Having cycled on and off diets for most of my adult life, when I set out to lose weight this time around I knew I had to approach things differently. Otherwise, it would be another dieting cycle added to the host of other unsuccessful attempts. I went in with a different approach:
Do this for YOU because YOU want it.
During my active weight loss period, these things and mindsets kept me on track:
1) Track calories. There are plenty of smart phone apps and computer programs out there, but I liked myfitnesspal because I could scan barcodes from food packaging and it gives daily nutritional (carbs, fats, protein) breakouts/ratio. I tracked everything that went into my mouth including gum, tasting while cooking, etc. for true accountability. You’d be surprised how mindless eating adds calories.
2) Commit to daily exercise and keep track. Find an exercise plan you enjoy and something you are truly able to do. Don't set yourself up by planning to go to the gym 2-3 days a week when you KNOW in the past that has not worked. Find something you can really, REALLY do. Know that you don't need a gym membership. You can get in a great workout AT HOME. There are plenty of DVDs and programs on the internet you can use to get started. Make a commitment and STICK with exercising no matter what. I walked on the treadmill 1-hr daily and lost my first 20lbs in 3 months without any other exercise. Afterwards, I introduced weights. Start slow and build. Write down what you do each day – how much time, repetitions, distance, weight, calories burned and work to improve – go further in same time, burn more calories, etc. Keep moving no matter what. Writing things down will ENSURE accountability and improvement across the board. I also noticed when I exercised consistently I had a DESIRE to eat better because I didn’t want to sabotage my own workouts.
3) Do not drink alcohol during the week. I could have it Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday, but not all three days. No beer, no white wine, no drinks with mixers, juice or soda. Drink alcohol = MUST workout that day. My go-to is red wine or white liquor with club soda and fresh lime.
4) Do not drink calories. I drink close to a gallon of water daily. I do not drink soda, juice, bottled teas, etc. Luckily, I've never been a fan of these items. I stick with black coffee, flavored teas without sweeteners and my beloved water. Like food, water is ESSENTIAL.
5) Adopt new food mantra. Must come from a momma or come from the ground. Our bodies know what to do with REAL food/fats that are devoid of chemicals and processed components. I do not eat diet meals. I do not eat 100 calories packets, etc. I make and eat real food. When I eat processed food I feel arthritic, puffy and hungover without a speck of alcohol.
6) Set goals NOT related to your weight or size. Find a fitness goal to take the focus off the scale. It will help increase commitment to exercise and give you something to work toward. Pick a walk, a race, find a monthly fitness challenge in your community or on the internet that you can print and do in your living room, etc. -- something else to work toward. When you finish, find another one! Setting goals has been the BIGGEST part of my success. I always strive to do better than the last time so races keep me pushing forward for better times.
7) Stay motivated. Align yourself with people whom will keep you inspired. Be-friending people on social media sites can help keep you motivated. Other people's workout posted motivated me to KEEP moving and they continue to motivate me today. No matter how uncomfortable you might be, SHARE what you are doing. This will actually help to keep you accountable to those following you. Remember why you started!
8) Try something NEW! Change workouts to prevent boredom. Find a new workout whether it is a DVD program, a website, class at the gym, new running program, etc. Keep your body guessing AND your MIND engaged in the process so that it is exciting and enjoyable.
Today, I still follow these rules with the exception of daily calorie counting.
Consistency with my workouts and setting and achieving my goals were the two BIG things for me. Keep moving and be working toward SOMETHING whether it is big or small. I did not set out to lose nearly 70lbs. I didn’t set out to run my first half marathon. I didn’t set out to compete in my first fitness competition. I didn’t set out to be in a national magazine. I didn’t set out to reinvent myself. I set out to IMPROVE myself. You can do it to! Remember, I am YOU!