This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time, but ever since I've arrived home for a visit after losing weight my friends here keep asking me how I lost the weight, and what tips I could share with them. It’s a tricky one to write because I don’t want to come off as bragging I just figured that maybe someone reading my blog might benefit from the tips and tricks I picked up along my weightloss journey. Last August I reached my goal weight after losing approx. 55 lbs with weightwatchers but these tips aren’t just for people doing weightwatchers they’re applicable to anyone starting out or struggling through their own weightloss journey.
1) Make a list of why you want to lose weight:
My list had things like “so I can wear a nice dress to my graduation”, “so I can look on the outside how I feel on the inside” “so I can wear the kind of clothes I really like rather than those that fit” and “so I can learn to run”.
2) Make a second list – this time name all of the things that your weight stops you from doing and how it negatively affects your life
For me this list had things like “not being able to wear skinny jeans or high boots”, “not being able to walk up stairs without getting horribly out of breath”, “I hate getting my photo taken and do everything I can to avoid them”, "I worry that my weight is making me really unhealthy", "I feel unattractive", " I can barely close the seat buckle when flying",
These lists are important because once you even get half-way through your journey you'll feel so much better than you did before and it becomes harder to remember just how bad you once felt....this can be dangerous because it makes you feel invincible. Keep these lists and remember than you need to keep going so that you don't become the old you again.
3) Take before pictures and measurements:
This is such a great motivational tool and so many people never do it. Even if you never, ever intend to share you photos with anyone you need to have a photo and your starting measurements so that you can really see and appreciate just how far you’ve come. I don’t even recognise myself in my before pictures – they look like a different person to me. The measurements are even more important than the photos though, in my opinion, because at many occasions the scales lie. You know, you’ve had a good couple of weeks but the scale says otherwise – whenever this happened to me I’d re-take my measurements and everytime I would be smaller than I was before even if it was just by a little bit.
4) Don’t get obsessed with numbers
Your goal weight, the amount you lost last week, the amount you gained this week, the amount other people lose… it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and obsessed with comparing yourself to others and holding yourself to an unattainable standard. Try to forget about the numbers an focus on how much better you feel. The weight will go down.
5) Learn the power of the word NO
I can tell you from personal experience that once family friends and co-workers realise you are watching what you eat they we be simultaneously happy and proud for you and also out to secretly sabotage you. Most of them won’t even realise they’re doing it! You’ll be urged over and over again to have another drink or to take a piece of cake because it will make them feel better about eating/drinking. If you don’t want it then say NO and don’t be embarrassed or pressured into throwing your eating plan out the window. At the end of the day you’re the only one who can lose the weight for you.
6) Change the habits you can’t break
I’m a major chocoholic! Having a chocolate with a cup of tea after lunch was my jam! Without it, I felt so deprived that I would be craving chocolate all day and then cave and end up eating way more than I wanted to. I tried to break this tea+chocolate habit so hard until I admitted defeat and realised I was fighting the wrong battle. I switched out my full-size chocolate bar for a little mini-funsize one instead and I was so much better off. I was eating less chocolate while still indulging – win-win
7) Write everything down
Whatever plan you intend to use to lose weight will give you guidelines to follow – for weightwatchers this was points/day that you could eat – if I tracked the points in my head I nearly always forgot about the odd slice of bread or the little piece of chocolate cake from the office party but all these bites add up to quite a few missing calories at the end of the day. Writing what you eat down on paper or with an app will keep you accountable to yourself
8) Start to move a little more
Some people are suprised when they hear that I barely did any exercise during my weightloss journey, at least not in the tradional hard-core cardio gym-type workout – after I’d lost the bulk of the weight I started running but at the start I found that the best thing for me was walking. I walked my dog a lot, I walked up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. I walked to my colleague’s office instead of sending an email. I started small and then increased it over time. It was simple manageable and free.
9) Plan what you’re going to eat
There is no way to consistently watch what you eat, whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain it, without planning. This can seem like a huge amount of work at first but it’s a habit that is worth its weight in gold. Bring your lunch to work so that you don’t have to face restaurant choices or canteen food. If you have a meal/night out planned then work out in advance exactly what you are going to eat and drink. Then stick to that plan. One tip is to order first before you hear what everyone else is getting that way you’re less tempted to have a last minute change of heart. Another good eating out tip is to ask for a box when your meal comes out because the portions are always too big. Place the extra bit into the box before you start eating and you’ll not only eat less but you’ll save money by creating two meals out of one.
10) Reward your hard work
But don’t reward yourself with food. Food is not a reward. Reward yourself with things like a manicure because you lost 5 lbs, a new top because you’re now a size smaller, a bubble bath because you had a hard day but didn’t turn to food….etc. Instead of using chocolate as a reward I made it a normal albeit very small part of my normal every day food intake that way I learn to break the association between chocolate and emotional reward.
These are just a few of the best tips that I can offer anyone else going through a weighloss journey or trying to maintain their weight– these are the things that worked for me but I know that there must be so many other helpful tips that you could offer people too – so feel free to share them and we can all help each other.