Category Archives for "Motivation"

7 Essential Blogs to Help You with Weight Maintenance

This is a guest post from Mary Ward.

Many people look at the weight loss, but neglect to think of just how hard maintaining it all can be. For many, that can be the biggest struggle and obstacle to overcome. Here we look at some blogs of real life accounts and journeys of those going through such activities and how they make it all work.

1.    Diet Blog

The whole purpose of this blog is not just for the individual that wants to lose the weight, but who wants to keep it off. This blog is based on a community of people who understand how hard it is not just to take off the weight, but to keep it off and the networking and tips can be invaluable for this segment. A must read!

2.    Tales of a (Recovering) Disordered Eater

She offers such a real life account that you can relate no matter where you are at in your weight loss or maintenance cycle. Her mission is to bring awareness and reality to what it is to maintain weight loss efforts and she is very real about the struggles and challenges as well as the accomplishments one can feel.

3.    My Angle on Weight Loss

Don’t let the title fool you as this is a very real person who has lost their weight but who is honest about just how hard it is not to go back to old habits. As many people feel that the struggle ends when you lose the weight, he offers a real accounting of just how hard the maintenance phase can truly be.

4.    Another Weight Maintenance Blog

She has found her solace in yoga and practices it to keep herself sane and active. She offers one of the most real blogs out there stating just how difficult maintenance can be and how she feels it’s harder than the active weight loss in many different ways. She is also quite interesting as she chronicles her everyday adventures.

5.    The Road to Beautiful

Her words are as inspiring to other readers as they are motivational, and she is very down to earth. She repeats mantras about not giving up and is very honest about the struggles that she keeps with maintaining and oftentimes having to get back on the weight loss bandwagon. She wants her words to count and they really do!

6.    Hungry Hungry Hip Girl

She’s lost the weight, put it back on, and now struggles somewhere in the middle working towards proper maintenance. She speaks to her everyday adventures, the necessity to keep up a workout routine, and how all of this affects her and the self esteem she works so hard for. A normal girl with very inspirational words!

7.    Taking Back Control

This is all about nourishment for the soul as much as the body because here you can see how she struggles to believe that she’s beautiful in spite of all her hard work. If you are looking for a bit of inspiration, you are sure to find it here.

Mary Ward blogs about various job issues in the health care field, including how to study in CNA courses online.


Looking for weight-loss inspiration?

I’ve just been on holiday (that’s “vacation” to US readers) for the last week … enjoying long walks, castles, and various bumpy bus rides in Northumberland (north-east of England). Oh, and enjoying rather a lot of cake and ice-cream…

It’s back into sensible eating this week, and sometimes a dose of encouragement and inspiration can help me get over that end-of-holiday feeling. So I was delighted to find out that The Office Diet has been included on a list of “Top 50 Incredibly Inspiring Weight-Loss Blogs“.

If your motivation’s at a bit of a low ebb, why not check out some of the other great blogs on that list?


What’s your weight loss motivation?

With any big goal that takes daily effort, you need to stay motivated. This is especially crucial when you’re trying to change your lifestyle to lose weight or get fit.

Spend five minutes today thinking about why you want to lose weight (or maintain your current weight, or get fitter). And don’t feel bad if your motivations aren’t all “worthy” ones. Being desperately keen to fit back into those jeans you wore as a teenager just might be the thing that keeps you on track when the chocolate cookies are calling your name!

Do you…

  • Want to lose weight for a special occasion? (Mark it on the calendar, and think about how great you’ll feel on the day! Don’t try to rush things, though. Maybe you can’t lose 100 lbs by Christmas 2009, but Christmas 2010 might be a realistic goal.)
  • Want to get fitter to take part in an event? If you’re struggling to stick to your exercise routine, how about looking for a bike ride, walk or run that you could take part in? It doesn’t have to be the London Marathon – but make it something that challenges you.
  • Want to maintain your current figure? Focus on all the things you love about how you look now: I really like being able to find clothes that fit (and suit) me in any shop. I also like being fit enough to do plenty of walking and cycling.

If you’re struggling to stay motivated, one way to give yourself an extra boost is to use your goal to help someone else. I recently received an email about the Pound for Pound challenge where Americans can sign up with their weight loss goal and track their progress. For every pound you lose, 10 cents (enough for one pound of food) is donated to a food bank to help families in your area who might otherwise go hungry.

(You can also donate directly, or collect Pound For Pound lids and seals from specially-marked General Mills products.)

For those whose goal is to get fitter, why not find a charity bike ride (such as the London to Paris Big Issue one) or a run which you could do to raise money for those in need?

Whether your motivations are a little bit “selfish” (like “I want to impress my relatives with how much slimmer I am, next Christmas”) or utterly selfless (“I’m training as hard as I can for this marathon so I can make lots of money for charity”), keep them in mind. Next time you’re tempted to have a second slice of cake, or to skip your planned workout, you’ll find that you’re that bit stronger.


Review of Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development for Smart People – how does it apply to dieters?

One of the bloggers who I’ve been reading for a long time (over two years now) is Steve Pavlina. In fact, it was his articles that first inspired me to start The Office Diet – so this blog’s very existance is probably owed to him!

As you can imagine, then, I was delighted (in an over-excited fan girl sort of way) when Steve announced that he had a book coming out. I duly snapped up a copy from Amazon as soon as it was available in the UK, and read it cover-to-cover in the space of a few days.

So, what’s Personal Development for Smart People (PDfSP) about, and why should dieters get themselves a copy?

Overview of Personal Development for Smart People

Perhaps the easiest way to start a review about PDfSP is to explain that it’s quite different from many other “self-help” style books. My frustration with these books in the past is that they seem to trot out a series of fairly common-sense ideas, along with the occasional trite maxim – there’s rarely anything in them which gives me a new flash of insight about any life problems I’m having.

PDfSP, though, is an extremely in-depth and well-thought-through take on personal development. It’s clear that Steve invested a huge amount of time in thinking about this book, rather than just writing it. The first part is quite abstract, dealing with seven principles for “growth” in all areas of your life. Steve presents this as a diagram, with three “core” principles (Truth, Love and Power) combining to form the secondary principles (Oneness, Authority and Courage), and all six of these forming “Intelligence”.

The second part of the book deals with the nitty-gritty of applying each of these seven principles to different areas, such as “Career”, “Money” and “Health”:

Keep your fitness routine simple and direct. Don’t overcomplicate your life with fancy or expensive exercise equipment; and don’t mistake manufactured supplements, powders, and shakes for a healthy, natural diet. Here’s a simple rule of thumb that will save you a lot of money: if it comes in a can, bottle or canister, you don’t need it.
– from Health and Courage

I personally liked the abstract, almost quite academic approach, and felt that it gave the book a coherence and structure that many standard “self-help” books lack.

What I liked most about Personal Development for Smart People

A few things stood out for me about this book, that made it well worth the money:

  • Steve’s style is extremely motivating. He’s challenging at times, but in an inspiring way (not like an Army boot camp instructor or anything). Just reading PDfSP made me feel energised and encouraged in my health goals – and my other life goals.
  • The book is detailed, in depth and packed with material, not fluffed out with cute cartoons, quizzes, and so on.
  • Steve presents some genuinely new ideas and ways of thinking (new to me, at least!) My post a couple of weeks ago about Set goals which change your life NOW was sparked off by reading Steve’s words on goals.
  • This is a book that you could return to time and time again. I read it through quite fast (I tend to be greedy when it comes to books – and chocolate…) but I want to go back and work through the chapters slowly, taking some notes and doing the exercises along the way.

I also liked the way that Steve is looking for “principles” of growth, so that his advice can be applied to any area of life. So often, self-help books seem aimed at putting a sticking-plaster over the holes in one part of our life, whilst not providing any help with other problem areas. As part two of PDfSP demonstrates, Steve’s principles can be applied to a number of areas, from “Money” to “Health” to “Relationships”.

Steve is also very honest about his own experiences, particularly ones which might not be considered especially glowing! His Introduction opens with:

Do you remember the exact moment you first became interested in personal development? I certainly do. It happened in January 1991 while I was sitting in a jail cell. I’d just been arrested for felony grand theft. This wasn’t my first run-in with the law, so I knew I was in trouble. I was 19 years old.

What I didn’t like about Personal Development for Smart People

Enough with the good – what’s the bad stuff? On the whole, very little! There were just a few aspects of PDfSP that I found didn’t really work for me:

  • Steve places a lot of importance on fitting everything into a neat structure (here, the seven principles). I felt that in some cases, the principles weren’t sufficiently different (I kept getting muddled between “power” which is one of the primary three, and “authority” which is the expression of “power” plus “truth”), and sometimes the structure felt a little forced. Anyone with a strong maths or science background, though, might find this a refreshing approach to self-help.
  • I’m a committed Christian, and whilst I try to stay open minded (and certainly do my best to respect other people’s views and beliefs), I did find Steve’s chapter on “Spirituality” hard to agree with. Again, this is not exactly a criticism of the book, more just reflective of what I brought to it as a reader.

Should you buy Personal Development for Smart People?

Whether you’ve got a shelf-full of self help books, or whether the idea of self-help makes you grimace, I think this book could be very valuable. Why not at least download the free sample chapter from Steve’s site, to see if it might be for you?

If you do like it, you can buy it here:


What are you thankful for?

In the US tomorrow, it’ll be Thanksgiving, and although I’m in the UK, I think having a day focused on gratitude is a great idea.

Whether or not you’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think about what you’re grateful for – especially when it comes to your body, your physical health and your diet.

These are just a few areas you might like to think about:

Being thankful for your health

I don’t know what your personal circumstances are. You may be reading The Office Diet because you have a medical condition that predisposes you to being overweight. You may be suffering from stress or depression, or you may have severe food allergies. But I imagine that, on the whole, you readers are a pretty healthy bunch. You have access to medical care, you get sufficient nutrients from what you eat to keep you well, and you’re knowledgeable enough to know how to take care of your body (even if, like me, you sometimes slip up in practice!)

Even if you’re not currently as healthy as you’d like to be, be thankful for what you do have – and be thankful that you have the power and self-awareness to take positive steps to improve your health.

Being thankful for your physical ability and strength

If you’re like me, with two left feet and a distinct lack of co-ordination, you might feel rather a long way from being the world’s best sportsman/woman. Notice the way your body feels after exercise, though: do you have a satisfying glow of strength and achievement? You might not be as fit, strong or active as you’d like – but your body is an amazing piece of equipment, resilient and with an impressive ability to get fit and strong through a moderate amount of exercise.

What activities can you do now that you perhaps couldn’t do, through lack of physical ability, a year, or two years ago? I’m certainly not claiming any great prowess in the gym, but compared to myself a few years ago, I’m a lot fitter and stronger!

Being thankful for your job

One of the focuses of The Office Diet over the past year has been on the “office” part – I know that many of you are employees in 8-4 or 9-5 type jobs. As a former full-time office worker myself, I know that it’s sometimes hard to be thankful for your job! You might feel that without the stress, or the long hours, or the boredom of your job, you’d be much better placed to suceed in your diet.

Thanksgiving is a great time to focus on the positive aspects of your job. That could be simply the fact that you have a job, in the current economic climate.
But if you can, go further, and list some of the things (however small) that you enjoy about your work day.

Being thankful that you’re self-aware

Something I know about everyone reading this is that you’re interested in living a healthy lifestyle that nurtures your mind and body – good for you! You’re not succumbing to the junk-food and sloth-like habits that many people adopt without even bothering to question them. Even if your health, your fitness and your weight aren’t yet what you want, you’re on the right path.

Be thankful that you’ve got this self-awareness, and that along with it, you’ve got the willingness to change. The fact that you’re reading this says a lot about you: you’re someone who cares about your health and who knows that a few lifestyle tweaks are enough to pay dividends for years to com.

What are you thankful for?

Try to find just five minutes this week (maybe during a dull meeting, in your lunch hour, or on a coffee break) to scribble a list of things you’re thankful for. Make sure you include at least one thing about your body, at least one thing about your eating habits, and at least one thing about your exercise. They don’t have to be big (“I’m thankful that I can now walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath” is fine), but do try to find something for all these aspects of your healthy living journey.

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled day. And you hereby have my permission to enjoy yourself without thinking once about calories – one day won’t ruin your diet (just get straight back on the wagon on Friday).

Don’t forget that you can get email updates from The Office Diet straight to your inbox. Just pop your email address in the box on the top right of this page.


Office diet clubs and groups

Wish you didn’t have the day job? Convinced you’d do better if you could just get away from the pressures of work? Think again! You can make office life a positive influence when it comes to eating healthily and losing weight by joining – or starting – a workplace slimming group.

Here in the UK, Weight Watchers has announced a scheme to start clubs in workplaces, called, imaginatively enough “At Work”. (In the US, this has been going for a while.)

Advantages to an office diet group

The office can be full of temptations and pitfalls for the unwary dieter. Whether it’s the buffet at a meeting, the colleagues who (unwittingly or otherwise) sabotage your diet, or the effects of stress, it’s easy to pile on the pounds whilst at work.

Being part of a diet, health or weight-watching group, then, could make all the difference. Having the support and encouragement of workmates who share your goals can be a huge boost to motivation – very much needed when it comes to turning down a cookie during that mid-afternoon energy slump. And the occasional element of competition might not go amiss either; if you know you’re having a weigh-in on Monday, your office diet club might boost your self control even when you’re not at work over the weekend…

Some dieting groups like to use slimming as a way to donate to charity, perhaps with each member giving $1 or £1 each week that they lose weight, and paying a “penalty” of $2 or £2 for no loss or a gain.

As well as the support of colleagues, the plans used for work-based clubs are more likely to fit into your lifestyle — and the meetings can be easily arranged during a lunch-hour or straight after work.

The Weight Watchers AT WORK program is a group participation program designed to support the special weight loss needs and concerns of working people.
UFC – Classes – Healthy Living

Weight Watchers at Work is a respected, popular, successful campus program. Hundreds of UVM employees have successfully lost weight and reached their goals since the Weight Watchers at Work started five years ago. The convenience of having the weekly meetings on campus has enabled busy employees to take advantage of this successful program.
Weight Watchers at Work, The University of Vermont

(Possible) Disadvantages to an office diet group

So what are the drawbacks to dieting along with your office-mates? Usually, all will go well, but you might want to be prepared to deal with any problems that do arise. These might be:

  • Some people getting too competitive and being insensitive towards members of the group who haven’t lose weight.
  • Coworkers who are overweight but not in the group getting pressured to join. (They may have health issues that mean they can’t diet, or they may simply be happy with their size – either way, it’s not fair for an overzealous diet group to make them feel uncomfortable.)
  • Dieting talk taking over the office, and boring everyone else to tears!

In general, so long as the group members are sensitive towards one another and to other colleagues, it’s likely that an office diet group will be a supportive, fun and motivational experience for all involved. Many office dieters have commented that sharing something personal like weight concerns is a good way to feel closer to colleagues and to get to “really know” people.

Talk your boss into it

Could you get your employer on board, either with Weight Watchers or with a similar club-based plan? The Daily Telegraph (a national UK newspaper) notes that:

With 18 million working days lost annually to weight-related illnesses, there is an incentive for companies to join the NHS in tackling the obesity crisis.

The work-based weight loss clubs which require a fee (such as Weight Watchers) are great ones to encourage your boss to pay part or all of the costs for! If you do decide to go for this route, try getting together a few like-minded colleagues who can help you persuade the management team that healthier, fitter employees are happier and harder-working.

And if you do start a group, make sure you get all the others to bookmark The Office Diet. You can even sign up to free RSS updates and/or email updates (pop your address in the top right corner).

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