at your choices / lifestyle,

B) The answer is nearly always sleep.

I’ve always been an eight to nine hours per night kind of woman. During this high-stress period of time, I learned first hand one of the devastating effects of lack of sleep: hunger!! I was hungry all the time and I was craving ultra-processed stuff, and then eating it. It was easier, gave me a 'boost' and then when I felt the inevitable crash coming I'd reach for the ultra-processed stuff again as a quick 'pick-me-up'. This wasn't well thought through, I wasn't listening to my body, I was listening to my fatigue hunger, and I wasn't planning ahead.

'Fatigue Hunger' can lead to increased cravings, searching out high sugar/fat foods and poorer food choices - weight loss disaster!
'Fatigue Hunger' can lead to increased cravings, searching out high sugar/fat foods and poorer food choices

Get Back on the Health Journey

There was one thing that I can honestly say really helped me not gain back the full four stone (48 pounds) I'd lost. I talk to people often about this important step (and many of them don’t have the courage to do it), and now I know why it’s really that important.

This step is: Throw out the old, larger sized clothes!

Throw out your old, larger sized, 'fat' clothes!
Throw out your old, larger sized clothes!

I didn’t have any clothes that would fit me when I started gaining back a few pounds because I'd given them all to charity, and I refused to buy them again. I was still getting used to being a totally different size and shape to where I'd started from. It was important to keep this new identity at the forefront of my brain, and not to slide backwards, which is just so easy to do (Functional Imagery Training can really help here).

I'd have to make time for me, and prioritise my health, regardless of how busy I was. Staying fit, healthy and happy in my body was so important to me, and I'd come so far in a gradual way, I wasn't about to go out and buy a new wardrobe yet again!

Obviously, this may not suit everyone and it may feel like too big of a step at the moment. However, have a think about things that may help you in this situation. What do you think may help keep you from straying too far from your new lifestyle and prevent those old habits coming back?

Please feel free to email me your ideas if you'd like to share, or share in my Facebook community 'The Path To Permanent Weight Loss' to give others ideas and get support when needed.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next month.

Stay tuned, this will be a great weight loss related / healthy habits blog series. Thank you!
Stay tuned, this will be a great weight loss related / healthy habits blog series. Thank you!

Please note: This article is intended to be for educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or replace professional assessment or personalised advice.

I do not hold responsibility for the information on any links to external websites within this article and information within these links/websites may change at any time or no longer be accessible. Any website pages/links added are also for education purposes only.

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