If you have had a diagnosis of obesity, knowing that you have a significant amount of weight to lose can be extremely overwhelming. That big number may loom in front of us and the more we think about it, the less likely it seems that it’s even possible to shift the excess kilograms.
You may have taken medical advice about how to lose weight and even considered drastic measures like weight loss surgery to shift kilos and get better health.
But don’t despair, The Healthy Mummy has helped thousands of mums with obesity and health problems tackle their weight loss, reach a healthy weight and live healthier lives. By making small but significant lifestyle changes and adjusting physical activity and eating habits, you can take control of your weight loss journey and get some great results and health benefits.
We’ve rounded up our top tips on how to start your weight loss journey if you have a lot of weight to lose and remain motivated for the long haul.
Obesity is a complex disease that can be caused by several factors. While it’s indicated by someone who is in an unhealthy body weight range, it’s a disease that can lead to other health problems. It’s usually diagnosed by a doctor or healthcare provider and among other factors like health history and measurements, is often classified as having a body mass index of 30 or greater. Once you understand the extent of obesity, you can determine how much weight you need to lose and what health conditions or risks you already have.
Body fat is not easy to measure directly so is often measured by BMI, or Body Mass Index. This is a measurement that uses a scientific formula to determine a person’s safest, healthiest weight based upon their weight and height. Having a high BMI and diagnosis of obesity can be associated with serious health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease or heart attack, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and cancer.
How To Start Your Weight Loss If You Have A Lot To Lose
1. Change your eating habits and understand calories
Learning healthier eating habits is an integral part of overcoming obesity and losing weight. Over the long term, we believe that steady weight loss at around 500g – 1 kilo per week is the best way to lose weight and the best way to keep it off permanently.
Weight loss programs that set drastic and unrealistic diet changes with restricted calorie intake for rapid weight loss nearly always fail as they’re unlikely to help you keep excess weight off in the long term.
Knowing the number of calories to consume to lose weight can cause confusion as it depends on numerous factors like age, activity levels, current weight and metabolic health.
On the Healthy Mummy plans we don’t generally advocate strict calorie counting as it can be stressful and exhausting to monitor everything you eat and then obsess about the calorie content of everything you eat.
Instead, our focus is on healthy foods that are nutrient-dense – which in turn keep you feeling fuller for longer.
If you are trying to lose weight, it is important to work out your BMR to see the daily calorie intake your own body needs and then work out your body’s daily energy expenditure; you can work out both your BMI and BMR on our online calculators here.
Once you’ve worked out your BMR and daily energy needs you will find it a lot easier to work out your calorie goal and therefore a calorie deficit needed fo weight loss.
One of the BIG reasons our Healthy Mummy plans work is that we make the meal plans sustainable. So for example – unlike many other weight loss programs, we do not set a 1,200 calorie food limit. Our 28 Day Weight Loss Plan is approximately 1,500 calories with daily activity, and you have the flexibility to increase calories or eat fewer calories accordingly if you are hungry or full – or breastfeeding.
The Healthy Mummy doesn’t advocate cutting out any food groups either or focus just on low-calorie foods, instead, the meal plans and recipes contain a healthy balance of high protein, whole grains and whole foods, moderate carbs and good fats from nuts and avocado. The plan is about a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, not short term dieting, that can often lead to weight loss and weight gain cycles.
For more information check out: How many Calories do I need to Lose weight
2. Get moving
Exercise has been proven to speed up weight loss and even without changing what you eat, if you exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week you will almost certainly lose weight. Exercise is also known to release endorphins, which make you feel good, and exercising can also improve your self-confidence as you get fitter and more able-bodied. Exercising also not only helps to improve your fitness levels, it helps to tone your body, so you’ll feel better about the way you look too.
There are many ways for you to gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. If you’re completely new to exercise, just try to move a bit more than you did before. That could mean using the stairs instead of using escalators, or getting off your bus stop one stop earlier than usual.
You could also increase your activity quite easily with your children or a dog – go for a long walk after your dinner, go for a run around the park and have a game of ball, go for a walk with the pram, go swimming, have a play on a games console or just have a dance around your living room.
Once you’re comfortable with moving a little more, you can start to put an exercise regime into place. The best types of exercise for weight loss are long periods of exercise that get your heart rate up and that make you slightly out of breath and slightly sweaty.
The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge exercise program has been designed by our personal trainer JUST FOR MUMS to do AT HOME – even when the kids around – so the exercise sessions are never longer than 30 minutes! Our Express Workouts are just 10 minutes! There are lots of different exercise programs to choose from, like HIIT, Dance Cardio, Boxing and Yoga. All the exercise programs suit different fitness levels, and you can start simple and slow and over time build up your strength and stamina.
3. Changes to Behaviour
One of the biggest hurdles in sustainable weight loss is often unlearning bad habits and triggers that can cause overeating. Perhaps you would emotionally eat, have an addiction to fast food or an issue with portion sizes. Everyone has different challenges when it comes to their own weight management and weight control and it’s important to identify and understand them.
Getting the right support from like-minded people with similar challenges can play a big part in staying on track with your weight loss goals. The Healthy Mummy has an extraordinary community of mums, all on their own health journey’s who support each other every day. It’s like your own personal cheer squad, keeping you focused, empowered and supported every step of the way.
4. Break down the weight loss
If you have severe obesity and have a lot of weight to lose, break it down into workable segments. If you would like to lose 20kg in 12 months, don’t keep telling yourself ‘I need to lose 20kg’. Instead, break this major goal down into a monthly goal of 2.5kg for the year. Doesn’t seem so scary now does it?
You can also set yourself non-weight related goals. For instance, you might commit to no take away for a month; or decide to put four exercise sessions in your diary per week and stick to them. Focus on the small but significant changes that are achievable in the short term.
5. Reward yourself
As part of these smaller goals, set yourself up with some little rewards to treat yourself when you reach them. This will really help you to stay motivated. For instance maybe when you lose the first 5kg you will buy yourself a new pair of workout shorts or get a pedicure.
This can be much more fun as you can enjoy the high of achieving your smaller goal rather than waiting to celebrate your major goal when that could be over a year away.
6. Use the scales less often
For a lot of our mums, it has been helpful to only weigh-in every couple of weeks or even once a month.
Weighing yourself daily can set you up in a negative cycle of ‘today is a bad day because I put on 800g since yesterday’. In fact, your body can fluctuate wildly due to things like fluid retention (say if you’ve eaten something salty); if you have consumed more fluid than usual; hot temperatures outside or air conditioning inside, which can cause dehydration; or even hormonal changes that naturally occur in your body.
7. Get support
Joining the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is a great way to keep you focused on your goals. It’s all in the palm of your hand in the Healthy Mummy App, which gives you monthly customisable meals plans and exercise programs and helps you track your progress every step of the way. It even has a shopping list so you can make sure you have it all on hand.
Each month we have heaps of new family and budget-friendly recipes to add to our library of over 4500 healthy recipes in the app. There’s also a different challenge theme each month like 5 Ingredients and Under, or Sugar Detox which means you won’t get bored while on your weight loss journey!
You also have thousands and thousands of other mums on hand who are doing the challenge with you, as well as the support of our Motivating Mums who are there to answer any questions you might have along the way.
8. Find a buddy
Try to find a friend to be your weight loss buddy, and you can keep each other motivated and inspired. This could be a work colleague, a neighbour, your partner, a relative or a good friend.
Or why not jump onto our Facebook support group and see if you can find a buddy there to help keep you honest? You can send each other private messages or even texts if you felt that this could be helpful.
9. Use several measurements of success
As we all know, sometimes the scales are not our friend (and sometimes they are just plain nasty). So having other ways to measure your success can be a powerful motivator. For instance you can take your measurements and update these on a monthly basis.
Many mums find that even though the scales haven’t had a huge shift, they’ve lost centimetres off their waist and that can give you a really big lift in the motivation side of things.
You might also take your photo in the same clothes and same position once a month and use that as a way to see how far you’ve come.
10. Banish the term ‘diet’
Instead of feeling as though you are on a diet (which has connotations that it’s something you are only doing for a set period) think of your new way of eating as a focus on a healthy lifestyle instead.
For instance, you might decide that you will reduce your processed food intake, limit added sugar, or up the amount of leafy greens you eat each day.
Making commitments like these to improve your health will mean that the positive results will naturally follow.
For more tips on how to start your weight loss if you have a lot to lose, check out our Top motivational tips for getting started.
Be INSPIRED & MOTIVATED by other mums with obesity who turned their lives around and are smashing their goals!
This obese mum overhauled her lifestyle, losing 20 kilos and no longer needs insulin injections.
At 115.9kgs and a size 22, Melissa had some serious health issues, including high blood pressure and also required insulin injections. After a spell in hospital, Melissa knew she had to make a change to her lifestyle. She joined the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and hasn’t looked back.
In just five months, Melissa has lost 21. 7kgs and is now 94.2 kgs and a size 14. And she’s determined to keep going.
She says “My goal weight for now is 75kg and I know I can do it!”
“There have been so many health benefits since losing weight. I was on 2 different blood pressure tablets and insulin injections. Now the only tablets I require to take are iron tablets.”
Due to Melissa’s healthy eating and exercising, her the blood sugars were stabilized enough to stop the insulin injections. Her Doctors are still closely monitoring her blood sugars and blood pressure but her levels are now normal.
Melissa says “Thanks to the Healthy Mummy and exercise I can lead a normal life again.”
Like many obese people, Kim had tried all the different diets out there, low carb, high fat, over-the-counter pills, over the years she’d tried them all.
Obese most of her adult life, Kim found all the diets she tried just unsustainable. So she would give up.
All that changed eighteen months ago when she found The Healthy Mummy. She’s now 40 kilos down and has no intention of stopping here.
Chapelle had always struggled with her weight and for most of her adult life was obese. She knew she needed to make a change so joined The Healthy Mummy.
“My starting weight was 111kg and today I’m 86kg. I have lost 47cm alone off of my belly.
How!? This is something I get asked a lot and and I been healthy eating and exercising, walking as well as using The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipes and Healthy Mummy smoothies.”