Today’s prompt for the FMS Photo A Day challenge was ready. I took a picture of my foodie penpal package ready to be dropped in the mail. The rest of the day I kept thinking about getting ready and what it took to start my weight loss journey. I thought of what I have done this time around so differently than other times before. What worked?
It truly is a war between you and yourself. I kept failing because I kept setting impossible goals, trying extreme diets, rewarding myself with cheats days that would turn into months, and worst of all, keeping the whole effort secret. I was lying to myself and therefore failing miserably. Here are the lessons learned:
My Own “How to prepare for weight loss” (and I suppose any long-term goal, really):
- Clearly state your goals – you must know why you are doing this. In my case, coming out of my depression made me take an honest look at myself and I didn’t like what I saw. I don’t like being obese. I didn’t like how I looked clothed, much less in a bathing suit which made me avoid beach and pool outings with my friends. I didn’t feel one bit desirable which completely obliterated my love life. I was addicted to fast food. I had to crawl out of denial and get real. I wanted to love myself again and enjoy myself again… and to do all those things, I had to get real about weight loss.
- Set a realistic timetable – I had to accept that just as I hadn’t gained all the weight in two weeks, there was no way to get rid of it in two weeks. This was going to take time. Once I accepted that, I stopped being so obsessed with the scale. That was helpful. I set 4 main goals at the beginning with no time constraints. Five months into the journey I joined Dietbet which sets a monthly weight loss of 1-3% of body weight. Totally doable.
- Talk to an expert – Accept that you need help. I obviously had done a terrible job at choosing my own meals so I talked about food with a nutritionist and my doctor. I also read a lot and watched many documentaries on food, diet, and exercise. I realized I already knew a lot. I just hadn’t put it into practice. On choosing a meal plan I decided I would go ditch processed foods and watching my fat intake. It was the easiest thing for me since I hate counting calories and strict portion control. Also, I knew I had to increase fruits and vegetables and learn more about food and healthy cooking. It’s been a process.
- Get Moving – Unless you’re bedridden you can’t skip exercise. It isn’t just about losing weight but toning your body as you lose, speeding your metabolism, and just overall feeling better. My advice is to try different things until you find what you enjoy.
- Write it all down – Writing down what you ate, how much you exercised, and how you feel will go a very long way. It has helped me make adjustments to my diet, diversify my exercise routine, and understand why one week has been better or worst than the other. I can see that I’ve plateaued and that I need a break from the scale. It’s never hurt to know what I’m doing or have done.
- Don’t reward yourself with food – that’s what got me here in the first place. My relationship with food was toxic. I now give myself gym clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry, books, etc. I eat out to be with friends and family, not as a motivational reward… for anything.
- Go Public – Get your friends and family on board by writing a blog or simply sharing pictures online. Even though my friends and family are not on this journey with me their encouragement fuels me and fills me with pride for what I have accomplished.
- Finally, the most important thing… Believe in yourself. It may sound cliche but if there are any barriers holding you back, it’s you. You got to believe that you can do it and want it enough to see it through.