Thursday, October 04, 2007

Handy Dandy Tips!

I don’t have much time to be super original so I thought I’d copy and paste some of my more common weight loss tips for those who are just beginning their efforts to drop a few (or a slew of) pounds. Here is the advice I give out most frequently.

Throw out all your unhealthy snacks. If it's not there you can't eat it. Most important in this step is don't forget to replace them with healthy alternatives. I went all out throwing out every scrap of junk food when I began but then absent mindedly I didn’t replace it with anything. It led me to dig into my husbands snack drawer which wasn’t exactly healthy. You’re going to get hungry. It’s a part of life. Be prepared for when it happens.

Get rid of food triggers that make you want to eat, such as cookie scented candles, brown sugar or apple pie scented candles, magazines full of pictures of fattening desserts that sit near the couch that you can’t help but see, and the likes.

Learn what a portion is and measure them until you are good enough to eyeball it eventually. I still measure every once in a while to keep myself in check.

Set a very specific goal. Say "I want to lose X pounds in X amount of time. Then break it down. This means I need to lose X pounds per month and X pounds per week." Make sure your goal is healthy and attainable. In other words don’t set yourself up for failure by saying “I want to lose 10 pounds every month for 5 months” because it’s just not healthy and would be extremely hard to achieve. Allow some flexibility with your goals. Say I want to lose between 4 and 8 pounds every month so if you have a bad week and gain you can still make up for it and meet your monthly goal.

Don’t make all your goals weight loss related. Sometimes pounds just don’t come off for a week. If you still followed your plan all week long (exercised 3 times, eat healthy every meal, didn’t binge, whatever your goals are) and didn’t manage to lose then you should still celebrate that you did something good for yourself even if the scale doesn’t say so. It keeps the fact that weight loss isn’t the only reason to do this in perspective, health is more important.

Set up an award system for yourself and celebrate even the small victories. Don’t discount the fact that you NEVER used to take the stairs but today you did it twice, only riding in the elevator once. That’s a big improvement! No, it’s not perfect but it’s still better than you were doing for yourself in the past.

Find something that works for YOU and that YOU can live with and stick with it. There are a million people losing weight and twice as many ways to go about it. One way may be great for one person but may just not work for you. You have to find what you are comfy with and do that.

Don't get caught up in too many trends and get yourself overwhelmed. If you're going to count calories then do that and don't worry about what people on Atkins are doing. If you're going to do Weight Watchers then count your points and don’t get caught up in what South Beachers are telling you. There is SO much information out there to wade through, take small steps and try to have blinders on for a while, until you get into your groove THEN add something else in if you want (such as do WW but also try to eat clean). It's so easy to be standing in an aisle at the store trying to pick out a food and think "it is low calories but has some carbs but it has protein but it's got some sugar" it's just information overload and you’ll end up frustrated and with an empty cart.

Little things do make a difference. If you can't make a complete overhaul at first then take baby steps. If you currently drink soda all day long and can only handle slowly adding some water in your diet then do it that way. Drink one glass in the morning for one week and be proud that you did it. Then up your goals. Gradual works well and helps keep that overwhelming feeling at bay.

Push yourself and be honest with yourself. If you're strolling through the park and in your head you tell yourself "I went for a brisk walk today" then you're only fooling yourself. Push yourself because nobody else is going to push you.

Don't discount the benefits of strength training. You don't have to lift 100 pound weights a million times to benefit from weight training. Even a few exercises using your own body as weight is a great start. The more muscle you have (and women it’s very hard for our bodies to “bulk up” so don’t use that as an excuse) the more calories you will burn in a resting position. I’d much rather burn 100 calories while napping because I have more muscle than burning 25 calories while napping because I don’t strength train. It’s a fair trade off. Even if you can’t see it yet because of the fat, rest assured it’s there and it’s working for you. You don’t have to have a gym membership either. No excuses!

Exercise is like diet... you're going to have a million people telling you that their way is the right way and the only way... find a way that WORKS for you and stick to it.

Don't obsess over the numbers as they are just a small part of weight loss. You're doing something beautiful for your body no matter what the scale tells you week to week.

Be patient, weight loss is a marathon not a sprint.

Honestly, it doesn't take me any more time to prepare a healthy meal than it does to bake a frozen dinner or cook a less healthy meal. You do have to consciously make an effort to do this though, that's something you have to do on your own, nobody can do it for you. It takes no time to slice up some fresh veggies and lightly sauté them or throw them on the grill with some fish or chicken. Or even faster, eat them raw! Most of my meals are prepared and done within 20 minutes to 1/2 hour and are healthy so I can't use the excuse "it's so much faster to eat unhealthy" because really, it's not.

Make a grocery list/meal plan for the next 3 or 4 days and make one shopping trip for the ingredients. Stick to your plan, no excuses. This small amount of time you spend to plan some healthy meals will save you time in the end as you won't have to think "what should I make for dinner tonight". You'll already know.

After your meal brush your teeth. Nobody likes to eat when you have a clean healthy fresh mouth so it will help stave off the late night snacking.

Start a blog, get a readership. My blog has kept me totally accountable for my actions. It's also been a great outlet and support system.

Remember that nothing is done or undone in one snack, one meal, one day, one week or even one month. If you have a bad food day you didn't ruin anything. You just have to pick yourself up and start again right that very moment. Don’t put it off until Monday. It's all very "lather, rinse, repeat'."

I read Dr. Phil's book the Ultimate Weight Solutions and have had great success with it. It’s a wonderful book for emotional eaters. I have/had 100 pounds to lose and am about 60+ pounds down so far. I highly recommend the book!


Teale said...

I like all these tips, I'm glad you posted them!

Christine said...

Great blog today. I think you have convinced me to re-read Dr.Phils book. I have it on the shelf - have started to read it several times - but never gave it an honest read.

Take care!!

Dee said...

Great entry! well done. And congrats for how far you have come already. You're an inspiration!

Chubby Chick said...

What great tips! Thanks for sharing! I'm definitely going to incorporate some of these into my plan!

The Pound Slayer said...

Thanks for the refresher. It's easy to forget the basics, and good to re-read them. Awesome post!

*ccc* said...

Even those of us that have been trudging along for a while see the value in these tips.

Thank you for sharing them!!!!

Anonymous said...

Super great tips! I am so glad you posted this list. I'm going to print it out and keep it where I can read it often.