I spent a lifetime on a diet before I finally found a sustainable method to lose the pounds and keep them off. Like many, I fell foul to the myriad of weight loss myths and I thought I’d tried and knew it all.

Angela Cox writes exclusively for Female First

Angela Cox writes exclusively for Female First

Having now lost a lot of weight, I realise that there are some missing gaps in the deluge of information available and I want to share what I have learnt. These are the things that have taken me by surprise:

1. You might have to reconsider your style: The outfits that suit a larger frame, don’t always suit a smaller one. I speak to many women who have had to radically change their style after weight loss and this includes being brave enough to try new cuts of clothing, moving from the boot-cut to a skinny jean or from loose tops to fitted shirts for example.

2. Your shoes won't fit: Your shoe collection may be your pride and joy (probably because you can always guarantee that shoes will fit even when your favourite dress won’t, but take heed, losing the pounds could well result in you needing to invest in a brand-new closet full of shoes. It’s a nice problem to have if you love to shop, but not the best if your beloved Louboutin heels must be donated.

3. There's something called the Whoosh Effect: When you lose weight, body fat becomes ‘squishy’ for a period which can lead you to feel worse than you did when you were larger. Persevere, and you will be suddenly rewarded when the skin tightens, making you look slimmer and creating a reduction in weight on the scales. It’s called the Whoosh Effect and it refers to the process of replacing burnt fat with water molecules. After a while, the body expels the water, rendering you leaner.

4. People will tell you that you don't need to lose weight: Everybody will have an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do. One of the interesting discoveries when you are losing weight, is how many people will tell you that you don’t need to lose any at all. This is often because they are used to you as you are and probably love you this way.

5. You can't target inch loss: You desperately want to lose inches off your thighs and try as you might, the inches melt away from your chest and waist and the lower half doesn’t budge. Grrrrrrr. Some parts of the body take much longer than others to shrink and often it’s the parts we want to affect most of all that take the longest time to change. It’s just the way it is.

6. Weight training may cause weight gain: We are conditioned to believe that weight loss is the only way we can shrink our bodies. But, there is more than one way to skin a cat! If you incorporate regular weight training into your routine, you may find yourself frustrated at the lack of movement on the scales. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, but because muscle is denser, it means a 12 stone woman who does weight-training can be a few dress sizes smaller than one who doesn’t. It’s time to throw away the ‘loss’ mentality and focus on the ‘gains’.

7. It can take a long time for your mind to catch up with your body: A bigger person can look in the mirror and see a smaller person and then as the weight starts to fall off, the reverse happens. It’s a weird phenomenon which sees the brain taking a lot longer to recognise the new svelte figure. You will walk past a shop window and catch a glimpse of a stranger and then realise this slim silhouette belongs to you. You may pick clothes in much larger sizes than you need and feel shocked when they hang from your frame. This is the ‘watch out’ zone as this period can often lead to a person losing more weight than is required.

8. If you think you'll be miserable without ice cream and pizza, you will be: The premise of what we think we become has never been more prevalent. If you want to keep the body you worked so hard for, it means not indulging in too many treats. If you approach this with the mindset of restriction and missing out, that’s how you’ll feel. Instead, think of it as choosing healthy foods that nourish your body and having the occasional treat and you will maintain a happy balance.

9. If you're a size 10 in one shop, you'll be a size 14 in another: So frustrating but very true! You finally fasten the button on a size ten pair of jeans and leap into giddy overdrive to purchase more. And then. Boom! You can’t even fasten the button of a size 12 pair. How did you gain so much weight in 5 minutes? It cannot be! Of course, it can’t, but sadly nobody told our retailers this and so they cut their cloth with huge variations. This sees your elation overshadowed by disappointment. The best approach is to recognise that the size in the label really doesn’t matter and simply buy the items that look amazing.

10. Sustaining takes as much effort as transforming: You’ve made it to the summit, you’ve reached your goal. That’s all the hard work done right? Errrr, wrong! To remain at these dizzy heights takes as much effort as getting there in the first place. This is your new normal and you’ve got this!

11. It's all so worth it: Despite some of the challenges, pitfalls and lessons, there really isn’t anything better than being happy in your skin. Every ounce of effort is worth it and so are you.

Angela’s book Enough is priced £10.99 available from Amazon. To find out more go to: www.angela-cox.co.uk


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