Anyone who has ever wanted to lose weight at one point in life or another has chosen a method or way they felt would help them to do just that.
It may have been a new diet plan advertized that sparked initiation, it may have been a friends weight loss that encouraged a person to find a solution. No matter what the initial fuse was to begin, everyone has started with some type of plan of action. I will eat this or I won't eat that, I will exercise, etc.
If you have been struggling with your weight and have tried multiple methods to lose it, then you are no stranger to fad diets and how they just don't work for lasting change. I know because I've done them. In the end, sadly, often more weight is gained than when the fad diet was begun.
Consistency in daily, healthy habits is what will pay off into your future and is the only thing that will promote permanent changes in your lifestyle.
These are my top 5 weight loss steps that have helped me to lose weight and keep it off that I still continue to use today to maintain my healthy weight.
1.SET A SHORT- TERM GOAL
Long term goals are healthy to have, but like the name, they take a LONG time to achieve. Waiting for them to manifest may seem like forever especially if weight loss doesn't happen every week and from experience it doesn't. Setting short- term goals has been the key for me to not get discouraged as I was slowly losing weight. I had the larger target in the back of my mind, but it wasn't what motivated me weekly. I needed something short and attainable to feel some sort of accomplishment. Do you know what I mean? Have you been there? A weekly goal or a monthly goal is a whole lot easier to achieve than setting a goal to lose 50 pounds by next year. Your goal also doesn't have to be, (and I don't believe it should be) related to losing a # of pounds on the scale because often times many factors effect those numbers. Think more about exercise goals, eating healthier, drinking less soda or coffee, trying a new vegetable. When you focus on these short weekly or monthly goals you WILL be encouraged and motivated because you are sticking to your word and being accountable to yourself. The end result WILL be weight loss.
2. BUDDY UP
I've found that without support, success in weight loss efforts are difficult and lonely. Having just one person you can talk to that understands what you are going through is vital. Someone you can share your daily struggles, temptations, disappointments, and victories with is crucial to your commitment and sticking with your plan. A buddy will encourage you, tell you not to give in, remind you of your goals and cheer you on when you succeed. If you don't have anyone in your life like that, find someone. Look at your church, walk in your neighborhood, get a gym membership, follow blogs online, but the most important thing is to simply connect with others. It's no fun doing it alone!
Many people hate hearing this, but it is the simple, honest truth. Counting calories has worked for me like nothing else I have ever tried before. "EYE"ing foods to decide if it was a half cup, 3 ounces or tablespoon, never, ever worked for me. My portion control was out of whack from years of over-consuming. MY EYES DECEIVE ME every time! My eyes want MORE. I have tried other ways to get around this simple yet very effective tool of weighing and measuring my food, but I must always go back to it whenever I feel I am getting too comfortable and overeating, even on healthy foods. Weight Watchers is a fabulous system that might be easier for you than counting calories. There are many easy calorie calculators online to input your daily food. I've used Sparkpeople.com for a long time and find it quite easy to use. You can purchase a calorie counting book as well. Knowing how many calories you consume daily will be shocking, but extremely helpful! If the idea turns you off and makes you feel restricted, think about this: Has doing what you've done so far got you to where you want to be? If you can answer that with a yes, fine, your system is working for you. If not, you must change something or will continue to get the same results.
4.BECOME A FOOD LABEL EXPERT
I became a food label expert because I wanted to rid my body of sugar. I learned what I know from the Prism Weight Loss program back in 2004. The program did not advocate eating any items unless sugar was listed as the fifth ingredient or higher. Enriched wheat flour is just white refined flour and that turns to sugar in your body. So saying you are going to eat foods that have no sugar or white flour in them can be a pretty hard task when you start reading the ingredients on the back of an item. Learning about food labels is very important if you want to get rid of cravings for sugar. I had no idea how deceptive marketing was until I started looking for products without white flour or sugar. Just because healthy products say WHOLE WHEAT on the front of their sweet, nice looking, packages does not mean they actually are! Did you know that about 90% of the whole wheat breads on market shelves are actually just enriched wheat flour which constitutes nothing more than white processed flour stripped of all things healthy? Here are the common ingredients that are actually just another word for sugar that I avoid in all packages: dextrose, maltodextrin, brown sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, malt syrup, rice syrup, corn sweetener, agave nectar, sucrose, sorghum syrup. As far as whole grain breads are concerned, unless it says Stone Ground Whole wheat, rye or whatever grain it is, I won't purchase it. Just being more aware of what products you buy and what is in them will be empowering! Check out my video series all about reading food labels!
This is an absolute MUST! You can not just wing it to lose weight. It is a concentrated effort and work! I do not know one single person who simply stopped eating such and such and the weight was flying off of them. If you write down your food you are planning on eating today, you will most likely stay as close to it as possible, especially if you already calculated how many calories or points in a day you have. It isn't restrictive, it can be flexible and it is completely worth it! Not planning what I will eat tomorrow is really where I have gotten into the biggest battles with myself. Trying to speculate without really knowing exactly how much I ate was how I gained weight in the first place and couldn't seem to lose it even though I thought I was eating pretty healthy. It was really about how MUCH I was eating. SO today I plan my measured meals out the night before. I know exactly what I will be having for 3 meals and one snack. I don't use anything fancy, just a simple spiral notebook works for me. There are a bunch of daily food trackers online as well as apps for your smartphone.Yes, sometimes I veer off the plan if hubby wants to go out unexpectedly or life just gets in the way and what I planned won't work due to life's circumstances. For those times, making the best of choices available is the key, (but that will be a post at another time). But for the most part I stick to my plan because I know it works. Being honest with your food plan can reveal where things need to change. You can not escape the truth when you are able to look back to your written record of your daily food choices and know beyond a shadow of a doubt you either followed your plan or you didn't.
*All any of us has is TODAY. What are you going to do TODAY that will benefit your body, mind and spirit? What is one positive step you can make today so that when you lay your head down on your pillow tonight you will be able to say ......aaahhhh, I DID it? Decide to make a healthy change for today, commit it OUT LOUD to your hubby, accountability buddy, family, friend, God and simply do it ....Just for today. You can do anything for just one day can't you?
What are your thoughts? Please share a comment below.
How does one count calories? I don't eat packaged food much to be able to check the label. Also what about the complex foods say spaghetti or sushi etc?
Use myfitnesspal.com to count calories, it has a huge list of all kinds of foods, even restaurants.
I've been a really bad girl last year. I got addicted to food and was eating like there was no tomorrow ...until I realized I gained almost 10kg/22lbs and couldn't fit in most of my *best* clothes. I figured it wasn't my body anymore and I needed to do something about it, IMMEDIATELY! It's not the 1st time I gained and lost weight, so this time I started my weight loss plan keeping in mind my previous experience. I decided to stick to a diet that keeps me happy yet works quickly.I wanted immediate results without stressing myself too much and sabotaging my health
Every day our body burns a certain amount of calories, depending on our height, weight and lifestyle.
For example, on a regular day I burn around 1800 calories. The rule is that
To lose 0.5kg (or 1 lbs) of fat you need to burn 3500 calories more than you consume.
That is, if I enter a "diet mode" and my calorie intake is 1300 per day, I create a 500 calories deficit. To create 3500 deficit I'd need stick to my diet for 3500/500=7 days.
OR if my calorie intake is still 1800 BUT go to gym and burn 500 calories dancing Zumba for 1 hour, I also create a 500kcal deficit.
Once you know that, you can plan your diet according to your personal preferences. For example, to create a 500kcal deficit without making a huge commitment, you can
consume 250 calories less (skip your dessert, unhealthy snacks, or just eat smaller portions)
burn 250kcal more (have a 1.5h hour walk or cycle for an hour).
Following the above plan, you'd be losing 0.5 kg or 1 lbs per week. If you want to lose 2lbs per week, you'd need to double the numbers to create a deficit of 7000 calories.
As far as food is concerned, the above rule proved to be very correct for me. I always log my food and activities, and the 3500 theory is exactly what I need to burn to lose 0.5kg or 1 lbs. BUT for some reason, no matter how much I exercise, I do not lose weight IF I keep on eating unhealthy foods (sweets are my curse!). I'm not totally sure what exactly they are doing (maybe they cause water retention, or maybe my body just loves to store them), but unless I stick to relatively healthy food, I cannot count on gym only. Maybe it's just me, but I lose weight only if I eat healthy.
Hi, once powdered fructose is out of your system [ie. fructose is contained in corn syrup, sucrose, maple syrup, agave, honey, fruit juice, sugar - whether from cane, beets or palms....., amazingly, stop eating this in all foods and all hidden sugar, and within a fortnight, depending on your level of addiction to fructose, you will start to feel your full signals and you really can't overeat accidentally any more. Trusting this 'recalibration' of the appetite takes a lot of trust though, after all the decades of warnings about fat and whole foods.
To put it very simply, fructose stops your body from feeling full, so people tend to keep on eating. Fructose turns into visceral fat right away. Our bodies don't have any full signals for fructose, whereas we do for oil, protein etc etc! Even just to make this simple change and to get even fifteen minutes of gentle exercise more than you're doing right now, will have a huge impact on your health and weight.]
The effect of this fructose forming fat around the liver is not so fast-acting, damaging and dramatic when eating the fructose that's within WHOLE fruit because of the soluble and insoluble fibre which is in fruit - slows down the digestion so you don't get a huge insulin spike etc...as long as you don't eat too much fruit, perhaps a piece or two a day, preferably low-fructose fruits while you're losing weight. And this includes in smoothies too...because if you pulp fruit until it is perfectly smooth, the fibre is broken up and isn't big enough to do its job and slow down the digestion of the fructose. We pulse up the milk and ice part of our smoothies first, and THEN we add crushed fruit and stir through. [we crush our fruit with a fork in a bowl.}
The BEST EVER approach to leaving fructose out is, I think, on Sarah Wilson's fantastic resource website and course: "I Quit Sugar". Absolutely brilliant.
If you're like me and have dieted way too much for way too long, the kindly kindly approach Sarah has just the right touch of grace. She believes in 'crowding out' the desire we have for our sugar fixes, by eating other very nutritious, delicious foods. For example, things that have been off limits but are actually so good for us, such as measured amounts of coconut, nuts, dairy and avocado. Wonderful vegetable and meat dishes, really filling and satisfying. AND loads of ideas for making treats using natural sugar alternatives.
Food never tasted so good to me. And the self-control I have gained from using this approach is very liberating, not to mention the end of craving sweets all the time.
Thanks, Brenda. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and share your experience. I like your idea of journaling. I think, in that process of journaling, it might be a good idea for me to "categorize" my calorie intake according to each food's major source of calories to see how balanced or imbalanced my eating is. Maybe a little "research" into my real eating habits. 🙂 Again, thanks much!
Thanks so much for these encouraging "tips." About 10 years ago I started with WW and ended up (over about a 3 year period of time) losing 80+ pounds and was able to keep it off until getting pregnant. Over the past two years, I've had two beautiful children; and gained back about 30 of those pounds (and some extra "size" with those pounds). Anyway, I've started back on WW the first of this year. I am still nursing my youngest so I knew the weight loss would have to be much slower than the first time around (from a week by week basis); and I've made the switch to whole foods during the past 6 months. Also, I'm 42 and am finding age to be more of a factor now. I have to admit that I'm struggling with losing the weight this time around. Between the slow-going and being authentically hungry (I'm assuming because of the nursing), trying to continue to eat real food "healthy" things, and being home most of the time (and around food), I'm finding it much more difficult. I have to admit that it was MUCH easier to lose weight "eating" food products than it is trying to continue to eat only whole foods. Whew! Your article encouraged me to keep on, keeping on; that it can be done using whole foods; and to set realistic goals and keep my focus. Thank you. But...I do have a question for you. I really do believe in the whole food cooking lifestyle and intend to stick with it; but so much of what I read talks about the healthy fats and how we should eat quite a bit of them. The info says that it is not the fats that make you fat but the "sugars" that make you fat. And, so much of the whole food info says that people shouldn't count calories but that if you just eat whole foods, you'll lose weight. I want very much to believe that, but that has not been my experience. I understand that all calories are not equal, but how does one know where that line is of eating even too many "good" calories? I'm trying to make this work but feel a little bit like I'm being split between two "ideals." What's your take on the calorie thing and the "healthy fat" thing? How has that worked for you?
How awesome to lose 80 pounds! I gained 70 with my first child and struggled with the last 20 until I did weight watchers. Things changed for me after a 2nd and third child and losing weight and what I had done in the past didn't work for me. You can read more about my journey and why I am sugar free today in this post, https://www.sugarfreemom.com/my-journey-before-after-pics/. I tried for a year on my own eating healthy whole foods after my 3rd child with no success again to lose the same 20 pounds, so I know frustration. I was 36 at the time. I am now 40 so I do think age makes a difference. I truly believe we can overeat even "good" healthy foods and still not lose weight so I am a big believer in food journaling. I will be writing a post about it soon so subscribe via email so you won't miss it when I post it. Just keep on doing what you are doing, add in some food journaling so you can actually see how many calories you are really eating and find out what your doctor thinks is a calorie amount appropriate since you are nursing. Keep it up, you can do it!
Super excited to have found your blog! I came over from women living well link up....I started WW three weeks ago and have lost 11 lbs so far. I feel SO much better 🙂 and am now on the look out for healthy but yummy meals (as I LOVE to bake). I'm trying hard to not make it about the amount of lbs lost...praying daily that God would give me the right perspective. I'm looking to maintain a new "life-style"....anyway, super excited that you include points with your recipes!!! now following by e-mail. Come visit me if you'd like 🙂 blessings~~angela
Thank you for visiting and congrats on your weight loss! You are right, its not just about pounds lost, its more about living healthfully! God bless!