And here’s where I stand today. I’ve now returned to a much healthier weight, feel better than I have in a long time, and truly enjoy my life! Now that the weight is off; however, maintenance will be my next battle. I’ve fallen short here before, but I think I’ve not only built strong tools to help me get there, but I’ve also got a strong support system with my friends and family!
Looking back, I wanted to boil down my overall steps into a few simple milestones and steps – just in case it helps you (or someone else):
- Face the Facts (and the Fat)
- Understand and Confront Your Numbers: In order to know how far you need to go – and – where you are today, you’ll need to understand the story your body is telling. Step on the scale, get your blood tested, and understand the numbers with your doctor. Many employers offer free or low cost wellness screenings that give you these basic numbers – check with them and see what’s available! If you’re willing to pay, your Primary Care Physician (If you don’t have one…I recommend getting one) should be able to help – and – many “clinics” inside of drugstores may offer similar testing.
- Start Tracking: We often don’t realize how much food we’re eating and how many calories we’re not burning. Simply start tracking what you’re eating and how much exercise you’re doing. Simply tracking the food can be its own wake up call.
- Know Your Triggers: I’m a huge stress eater. But I didn’t figure this out until 2013. Once I figured out that stress was directly tied to my appetite, I was able to create a plan of attack to use other stress relievers, such as exercise.
- Create a Plan of Attack
- Create SMART Goals: Use the SMART Goals concept to create a series of milestones and goals. Remember, the “R” stands for “Realistic”, so set goals that allow you to challenge yourself, but stay attainable.
- Affirmations: This sounds horribly cheesy, but it’s absolutely powerful. Develop some affirmations that you can use to encourage yourself throughout your journey. You can easily write these down, place them in a “piggy bank” and pull them out when you need them (and you will). Reminding yourself of how powerful you are is such an important factor. Not sure where to start, I think Jessica can help!
- Define Your Approach: There are so many different diets, concepts, and exercise programs out there. Ultimately, a low-carb Paleo approach with exercise (not just cardio, either!) was best for me. Try a few different options out. Many times, you can use Groupon or another discount service to get passes to local fitness clubs – use that as an approach to find what works for you. Also, don’t limit your options – you don’t need a gym membership at all! Most of my weight loss was done on my own using DVD sets I’d bought or simply my legs!
- Get Selfish!
- Schedule Your Exercise: So many of us live in our work calendars or some other schedule. We let these tell us what meetings to go to, what tasks to accomplish, etc. Do the same thing with your exercise. Schedule it, make it (and your health) a priority, and hold yourself accountable (and have a buddy to keep you accountable – or – even this app).
- Plan Meals: I strongly recommend skipping the line at the cafeteria and bringing your own lunch of wholesome food. You don’t have to bring your lunch to work every day – or – even stay away from restaurants all the time. However, planning what you’re going to eat and when is crucial to making sure you stay on track with your food and are keeping yourself nourished.
- Reward Yourself: Remember those SMART Goals? Make sure you give yourself some smart rewards as well. Each time you meet a milestone, make sure that you give yourself a reward – and – make it about health (not food). Good work deserves a reward!