Because I have successfully lost weight – 90 pounds at my lowest – people frequently ask me how I did it or how to start losing weight themselves. I had tried and failed to lose weight many times in the 15+ years that I was obese. I had a couple of moderately successful loses – one right before I got pregnant with my first. Of course. The pregnancy – and my using that as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted – blew that out of the water.
I frequently tell people that if I can do it, anyone can. I know people say stuff like that all the time, but knowing how many times I failed, I really believe it’s true. The key is not to quit. The times I failed were the times I quit.
I know losing weight can seem impossible. Even now, I’m struggling to lose the pounds that have crept back on over the last two years. However, I want to encourage you that you can lose weight! Here are the tips that worked for me:
I’ve told the story before of how I started my weight-loss success story the Monday before Thanksgiving 2009 – I started to prove I couldn’t do it so I’d quit feeling guilty about not trying.
I lost 4 pounds that Thanksgiving week.
The loss surprised me – and proved I could succeed. So, I got serious and came up with a plan. However, they key was starting. I could have planned all day long, but until I got on the treadmill, quit drinking sodas, and modified my eating, I wasn’t going to be successful.
An important point about starting is to start where you are. My workout level treadmill speed back then is my warm-up speed now. I couldn’t worry about how slow I was moving. I just had to get moving.
Find someone to hold you accountable.
I started a weight-loss blog the day I started trying to lose weight. Even though I didn’t really expect to succeed, I knew I had always been more successful at anything if I told people I was going to do it. Maybe it’s the people-pleaser in me.
You don’t have to start a weight-loss blog, but you do have to find people you can be real with who will hold you accountable. I told whoever clicked over to read that Monday morning that I needed to lose nearly 100 pounds. I had never said that to anyone. Knowing that I was being transparent and that people were watching to see what I would do was very motivating to me.
I’m not someone who likes to have someone police my diet. However, having someone to remind me of my goals was very helpful. I’ve told my husband this go around – as I’m trying to lose the 30-ish pounds I’ve let creep back on – that an occasional treat is okay. A “kiddie” size ice cream cone at Chick-Fil-A once a month or so is occasional; a small cone once a week is not.
Determine what you most need in an accountability partner and ask someone to help you.
Find the right tools for you.
For my weight-loss, a body bugg was an invaluable tool. It told me exactly how many calories I was burning versus how many I was consuming. It showed me why I was hitting a plateau so I could figure out how to get past it. Now, I’m using a fitbit along with My Fitness Pal to track calories burned versus calories consumed.
Your perfect tool may be a certain meal plan, a particular weight-loss plan, or a gym membership. Weight-loss is not one-size-fits-all and there is no universally perfect tool – only the one that’s right for you.
Don’t try to change everything at once.
Weight-loss isn’t all or nothing. It’s a gradual retraining of the body to replace old, unhealthy habits with new, healthy ones. An all-or-nothing mentality will probably soon result in a derailed weight-loss effort.
Choose one or two things to work on until they become habits. Two of the most important initial changes for me were getting more active and drinking more water in place of sugary drinks like sweet tea and Coke. Once I had a good handle on those two things, I was ready to start learning new, healthy ways to cook. (Skinny Taste was and still is my go-to site for delicious, healthy meals made with ingredients that normal people eat.)
I was a huge fan (no pun intended) of The Biggest Loser when I started my weight-loss journey. I would walk on the treadmill while watching the show each week (instead of lying in bed watching it as I had done in the past).
I picked up a couple of Biggest Loser books for extra ideas and inspiration. I also found some health and fitness blogs that gave me new nutrition and workout ideas along with motivation.
Discover what motivates you. Is it a photo of you at a size where you were happy? An outfit that you want to fit into? An upcoming vacation or life event? Whatever it it, figure out how to harness that motivation to keep you going on the hard days.
The idea of losing weight can be daunting, but it really isn’t rocket science. It boils down to two important concepts – start and, then, don’t quit.
If you have successfully lost weight, what tips would you add to someone just getting started, particularly someone with a significant amount of weight to lose?