So, you’ve made some resolutions for 2014. Have you broken them yet? I didn’t make any this year since, like most people, it doesn’t seem to take very long before they’re forgotten or abandoned.
I did, however, make some signficant changes in my life about five months ago. These changes have allowed me to drop two pant sizes (so far) and lose almost thirty pounds. It wasn’t an overnight change, and it did feel at times like it was taking much longer to see the results than it should. But it did happen and the changes have made a difference, so I thought I would share what worked for me and give thanks to those that helped me get here.
Disclaimer: I may be on the “Wellness Committee” in my office, but I’m certainly no expert. This is just what’s worked for me so far.
First of all, I couldn’t have done any of this without my husband’s help, support, and participation. Which brings me to my first tip:
1. Get a buddy.
We started this weight loss journey together for our own reasons, but going down this road together made it so much easier. A buddy provides moral support, encouragement, and accountability. Since in this case I happen to live with my buddy, that also means we eat the same meals and meal-planning is simpler. He has an extra requirement of needing a low-sodium diet, which does make it more challenging in the kitchen, but in the end we both benefit from it.
2. Keep a food journal.
I’ve heard this many times before, but never really found it convenient or easy to do this. Until I discovered a great little app for my phone called “Lose It!.” The basic version is free and it has made my life so much easier. We all keep our phones handy, so we might as well use it to record every bite before you forget about it at the end of the day. (I feel a little self-conscious taking my phone out when we go out to eat but I tell myself it’s an excusable exception to the “no phones at the table” rule.) It makes it so much easier to see how quickly the calories add up. If you fit in some exercise during the day (see tip#3), you can enter that as well and see how many calories you burned (and how many more you now have left!). It also has a convenient bar code scanner that you can use to quickly add any packaged foods you eat (or drink). Throughout the day you can see how much protein, carbs, fats, etc., you have consumed (or still need).
And if you have a buddy (see tip #1) and he uses it too, you can be “friends” on Lose It! and share recipes and meals!
3. Find something physical you like to do, and do it regularly.
For me, it’s dancing. I’m not a great dancer and I’m not very coordinated, but Zumba is the perfect exercise for me. It burns an incredible amount of calories and you have a great time doing it. I found a great Zumba studio close to my office and I go as often as I can. When I can’t get to my Zumba class, I grab my iPhone and cue up one my walking playlists and walk for half an hour during lunch either outside if the weather is nice or in the warehouse at work (Sometimes I even throw in some Zumba moves while I’m walking!).
If I don’t get a chance to do either of those, I get on the recumbent bicycle at home. On Lose It, the exercise database is quite extensive and includes things like cleaning the house, walking the dog, golf, darts, gardening, and even [blush] “sexual activity”.
4. The Internet.
You already have it – use it! There are so many free resources available, including a million food blogs. The one I’ve used the most is Skinnytaste.com.
I check this site almost every day now and have found so many recipes to add to my repertoire. You can search by main ingredients, type of cuisine, dietary restrictions, etc. And the recipes are delicious. (I’ve got to thank my colleague Laurel for this one.) Besides checking this site, I also use Pinterest. I was clueless about how to use Pinterest until just recently and now that I’ve started – I can’t stop pinning. I’ve created several boards, including one for low-fat and low sodium recipes. I am also following Skinnytaste on Pinterest, which means that Pinterest automatically adds to my newsfeed similar pins from other pinners and boards. Bonus!
Since I am a little on the nerdy side, I have also created my own recipe binder, complete with meal plans for the week, printouts from the web and recipes from magazines, each categorized and in its own sheet protector (because I’m a messy cook). When we traveled last week I took this binder with us so I could pitch in with the cooking while staying with family but still stay on track.
5. Don’t deprive yourself.
If you deprive yourself of occasional treats you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you’re craving a little chocolate, have a little piece (extra dark chocolate!) . It will probably be enough to satisfy the craving. And if you’re keeping a food journal, you can see right away how it affects the rest of your day. My husband and I have established an official weigh-in day in the middle of the week (Wednesday). While we may step on the scale other days of the week, this is the one that counts. Wednesday is also the day we reward ourselves for our efforts by indulging a little bit. It’s also date night, which works out pretty well. We meet at our favorite pub after he gets off work and enjoy a drink and something totally sinful like a burger. If it’s been a bad week in the weight-loss department, maybe we’ll split it and have a salad as well. But it’s something we look forward to and makes the rest of the week easier to manage.
I am now just a couple of pounds away from reaching the “normal weight” range of the BMI scale! I won’t feel so nervous now when the nurses from our insurance company come around for “Know your Numbers” day at work. But maybe I won’t stop there. I think I will re-evaluate every so often and see how I feel and how I feel about how I look. (Another bonus: the Lose It App will help me maintain as well!)
So if I can do it, and Doug can do it, there’s no reason you can’t reach your goals as well. Do you have any tips that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below and let me know if you’re using Lose It too and want to “friend” me!