Boom! Not so clever wordplay!
Ahhh... I'll see myself out.
But seriously, the purpose of this lovely post is to share some of the weight loss 'tricks' I've learned after months of trying to come up with a plan to ensure success. I've been reading other blogs, using the Pinterest machine rather a lot, talking to other folks who have lost a significant amount of weight- in general, just trying to forge a game plan for myself.
Weight loss is daunting. For anyone who, like me, has a quite hefty amount of weight to lose in order for my Body Mass Index to be within an acceptable level, it's terrifying. Seeing how far you have to go, the possibilities of being even more uncomfortable after significant weight loss, those weeks where the scale is not a team player and refuses to move- it can all add up into a cocktail of doubt. The same can be said for ANYONE who is trying to lose those extra pounds, not just a large sum like me. But I seem to have found something that works for me and I really, really, really wanted to share it just in case it helped someone else along their own path.
So, here is my list of tricks on the subject!
1- DO NOT 'diet'.
Right off the bat, I'm sure there are a lot of people who are looking at that bold lettering with scrunchy eyebrows, but just bear with me. The word 'Diet' carries a huge amount of expectations with it- whether those expectations are the stigma of cutting out specific foods, starving yourself, or restricting everything that you put in your body. For me, the word 'diet' also brings a lot of anxiety and fear with it thanks to years of being told to diet, or trying to follow the latest fad diet. I can't do a 'diet'. I've tried. I have failed. I have cried into a bag of salt and vinegar chips after eating the whole thing. Falling off the wagon brings way more guilt when you're on a diet.
Instead of 'dieting', choose to change your LIFESTYLE. Some people are going to say that this is like comparing apples and oranges, but for me personally? The two could not be more different. The day I started treating losing weight as a happy side effect to a lifestyle change and NOT a diet, was the day that I felt the oppressive weight lift off of my shoulders, so to speak. Diets have always had bad connotations for me, but a lifestyle? Choosing not to diet, but rather to add healthier foods, limit the amount of fast food, sweets, etc.? Thinking like that changed the game.
2- Work in small goals.
It's great to have big long term goals, but when those goals are so far away, it becomes very difficult to celebrate the little milestones along the way. You lost five pounds? That's amazing! Don't down-play it! (Side bar, have you seen those pounds of fat compared to pounds of muscle? BE HAPPY WITH THAT FIVE POUNDS.) You are getting there! It won't happen in a month so just keep working! And don't forget to appreciate inches lost! Just because it isn't on the scale, doesn't mean it isn't changing your body for the better.
3- Love yourself right now, this second.
This one might be the toughest trick. I fight with this, I'm nowhere near body acceptance, but with incredible models like Ashley Graham and Tess Munster/Holliday, they made me realize that it's okay to look the way I do right now. I can be gorgeous regardless of the fact that (ohmygodguys) MY THIGHS TOUCH. And I will never be a size zero.
Ashley and Tess? They are goddamn knockouts. And they taught me that I don't need to lose weight to look fierce, or be worthy of love. I'm getting healthy because I want to be able to run with my dog and not collapse after a block- not because anyone else thinks I should weigh less, or look different.
YOU ARE NOT QUANTIFIABLE BY THE NUMBER ON YOUR SCALE. YOU ARE ALREADY OUTSTANDING. THE ONLY CHANGES YOU SHOULD STRIVE FOR IN YOUR LIFE ARE ONES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIER. FUCK THE REST. THEY ONLY MATTER AS MUCH AS YOU LET THEM.
4- Don't cut out the things you love.
I'm not saying that eating McD's everyday is a good idea, but remember that bit about having a new lifestyle? It's important to understand that having one bad meal a week is not going to undo all of your progress- just like having one salad isn't going to make an impact if all you eat is processed food. For the most part, I stick to a lot of leafy things, many much fruitlets (get in mah belly!!) and veggies, white meat, fish, low-cal snacks, homemade recipes that are tasty and nutritious, the kinds of things that my body is happy digesting. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't still have chocolate, or chips, or a dinner out. I just do A LOT less of that, and when I do, I still try to be conscious of what I'm choosing for body-fuel.
My personal rule? If I get a craving for something that I know is against my regular foods, I wait for two days. If that craving hasn't gone away, if it isn't my jerk stomach being bored and wanting awful things or wanting food from the fast food joint I just drove by, then that item will be my 'splurge' for the week. Just don't go crazy- everything in moderation, but if someone told me I was not allowed to have french fries ever? I'd punch them in the throat and step over them to get those hot tasty terrible french fries. It would just make me want them more. Which is why I don't really put a lot of foods on my 'DO NOT PUT THIS IN YOUR FACE HOLE' list. Just go easy and don't 'splurge' every day. Eventually the cravings stop happening for the most part, and then it gets a looot easier to resist easy meals over healthy ones.
And MyFitness Pal is the greatest thing for this. I love marking down what I eat- I actually enjoy tracking it because I can see the kinds of things I have been eating.
5- Make a visual aid.
I am fortunate enough to have an elliptical at home (love it!), and it's in a room pretty much all by its lonesome. However, keeping it company are three things:
1- Exercise tracking sheet:
I keep a week at a time and mark down what I've done that Sunday- Saturday. I also keep track of my records. Example: Tuesday, I ran 3 kms in 32 minutes. Until I can beat that record, I'll use it as a regular target. It is amazing seeing how much you are capable of when you feel like quitting. You can look at it and go, "I wanted to quit last time, but I made it all the way to 3k!"Just try and beat it by a few seconds at a time.
2- A whiteboard with every single pound written out :
This way, you can cross those mother truckers off with a niiiiiiiice red marker when you have destroyed and conquered them. It's incredibly helpful to have the proof in front of your face on the days when you just can't see a change in your body. Feel like nothing is working? Look at that board and see all those crossed out numbers. You will smile no matter how many unmarked numbers there are. Progress is happening, even if it's slow. What you are doing is working! Take credit for it!
3- Reward system:
I will cover this in a bit, but it's my favorite thing!!
My metabolism sucks. Seriously. Those people who can eat whatever they want and never gain a pound? They are usually blessed with amazing metabolisms. I am not one of them, so I did a little research into what it would take to speed mine up, and it's pretty easy!
Lift weights to build muscles. Those muscles? They'll work overtime in your body once they're there- they'll keep burning fat cells even when you aren't working out! Beautiful.
Drink tons of water. I pee constantly at work, and my hands are always dry from washing them, but I feel so much better. Flushing out your body is a good thing! DRINK YOUR WATER.
Also, Green Tea? Amazeballs. Drink looooots of that as well. I cheat and add a teeeeeny bit of honey to mine, or cinnamon, both of which are also really great for kick starting that metabolism. Grapefruit is also a really great staple to have in your fridge- if you can handle the taste!
HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. It's always going to be important to have some level of physical activity in your life, but HIIT is wonderful for getting those metabolism building helpers going. Your body has to adapt to the change in effort you are leading it through, so when you force it to accelerate and decelerate, you are doing yourself a favor!
7- Get active.
This is incredibly important as well. Bored? Go for a walk. Call a friend and go to a park. If you're up for it, get a membership at a gym or go to a class with a friend. Having someone else there will make you work harder! And you'll never regret the time spent exercising after the fact. The hardest part is starting. There are a ton of free videos available on Youtube for at-home workouts. Do a workout while you watch a quick episode of your favorite show. An episode of Friends is 22 minutes. There are ten seasons. Just sayin'. Is there a movie you've been dying to watch lately? Only watch it when you work out, then you have to EARN watching it.
8- Reward systems are the best. Actually.
This is my favorite part. Like I said, in my room with the elliptical I have my reward board. Here's how it works: I have ten pound increments written on it, and in each bracket I have a 'gift' to myself. For the first ten pounds lost, I treated myself to a new book series I'd been wanting. The second ten pounds was that fancy 3D Fiber Mascara by Younique you see ads for on Facebook all the time. My third ten pounds is getting my hair done (which I got to book a few days ago! Hurray!). You get the idea. This way, on those days when you don't feel like sticking to your exercise routine, or staying healthy, you can look at that reward poster and go, "Well, only six more pounds and I can get myself that pair of boots I've been working towards!" Or "go for a pedicure!" Whatever keeps you interested!
...My final goal gift is a massive tattoo I've been wanting for years.I want it, and I understand that it will take time to get to, but it is achievable. Plus, who doesn't love gifts? :) I'm not saying go out and buy a pair of Louboutin's every ten pounds (but if you can afford that, then go for it!). Don't break the bank with these things, just make them something that will be a reward to you for sticking to your goals!
9- Remember that time with pass anyway.
Where do you want to be a year from now? The time is going to pass anyways, so you could either put in a little effort every day, or, in a year, be upset that you didn't start. May as well start now, right? Just start. I promise, you won't regret it!
10- Don't pressure yourself.
Everyone is their own worst critic. Don't get down on yourself, just know that you already have what you need to get where you want to be. The first time someone asks you if you've lost weight? Amazing. Second only to noticing a change in yourself and feeling better.
So there you go! Those are my tips! I hope they help someone, or make weight loss/ healthy living seem a little more manageable. And hey, honestly? If I can do it (and hopefully stick with it), anyone can do it.
I'll be posting progress reports on here as well as some of my healthy recipes! Slight change of my usual stuff, but documenting it is helping me stay determined!
I'd love to hear what other tips and tricks folks out there have! Or if this makes sense to anyone besides me haha.