The P-word...

Planning, that’s the name of the game. Fail to plan and plan to fail... you’ve heard it all before, but never was a truer word spoken when it comes to weight loss and maintenance.

And it’s a lengthy old process.

I have clients making weekly plans for food, shopping, activities and exercise. I also want to see them planning for the following day, for lapses and time-management. Yes, planning to plan! My husband nearly fell over laughing when he caught me doing this, but really it is an essential part of the process – when exactly are you going to sit down and, in my case, devote some time to fine-tuning your exercise regime?

Now this may seem very mundane, but it works. It focuses the mind and makes new ways of eating or living that much more real. It fast-tracks you to ditching the old habits and acts as a framework for the new ones until they become habits in their own right.

But, like most things in life, there’s an art to it. Plans that set overly ambitious targets are doomed to fail and take the planner down with them. On the other hand, plans that are realistic are a source of focus and are empowering, bringing a real feeling of can-do to the proceedings. There’s a fine line between organising yourself and reaching for the stars.

So this is the sharp end of planning, but there are other soft-focus ways of bringing about change too. One of my clients produced a fabulous mood board as a source of inspiration. Up it went on the end of her kitchen cupboard as a constant reminder of where her new lifestyle is taking her and what her aspirations are.

Similarly, visualisation is a powerful way of changing outcomes. See your outcome in detail – what will you be wearing when you have lost the weight next summer? Who will you be spending time with? What will you be doing/eating/drinking? Really go to town on the detail because this is what makes it work. Repeat, repeat, repeat: sense it, taste it, touch it, smell it and so on. (On a more down-to-earth note, I use this technique to get me out of bed to walk on days when I can hear the rain pummelling the windows – which route will I take? What will I be wearing? Gloves? Hat? Waterproof trousers? What will I have on my feet, walking boots or trainers? What will I see, hear, smell? How will I feel. It works every time.)

So yes, the P-word… don’t hold back, we all need it. Get a feel for it, slot it into your life and see it for what it really is: a very useful tool and fast-track to success!


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