Today marks a year since I took serious action against my weight issues. On April 15, 2010 I weighed 199.0 pounds. As of today my weight is 159.8 which means in a year I’ve lost 39.2 lbs. I’m very happy with that and am looking forward to losing the rest of my weight in the coming months. In honor of my year long progress I thought I would post some tips that I find have worked for me over the years.
1. Water Intake: This is one of the most important tips I can give and has benefits on all levels. When we do not drink water our body retains water and holds on to it. So as strange as it sounds we actually need to drink more water in order to rid our body of excess water. In addition to drinking water for the benefits of weight loss it is also great for your skin. It is recommended that one drink 64 ozs of water a day. I have a 32 oz bottle that I carry with me almost everywhere. I fill it up and drink it on the way to work, and all through my day. I also replenish it before I leave work and drink it on the way home and during dinner. I really drink anything else for my thirst. I do drink a glass of milk sometimes and on rare occasions if I get a hankering I will have a diet soda but for the most part I prefer water.
2. Keep on Schedule: One of the worst things you can do is skip meals. Skipping meals for me sends signals to my brain that I’m hungry, when I get hungry I actually start debating in my head about eating something I shouldn’t vs something healthy. It never fails, if I skip meals or snacks I tend to make the incorrect choices. My eating on a pretty regular schedule you are retraining your body signals, and if you eat before you are hungry your body never gives off that signal of “hey feed me”. Usually by the time it does your resistance is already low.
3. Eat More Often not Less: Eating three meals a day is the old way of life. I highly recommend eating 5 small meals or even 6 a day. My eating habits consist of a breakfast at 8:30 am, lunch at 12:00, snack at 3:00, dinner around 6:00-7:00, and dessert at 8:00. I never use to eat a dessert but with the Nutrisystem Plan you are given such scrumptious choices that I food that little bit of pleasure at the end of the day really tops off my night and I have no desire to eat after that.
4. Brush Your Teeth/Mouthwash: This is a little trick that I’ve used during times of, “I need to eat but I’m not really hungry”. Please do not mistake a need to eat with desire. They are two different things. If your body is sending you signals that it is truly hungry listen to it and eat, just make the right choice. I’m talking about the signal you receive that says that chocolate cake is heavenly and I’m having a hard time resisting temptation. If you truly “DO NOT WANT” to eat the cake and need a little edge then go brush your teeth or use mouth wash. Most people with freshly brushed teeth or the taste of mouthwash in their mouth don’t really want to eat, not to mention nothing taste the same right after doing so.
5. Take Your Time: Weight loss is not a race, there is no ending line. Changing your habits and learning to eat better is a way of life so there is no rush or race to get it done. The point is to change your habits one at a time. Substitute whole grain bread one week for white. Cut out soda and drink water. Take it one step at a time. For example in tip #4 above I’m not saying do not eat the cake. You should still be able enjoy your life and if your urge is so strong to eat the cake and you a lot yourself that pleasure then do so. Just remember at your next meal to choose healthy. It is all about your choices. Don’t beat yourself up if you choose once in a while to eat something not so great on the health meter.
6. Exercise: Exercise is not just a weight loss tool it is a health tool. Start out slow maybe walking a few nights a week. Dance with your children, or spend 10 minutes doing sit-ups, push-ups, or jumping jacks. Anything to get your body moving. You will find that exercise energizes you and when you have more energy you want to do more and when you do more you burn more calories. It is an overall euphoria feeling. The more you exercise the better you feel the less you want to make poor eating choices. It is a circle that you want to be part of. I encourage you though to do so at your own pace. Don’t get up the next morning and decide you are going to run 3 miles. Not only will you shock your body but you will be hurting so much the next day you won’t want to exercise again for a week. Ease your body into the new routine.
7. Set Small Goals: Whether you need to lose 100 lbs or 15 lbs set small goals. When I looked at the scale and saw the number 199 my first thought was I have to lose 69 pounds. That is too much I just can’t do it, it seemed like it was unreachable. However nothing is unreachable if you put forth the time and effort. My first goal was 194 because that was closer to 190 then 200. My next goal was 189.5 because then I would be in the 180’s instead of the 190’s. Each time I reached my mini goal I set another one. I found that each time I reached the goal I felt that I had made a huge accomplishment. Also with smaller goals you get that feeling of accomplishment more often.
8. Reward Yourself: At each goal reward yourself. Just don’t do it with food. You need to train your body that food is not a reward but fuel for your body. Use other rewards, possibly a good book you have been wanting to buy, or a day at the beach without kids, maybe a new pair of running shoes or a dress you have been eyeing. In addition to rewarding yourself for each mini goal set a reward for a large goal. Let’s say you have to lose 100 lbs. Set a nice reward for yourself when you reach 25lbs lost or 50lbs lost. Make the reward something you really want. For me my large goal was when I lost 30lbs I was getting a belly ring. That may not be your cup of tea but it was important to me. When I reached that goal I went right down and did it! My goal when I reach my goal weight this time? Well it is a tattoo yep crazy me, that is what I want to do but I want to be at my goal weight before I get it done. Find something that fits for you. Maybe a vacation or a day at the spa. Just make it something important that is all about you and what you want.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional please seek doctors advice regarding your own weight loss.