Hey there everyone,
I will never ever claim that I'm some sort of weight loss expert or to know it all.....I'm like that pretty much about anything, no matter what the topic is in general. What I will say though, is that since I did loose a fairly large amount of weight naturally and am still loosing (almost down 80 pounds since I started), I do have a bit more knowledge on what works or doesn't work for me personally. During my weight loss journey which is still ongoing, I have had many chances for trail and error. I can safely say I learned so much about myself emotionally, mentally and physically since I started this process few years back. While I know the weight loss experience/journey is very personal and varies from person to person since we all are different, I'm happy to share what worked for me personally. Here are a few helpful tips that I believe have helped me stay on track during the times I really felt like giving up.
1. Keep a food journal - I know this one can be a pain in the butt because you have to do it even when you have no time for a restroom break. But trust me when I say this, IT WORKS. The reason it works is because you can keep track of anything that goes in your mouth, which means you can go back and see what you did wrong and fix it by not doing the same thing in the future.....it simply makes you more aware if you will. Sure at first it takes getting used to but after about 10 days it becomes something you do without thinking about it too much.
2. Have a small treat everyday- Yes, I said have a small treat everyday. I'm a coffee person who likes to have something sweet with her coffee everyday. If you are anything like me get a small individually wrapped cakes, biscuits or chocolate s and have a small serving every day with your coffee. It will take that edge off cravings but also make you feel you are not denying yourself a bit of indulgence....so make room for it in your daily calorie intake ...and plan accordingly.
3. Cheat day is necessary/non-negotiable - Yes it is! Very necessary! This is usually Saturday or Sunday for me. I will have whatever I'm craving or have been craving for during the week on my cheat day. That can be pizza, cake, doughnuts, fries .....just anything I fancy .....but in moderation. You don't want to ever undo all the work you did during the week by going overboard on a cheat day so exercise portion control.
4. Keep track of your calories - From experience this has worked for me every time. Keeping calories in check will make you loose weight ....so read your nutrition labels and do the research on how many calories certain foods have....when I'm not sure I always Google things up. As the time goes by you will need google less and less as you get familiar with you favorite foods calorie content.
5. Plan your meals - This one is a no brainier really. Set your self up for success. I always make sure I have stuff in my kitchen that I can make quick meal or a snack out of when I'm short on time. I usually will stock up on foods that are good for me and I like .....so that way I'm never unprepared. I also make healthy soups in my slow cooker because it's easy and fuss free .....that way I always have something healthy, filling and home cooked to eat.
6. Don't give up! - You know no matter what you are trying to accomplish in life .....if it's worth it ....it will NOT be easy. So be prepared to fall of the wagon once in a while.... Expect it, but don't ever give up. Pick yourself back up, get back on track and be persistent ....this is very VERY important.
7. Think before you eat it - Ask yourself if you are really hungry and thirsty or sad, upset or depressed. Realize that you cannot and will not resolve emotional hunger by treating it like a physical hunger. You need to not be afraid to deal with these types of issues in a proper way. Many times our weigh issues have nothing to do with our physical hunger.....but everything to do with our emotions.
Seek professional help if needed.
8. Your food likes and dislikes will change overtime - I couldn't imagine a week without French fries, now I have them once or twice a year. Instead, I crave for avocados, yams, berries....and so on. If somebody ever said to my past self I would legitimately be this way today.....I would probably burst out into laughter and call them crazy.
9. Self love and respect - This is a hard thing to do for many people, especially if you are overweight. What you have to realize is that most of us where probably not born overweight .....it took some work to get you there .....so it also takes work to get you out of there. The important thing is gaining weight is easy, loosing weight is hard ......but NOT IMPOSSIBLE. You deserve this and so much more ....if you need to write it on you bathroom mirror in order to remember it....DO IT! Keep in mind we all are insecure about something and nobody is really perfect.
10. Keep track of your weight - Whatever frequency you are comfortable with. I sometimes do it daily and sometimes weekly .....as long as I can see the changes and prevent going in the wrong direction before things go way out of hand, I'm happy. Weighing yourself shouldn't be about self hate or feeling bad about where you are at the moment because that is always changeable. It should be about being aware .....and making sure you are on track. It's way more easier to loose 2 pounds than 10 pounds just because you where completely unaware you where gaining weight in the first place.
11. Don't drink your calories - I was guilty of this big time few years back. I used to love milkshakes, sugary juices and regular sodas ....I had no clue how much they where contributing to my weight gain. Nowadays I stick to water, coffee, tea, almond milk and sugar free drinks.
12. Focus on the bigger picture - It goes without saying, instead of focusing on every little thing that goes wrong and being way too hard and critical with yourself. Keep in mind your long term goals. Acknowledge that you are only human and realize that anything you set your mind to is possible and in fact very achievable as long as you stay focused, patient, persistent and realistic about how much you can accomplish In specific amount of time. You just have to keep working on it.
13. You don't have to go to gym to loose weight! Shocker! Huh? LOL. you can loose weight simply by controlling what you eat and how much you eat. I'm not saying you shouldn't go to gym, because staying active and strong is essential to a person's health obviously ......I'm just saying to loose weight you don't have to go to gym. In fact it's easier to control what you eat than it is trying to burn it off. But if you want to be toned and and speed up you weight loss working out in conjunction with healthy eating .....can be a beautiful thing.
14. You have to be ready. - I have literally said this so many times to so many people. "Only you can make the decision to loose weight". Or to make any life change in general. This is not something you can be forced or persuaded into. You have to make that choice and in order to succeed you have to really mean it .... I mean really really REALLY MEAN IT because it's not an easy or purely physical journey. It will require you to eventually change inside out to a point where you will become a completely different person many times. This is a scary process for many people. So if you are not truly serious and don't really want it bad enough you will just fall of the wagon and give up after a little while. Developing that inner strength, determination and belief in your self and your ability is very important here.
15. Stay positive. - BE HAPPY that you finally are doing something good for your self. Look forward to all the experiences life has for you in the future, both good and bad ones. Stay open minded and be happy to learn and evolve.
16. Establish a routine - Set the times of the day when you will eat or snack. I usually will have breakfast around 6 am, Lunch/Brunch around 11-12 pm, Dinner around 6-7 pm and then a small snack with coffee an hour or two before bed. This way I kind of know when to eat ....and your body kind of gets into a routine of knowing when to expect to eat.
17. Surround yourself with support - if you knew just how much negativity I was surrounded by when I first started my weight loss journey you would be in disbelief. Staying positive and being around positive people is a MUST. This is usually very hard to do. Because people around you will NOT want you to change. Only people who truly care will understand and accept your reasons and changes you are going thru. Everyone else, who isn't supportive and positive needs to go. No excuses. You need to get really honest with yourself here. I went thru a lot emotionally and a lot of people (family included) that where around me when I started are no longer in my life. I had to decide that I was important and that I mattered no matter if everyone else disagreed. So take your life back and ...BE HAPPY that you are on the right path.
18. Portion control - One of the first things I have learned about calories and portions is just how much of different types of foods come in a serving. When I compared it to what I was eating up until then it was really no surprise I was overweight. I started using a small plate and glass instead of a big one .....the more I learned about it all ....the more I realized that I didn't need all that food I was eating in order to survive or live my day to day life.
19. Share you food - Life should be fun and not always about stressing about counting calories and weight loss. Obviously I live in a country where food is abundantly everywhere. The portion sizes are huge and way more than you need to eat in one sitting. I like to go out and I am a foodie and love to try different foods. So when I do go out I don't really focus on calories as much as the portions. Because to be honest it's hard to know how many calories are in there when you didn't prepare it yourself or gotten it from a restaurant where they have those types of things disclosed. Many times I will divide one order between two or three people purposely ......not because I cannot afford to get more but because the portion size is usually big enough.
20. Change the way you cook - I used to fry things, use butter a lot and large amount of oil. I pretty much bought a lot of high processed foods all the time. Nowadays I focus more on fresh fruit and veggies and non processed meats. I eat a lot of seafood and I use my oven to bake and broil so much more instead of frying focusing on using healthy oils in serious moderation.
21. Make it about a lifestyle change not about a diet.- Focus on doing good things for your body and your health because you love and respect yourself. Don't look at it as a diet .....because diets end eventually and you go back to whatever you where doing before. Which can't be good. Look at this process as a transition to a better healthier self .....a more happier self. Because when you start seeing changes you will no longer want to go back to where you where before.
22. Be honest with yourself- stop making excuses - Seriously! In order to solve a problem, you first need to acknowledge it and admit to yourself you have one. You can't sugar coat things forever and lie to yourself because it will not get you where you ultimately want to be. You need to understand the REAL reasons of why it is you are overweight and deal with those. Weight loss is not easy.....you will need to work on yourself. It's gonna be hard work..... but if you really want it....there. Is nothing and nobody stopping you, well except yourself that is. This is why it is important to tackle the internal issues before deal with physical/outer aspect of it.
23. Stay prepared when out - I always bring a snack or a piece of fruit with me in my purse. Most of the time somebody else eats it ....but still, if I ever needed it ....it is there for me. Being prepared when out and about prevents you from getting to a point of being so hungry .....you are not rational ....and that can happen sometimes! LOL
24. Don't starve yourself - Your body will go into a literal "starvation mode" and try to hang on to anything it can ......so you will not loose that much weight and when you do return to eating you will end up gaining more than you lost very quickly. So not a good idea.
25. DON'T listen to your inner critic - You know that voice in the back of your head telling you that you can't do this and you will never succeed. Yeah, THAT voice. IGNORE IT! Many times you can be your own worst enemy. Learn to recognize when this is happening and say "OH HELL NO!!! I SO FREAKING GOT THIS IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY!!!! ....that is pretty much applicable to everything in life....not just weight loss. You need to tackle the inside....before anything ever gets a chance to change on the outside. YOU NEED TO START BELIEVING IN YOURSELF! That is the secret.... Takes hard work to get there because you need to seriously be honest with yourself....but it's very powerful once you do.
Alright, so I wrote a lot. It's impossible not too. There is so so much I could share with you about what I learned along the way .....but these are some of the most important things/tips I should share. If any of these tips help out at least one person somewhere out there in the world. That would make me one very happy person :).