So, I realize I haven’t updated on my weight loss progress. And, I wanted to let you know that I have lost 43 of the 50 pounds that I wanted to lose! I started this weight-loss goal New Year’s Day in 2014. I’d say that was a pretty successful New Year’s Resolution. I am determined to lose the last 7 pounds, which I will write about in a future post. But today I wanted to talk about how I lost the weight.
Love Yourself Now. –No, really! I’d say this was pretty much my biggest aid in losing weight. All of my other previous attempts at losing weight ultimately ended because I didn’t believe in myself. I was unkind to myself, and over-demanding. And enough was never enough. So, I worked really hard during this whole process of being kind to myself. If I didn’t exercise that day, I didn’t beat myself up over it. I told myself that it was okay, and that I would do better tomorrow. And I did. It is so easy for us -especially women -to fall into patterns of verbal self-abuse. But it is so damaging! Instead of using constructive criticism (Well, that didn’t go so well today. I think maybe I can do this tomorrow instead), we often use destructive criticism that ends up derailing weight-loss efforts entirely. Trash talking myself didn’t help, so I had to say, Stop it, Dana! And, an amazing thing happened from my efforts. Now, as I look back at photos of myself at my highest weight, I don’t cringe or hate the old me. I feel compassion. I wish I could go back and tell her that it was going to be okay, and that she was worth just as much then as now. Yes physical health is important. But so are mental and emotional health. I don’t think it is a crime to have healthy self-esteem even at an unhealthy weight. In fact, like I said, I think building this self-esteem is crucial towards successful and long-term weight loss. I’m actually thinking of writing a book on the subject.
Focus on Small Actions and Building Habits –One of the biggest reasons why diets and exercise programs fail is that they are often too extreme to start with. I knew this about myself, so I started making small changes. I had one less slice of pizza, one less cookie. I added one extra serving of vegetables, and so on. It was actually hard, because a lot of people were telling me that I was doing it wrong. But, I persevered, and found that it worked. I slowly brought my portions down to a normal size. And, I did something similar with exercise. I started with 5 minutes of exercise a day –a ridiculously easy amount that I knew I could do –and then slowly increased it. Next thing I knew, I had a lot of healthy habits that were easy to maintain.
Use Mindless Eating To Your Advantage –Often eating while watching movies or TV is demonized as being the reason why America is so fat. And maybe it is part of the reason. But for me, I thought, what if I can turn this into a good thing? So, I started using this time as a time to eat sliced up vegetables, and to drink more water. Since I wasn’t really tasting what I was eating anyways, it helped me to add more healthy food into my day, without making it a big deal.
Get Up When You Fall –This was also huge for me. I had started weight loss efforts last January, and was doing pretty well. But then, around March, my habits started to fall through. I thought I had ruined my chances for success, and felt discouraged. But, I decided to regroup. I figured out what had not worked for me, and I re-designed my weight-loss goals. And, because I got back up, I was able to accomplish so much. If I had given up, I would have only lost about ten pounds (and I might have gained it all back). But, I went on to lose another 33. So, if you’ve fallen off the wagon from your New Year’s Resolution already, don’t worry! You can still get back on track!
Think Up, Not Down –For me, I found it so much easier to cheer myself on by thinking about weight lost differently. Instead of thinking, “Okay, I have 47 more pounds to lose,” I thought, “Hey, look, I already lost 3 pounds! Go me!” I thinking focusing on what we have already achieved helps bring added motivation. Big goals come with delayed gratitification, and one of the best ways to bring instant gratification is focus on the positive of what we are doing now, and what we have already done. Of course, now that I’m close to the finish line, it’s encouraging to think, “Wow, I only have 7 more pounds to lose. I can totally do that. I’m almost there!”
Well, I hope my words were encouraging and uplifting. If you managed to get anything out of this post, I hope it is that we need to love ourselves right here, right now. Life is too short to spend it hating ourselves. So love yourself, and watch as your goals become easier to reach!