Terri’s View: In a previous blog post, we were asked to talk about our most important tip for weight loss and healthy living. It was very hard to pinpoint just one, so I would like to share a few of the contenders and things that have helped me along the way. I know many of these tips you may have heard before, but we are not reinventing the wheel – we’re just trying to pass along what worked for us.
- Set mini-goals. To say you have 100 pounds to lose is overwhelming to anyone. Set smaller achievable goals and milestones (i.e. getting under 200 lbs) and that will keep you motivated. Give yourself a treat when you reach one like a movie, minus the buttery popcorn of course, or a manicure.
- It’s all about planning. Eating properly requires more mental thought then grabbing the first thing you see. Clean out your cabinets so those trigger foods won’t be handy. Keep fruits and veggies stocked for snacking. I always keep an apple, water and a granola bar in my bag so if I am out and went too long between meals I have a healthy snack. If I am going out to dinner, I will look ahead at the online menu so I can walk in with an idea of what I’m going to order. Also, when dining out I will eat a yogurt or an apple about an hour before I go out, as well as down a bottle of water right before I leave so I won’t be ravenous upon arrival.
- Keep a food journal. After losing the bulk of my weight I found I was just maintaining the weight loss, although I still wanted to lose. I bought a calorie counter and started tracking my intake. This was also a way for me to write down and moderate my weight from my weigh-ins at the gym. Writing things down holds you more accountable and you can see how your day is going and if you need to skip your nightly treat if you indulged elsewhere. I started losing weight again and it’s nice to be able to backtrack and see the progress.
- Sugar-free gum is your friend. I always have a pack of gum in my purse as well as on my kitchen counter. After I eat I like that taste of sweetness, so I will pop a piece after a meal as well as when I am cleaning up as not to pick on leftovers. The same goes for preparing a meal to limit sampling. I will also pop gum when in social situations when I want to stop eating but I know I could keep going just cause it taste so darn good.
- Forgive your slip-ups. We are all human and no one is going to be perfect every day. There will be days when you are in the zone and others where you feel like eating everything that is in front of you. You will have set backs and may even gain a few. I have gone back up a few in my journey but will always catch myself before it gets out of hand and negate everything I have strived to achieve. It will not always be an easy road but being too hard on yourself and throwing in the towel is not the answer. Get back on the program the next day and know you can only change the future not the past.
Celebrate your successes, large or small – you deserve it!
- Join a gym. We all have busy lives and now, more than ever, are on a budget. But you need to make time in your day to work out. I know the expense is an issue, but if you give up your take-out and your morning latte it will fit into the budget. We have all had that treadmill in the basement that becomes a quite expensive clothes dryer. Making the time to actually go will force you to make it part of the routine. At the very least just get moving and start taking walks.
- Allow a treat at the end of the day. When the kids are in bed I always look forward to a modified version of what once used to be ½ pint of ice cream in front of the TV. I now have a “light ice cream sandwich” with light whip cream, some strawberries and some granola for crunch. It is most delicious and satisfying and I look forward to it daily.
- Go on autopilot. This is especially true in the beginning of your journey when you are first learning to eat healthy. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day; oatmeal with strawberries as well as a banana and apple. I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat which takes the guessing and temptations away.
- Reward yourself. It’s a transition not to use food as a reward, so whenever I lost a significant amount of weight, I would buy some inexpensive clothing. You still need to look good for work and feel good about how you look, so some transitional clothing was always a way to stay motivated.
- This must be a lifestyle change. How many times have we started and ended diets? We’re good for a few weeks then some sort of stress comes up and we start slipping, and then just throw in the towel. This must be about changing your relationship with food not just another diet. You have a bad day, get over it and start fresh tomorrow.
Hope these tips have helped! You need to just take things one day at a time. Eat well today and take a walk. Try it again the next day. Before you know it this becomes a habit. Stay healthy and stay strong!