My husband died two and a half years ago, and I have had many emotional problems since. I have put on a lot of weight and I still keep eating for comfort. Because of my weight I have got very unfit. I am desperate to do something about it, but I can’t get motivated.
It can be a long struggle to put your life back together after such an emotional catastrophe. If you have not already done so, you might consider bereavement counselling – there’s no time limit to how long grieving lasts and even after quite a while it can help to talk to a sympathetic professional. Your GP should be able to give you contact details.
I mention this because you say you are “comfort eating”, so it is a good idea to try and tackle the “comfort” bit (which is about your emotional upset) as well as the “eating” bit of the problem.
To lose the excess weight and get fit, you will need both to eat differently and do more. Use all the help you can to keep your motivation high.
Join a weight-watchers’ group or team up with a friend who also seriously wants to shed the pounds. Many people find it easier to follow a set of rules and it’s extremely useful to have someone to talk to in those moments when your resolve is wobbling.
Make yourself a few mini-goals every morning – just for that day. These should include a food goal and an activity /exercise goal. It’s really important to appreciate that simply by doing more you are using up calories, even if it’s not “exercise”. Whether it’s amateur dramatics or language classes, bridge evenings or country dancing, more activity fills up time, takes your mind off your problems and energises you.
If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer for three months. This is the best possible way of keeping your exercise discipline and motivation high, giving you a terrific jump start.
If that’s not possible and the gym doesn’t appeal, consider community exercise classes. Your local council’s leisure department or website should have details (including weight management classes). Swimming is another brilliant calorie-burner and gets you fit without making you feel really uncomfortable. You can tick off the lengths in the calming atmosphere of the pool.
Find reasons to go up and downstairs at home and walk every day (can you offer to walk your neighbour’s dog?). Each day, make your goal just a little more than the previous one.
Once you have worked out a routine for your exercise sessions (at least three a week), stick to it religiously and let nothing get in the way.
Results will not come overnight, but they will happen. And here’s the most important tip: if you lapse, wake up the next morning as though it didn’t happen. No recriminations, no regrets — just keep on track and refuse to let little slip-ups knock you off-course. Good luck!