In the next few weeks lots of people will set out new weight loss goals. Some just because they always do this time of year, and others, like me last year, who have realized that something has to change or they can kiss their health goodbye. And to my own surprise (and delight!), there are even some people that I am aware of that have been inspired by my transformation to begin lifestyle changes in their own lives. That is just amazing to me.
Whatever you’re reasons or motivations, I thought I’d try to distill what has worked for me into one simple post to give people ideas on how they might undergo a similar change in their life. I’ve done a lot of thinking the last few months on what I’ve done differently this time around, and while I still haven’t quite figured out how I finally put the “mental” pieces into place, I think I can boil the rest down into three things: accountability, healthy eating, regular exercise.
1) Accountability: I knew getting into this that my worst enemy was my own thoughts. The “Oh, I can get away with eating that,” or the “Well, yeah I gained but I’ll just take the rest of the day off and start over tomorrow!” I needed a way to hold myself accountable for my loss, so I came up with the idea of posting my weight once a week publicly online. I got the idea from Weightwatchers because I had noticed that when I was on the program before I would always work towards each weigh-in. Each weigh-in was a battle. I thought that was a good mentality to have. I wanted to do it publicly because I needed the thought that other people cared about each weigh-in as much as I did, or else I would just give up like I’d given up Weightwatchers numerous times. Even if no one read the blog, just the fact that any random stranger could come across it and see my weight was enough motivation to make sure I did good each week.
2) Healthy Eating: Surprisingly, this was actually the easiest one to do. I already had a good idea of what good portion sizes were from being on Weightwatchers before, so it was just a matter of applying those principles. I recommend joining Weightwatchers to help out with this aspect, but it can be spendy. I cut out snacking, eating out, and fast food. I already drank diet soda, so it was just a matter of getting more water and other healthier drinks. I also tried to drink less alcohol. I’ve been successful at this for the most part, but I still enjoy having drinks with friends and I love me some red wine. For the most part, I think most people know the things that they eat that are bad, and it is just a matter of eliminating the bad stuff, portioning out the not-so-bad stuff, and finding good, healthy meals that you like. I am ever the bachelor, so I eat lots of quick, easy meals. Once a week I try to cook myself a nice, healthy dinner. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t. C’est la vie.
3) Regular exercise: This one took me awhile to get started on, but once I did this has definitely been the most rewarding aspect of my weight loss so far. I love walking. I try to walk every day. I love being around people, but I need my “me time” to get my juices going. Getting a walk in the morning generally means it is going to be a good day. The secret to getting regular exercise is finding something you enjoy and making a habit of it. Walking is what worked for me, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some people like running (I personally hate running!), some people like golfing, and other like other things. Find your cup of tea and drink it every day!
One more thing: realize that what you’re doing is a lifestyle change. I used to hate that phrase because people always use it for weird diets. Fad (weird) diets will help you lose weight, but they won’t change you’re life. Whatever you do has to be with the rest of your life in mind, because otherwise you will just fall back into old habits and gain the weight back.
If you are setting out to transform yourself like I did this time last year, then I have one final thing to say: GOOD LUCK!