It's all well and good wanting to lose weight so you can become a fitter and healthier version of yourself, but the most important thing is to ensure you do it sensibly. And that's exactly what 23-year-old Chloe Longstaff, from Nuneaton in Warwickshire, did after she was asked to be bridesmaid at her brother Adam's wedding.
Before the wedding, 5ft 4ins Chloe weighed over 17 stone. A self-confessed pizza lover, she would eat at least three large pizzas per week, as well as binging on other fast foods and alcohol. But in July 2014, Chloe received the wake-up call she needed when she learned her bridesmaid dress would have to be altered so she could fit into it.
Comparing herself to the other bridesmaids, and feeling like she'd look inadequate next to them in the wedding photos, Chloe kicked herself into action. But instead of trying any of the 'miracle measures' to lose weight ("I have not had any weight loss surgery, taken any ‘magic’ pills or shortcuts," she wrote in a blog post) she knew she had to change her whole lifestyle for the better. And it certainly worked: now, three years later, the marketing executive has lost 7 stone and intends to continue her healthier lifestyle permanently.
Swapping her once-beloved junk food for a healthy, high protein nutrition plan (and even managing to find a protein pizza from MuscleFood which satisfied her cravings while still being good for her), Chloe also began exercising, gradually starting out with walks and eventually working up to going regularly to the gym. And that's as far as her weight loss 'secret' goes.
Writing on a blog post, the young woman explained why she doesn't like the terminology 'diet' when it comes to losing weight. "To me, a diet gives the impression of a short term fix, possibly before a holiday or other occasion when people want to feel good before going away," said Chloe.
"While a quick-fix diet may provide you with a quick weight loss in a short amount of time, it’s likely that all the weight lost will be gained very easily and very quickly. A diet also has a negative stigma attached to it, for example I often hear people say ‘I can’t have that I’m on a diet’, or ‘I have to eat salad because I’m on a diet’
"Restriction or banning of your favourite foods can lead to a relapse and binge eating. My advice is eat healthy, get active, drink water and enjoy your favourite treats in moderation – [taking] the 80/20 view – so eat your veggies and protein but if you want a cookie, have it!" she wrote.
And the attitude Chloe has taken towards weight loss - to do it slowly, sensibly, and for the long-term - has certainly worked for her. But it wasn't just making physical changes that made all the difference; she also had to adapt her mindset.
"Having self belief makes you far more likely to stick to your plan and achieve your goal. Additionally, having the ability to pick yourself up after a bad day is important, as an emotional eater myself, I understand the temptation of going home after a bad day to binge eat in order to feel better," she explained.
But sharing perhaps the most important lesson she's learned throughout the whole process, Chloe reminds us to "be kind to yourself".
"Tell yourself you can overcome it because you are strong," she wrote.
For more advice on how to adapt to a healthier lifestyle long-term, read Chloe's blog post in full.
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