Fatfam to fitfam!

Fatfam to fitfam! Mum and Dad teach me a thing or two

I couldn’t be prouder of my parents.

Over a decade of on and off dieting without results is pretty disheartening. A lot of people fall into a state of mind where they believe there is nothing they can do to lose weight; many give up and tell themselves they can’t do it. EVERYONE can lose weight, sometimes it’s just about finding the right approach.

In light of the BBG Summer Shape-off announcement in April, I staged an intervention for my parents and created a ‘group chat’ to give them concurrent feedback and support for their weight loss – whether they liked it or not!

5 Months down the line, my Mum is 3 stone (20kg) lighter and my Dad is 28lbs (13kg) lighter and they’re still going! The best thing about it is they have had a complete lifestyle change – they are not on a diet, and when they slip up on social occasions they get right back on track the next day. All three of us are confident there is zero chance of returning back to the weight they once were.

So after at least a decade of on and off dieting – what changed? What was different? I actually learned a lot from them as a personal trainer, and can highlight a few key reasons why they are consistently losing weight this time around after coming up short so many times in the past.

1) A support network

Having me checking up on their progress every week and giving advice where I could, made a big difference. Support may come in the form on a personal trainer, online trainer, gym buddy, or even and app or fitbit! Having a sense of accountability is extremely powerful, especially if you can be honest with your trainer – purely so you are more honest with yourself and acknowledge when you slip up so you can adapt accordingly; which takes me to number 2.

2) Be honest with yourself I told my parents to be honest with me, told them to tell me when they felt they were proud of something they had achieved, but also when they had slipped up. If you can get it off your chest and be honest with your trainer about your slip-ups then you’re more likely to be honest with yourself.

I can tell you now – if you lie to your trainer, you’ll have a hard time progressing. It’s EASY to ignore a binge like it never happened. It takes GUTS to acknowledge that you went overboard with maltesers and popcorn in front of the telly on Friday night but it’s SMART to admit it and adjust your diet accordingly and eat a little less the rest of the weekend.

3) Outsource to create time. TIME is the most common excuse people make for being overweight. Not enough TIME to cook or go to the gym. My parents made a few simple changes which gave them more time to focus on their health; they hired a cleaner, they get the exact cooking ingredients for each meal sent directly to their door (via GoFresh), and bought a fitbit. As a result, they spent less time cooking, cleaning, and shopping, and spent MORE time trying to make up their daily step counter via their fitbit. That leads me to number 4.

4) NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) In short – the energy expended doing everything other than eating, sleeping, or sports-like exercise. Most people blame their slow metabolisms when they lose weight slowly on large calorie deficits. That’s because they’re missing a part of the puzzle; they don’t MOVE enough. My parents used to stare at a box on the wall in a hypnotic state watching programs about the lives of people that have zero relevance to their own lives. Now, they are exploring their local area more, walking around, conversing, burning calories, losing weight, enjoying their lives more, becoming healthier… I could go on.

Mum, Dad, take a bow!

Sam Austin

Better Body Group, Sevenoaks