A slimming consultant is advising people to be kinder to themselves as they attempt to shed weight this year.
Lisa Fletcher, who runs the Henlow Slimming World group, says those who want to lose weight for good need to learn how to cope when things go wrong.
A survey of 1,722 slimmers conducted by the organisation found that almost everyone who had tried to lose weight in the past (98%) had experienced a slip-up where they went off-track in a way that they worried would affect their weight loss journey.
After they lapsed, 84% of slimmers automatically criticised themselves and led to comfort eating or giving up on those diets completely. As a result 78% were unsuccessful with their weight loss, with at least 47% gaining weight.
Lisa, who lost 2stone 3.5lb and now helps others in Henlow to shed the pounds, says: “As someone who had struggled with my weight for many years I had tried lots of different diets in the past. Life would always get in the way at some point though and I’d go off track. It would knock my confidence and I’d end up feeling like a failure and like I couldn’t stick at anything. I’d hide myself away under black baggy clothing, to hide my shame as I felt so horrendous the way I looked.
“When you have an unhealthy relationship with food, as I did at the time, comfort eating can feel like the only way to make yourself feel better. I’d turn to chocolates, cakes and ice cream but afterwards I’d feel even more guilty and empty and before long I’d have given up completely.
“Since joining Slimming World my outlook has changed completely. With the support of other people who have experienced the same thing I gradually started to realise that I wasn’t the only one who this happened to. We’re all human and we all have our off days, the important thing is that we’re able to forgive ourselves and draw a line under it.
“Now if I ever have a lapse I’m careful to always talk to myself as I would any of the members of my group – with encouragement, support and without any judgement or blame. And that’s why the support of a group is so important, as by sharing problems and solutions with other people, you realise that you’re really not alone and you have a network of people like you who really understand and care, to help pick you back up when things go wrong. After all, things will often go wrong, and learning to cope with lapses, forgive yourself and get back on track is the key to successful weight loss in the long-term.”
The survey also found that at Slimming World, members had learned how to reduce how critical they are of themselves when things go wrong and have instead become more self-reassuring.
As a result of recognising that they’re only human and applauding their own determination, the research found that Slimming World members are now less likely to comfort eat and more likely to get back on track within a day or two, and more likely to lose weight and keep it off. In the survey, 84% of Slimming World members went on to lose weight after a lapse.