My start weight photo is on the left and after is on the right. I have currently lost 13 more pounds than the after photo above bringing my total to 60lbs lost, but you still get the idea.
1. It’s normal for losing weight to take time
There is a great quote that says “The weight didn’t appear overnight, so don’t expect to lose it overnight”. Losing weight is usually a journey that has ups and downs. It is rare for it to be easily consistant and linear. There are surprising life changes that can come up and rob you of you willpower. Sometimes emotional issues can take a months to overcome. For me, I had some issues with medications for almost a year that I could not consistantly lose weight on. It would be like I was taking taking two steps forward and one step back dozens of times.
Taking your time and allowing for breaks can have its benifits. Often losing ten percent of your body weight at a time and going to caloric maintanence for a month or two can be a good mental break. This also allows for your physiology to catch up and adjust (here is a great article that goes into that further). Pressing time restraints may motivate some, but it often can make you feel more stressed and be less sucsessful long term in reaching your goal.
2. Making myself the priority.
I’m going to come at this from a different perspective than many may assume. Of course it’s really important to make time and set aside and energy to maintain exercise and nutrition routines, but that is basic. What im talking about here is adress what was I losing weight for? In my past attempts I often found myself doing it to look good in a bikini next summer and then I realized I was then losing weight for a bikini and not me. I also found myself thinking my weight loss would make the people around me like me more (I associated comments about my weight as disapproval), and then I realized I was losing weight for others.
I came to find that when I was losing weight for things and others I had a harder time keeping my drive through the ups and downs of a weight loss journey. What was I going to gain from losing? I realized I mostly just wanted to feel at home in my body. I wanted to not have to do gymnastic like moves to wipe myself on the potty. When I walked I didnt want to feel my arms run into the side of my body . I wanted to be able to shave more easily in the shower. I didnt want to need to have a pillow in front of my lap because my stomach felt uncomfortable sitting down.
I am losing weight for myself so I feel better. When this shift started to happen I became more sucsessful in managing my goal. When the priorities were leaning more towards what others thought about me, what I would gain from the world being at an acceptable weight, or what clothing will be more publicly acceptable to wear, it created blockages and frustration. Focusing on the positive things that will change to make myself happier and confident has been a longer lasting motivator. There was more leverage to be found in thinking of the positive changes I will experience becuase it was easier in the past to abandon my goal for a bikini and other people. They don’t seem to care or matter as much as I had given them.
3. The scale is a friend
One of the biggest dreads in life used to be getting on the scale. This was partly because I did it only twice a year or in my doctors office dreading the inevitable “talk” about my weight. It’s infrequency would lead to dissapointing numbers because I would hope for the best before reality hit. I still can get my anxiety going on weigh-in day (particularly when I have been eating well becuase if the number doesn’t go down my efforts feel wasted) but my relationship with the scale has shifted to a positive one.
I started weighing in once a week on a specific day. This exposure made the numbers starting back at me a more regular event and the consistancy dulled the shocks. When I started tracking my nutrition and seeing the numbers change based on following and not following my caloric needs this showed me that the scale is a tool. It is proof of a week well done, or when I have had too many indulgences, or not been tracking. Looking at the scale as a data point thats sole purpose is to help you reach the goal, rather than insult you is an important shift to make.
The scale is only one part of tracking a weight loss journey. On top of weighing yourself measuring is also important. Sometimes the scale doesnt move but a tape measure will show progress. I have found benifit in regularly anazlyzing how I feel about myenergy levels, the new habits I have made, new healthy meals I enjoy, how my clothes are fitting, new things I can do more easily than before. These are all important things to take into consideration as progress rather than just the scale.
4. Individualize your tools and rules
Developing and putting in place my own rules and tools based on personal experiences and problem areas is one of the best things my journey has taught me. It does take time, introspection, and sometimes creativity to develop the what will work for you. I learned from the days, weeks, months that I know I didnt do my best and saw it as invaluable feedback to develop change rather than as failure. Working with someone who has gone through a weight loss journey to help give ideas can be very helpful as well. Here are some of the rules and tools I developed in my journey.
Rules I developed for myself:
- Don’t keep problem foods in the house. When I need a treat I have to go out and find only the serving I can have of it. For example, if I develop a strong craving for real ice cream I don’t go buy a half gallon because I will consume a large amount of it. Instead I go out and buy a cone or small serving of it to keep myself on track while still meeting a need. Having to go out to get my treat of choice deacreases the ease of access to it. Sometimes I dont get my craving because I dont want to go out. If you come over to my house you might see some treats that tempt you, but they don’t tempt me. This is because I allow treats my partner enjoys indulging in if they are not an issue of over indulging in for me.
- Wake up and plan my food for the day. Following this rule has lead to more satation and less snacking. When I can plan all my food for the day and see I am meeting my nutritional needs I feel less motivated to go outside of my plan and derail it. It seems like a daunting task but the more you do it the easier it gets, and you find a groove.
- Weigh In, measure, and write down my metrics once a week. Staying aware of my metrics keeps me accountable and motivated. Seeing progress is one of my personal biggest motivators. The data collected also helps me see trends over long periods of time so I know what I can expect during differnt periods of nutritional goals and needs.
- Stick to my grocery shopping list, and don’t grocery shop when hungry. If I go grocery shopping when I am hungry it hurts my wallet and my diet. You will find me coming home with snacks and desserts I really didn’t need, nor that are friendly to my macro ratios. When I stick to my grocery list my wallet is happy as well as progress to my goal is more easily made.
- Drink at least 8oz of water before each meal. This not only helps my hydration level but also deacrases the room in my stomach so that I feel more satiated and don’t overeat. Our brains are not so good at determining hunger from thirst so I really try and use this and increase the amount of water if I feel especially hungry before a meal.
Tools I Found for Success:
- Food Scale. I thought I knew what 6oz of chicken was but I was incredibly wrong for a lonf time. Even now with a year of weighing foods I still get the amounts wrong often. I actually usually prefer to use grams when I measure especially when it is not meat. Knowing exactly the right amount going into your body ensures you are getting all the benifits, and with strength training at a caloric deficit, getting all your protein really matters.
- Nutrition Tracker
- Coach for Training and Nutrition
- Listening to this hypnotherapy session before bed. Getting my mind relaxed and set into the right frame has been one of the most useful tools. I really notice when I haven’t used it for a while and when I use it consistantly. It’s a great way to close out the day and prepare for the new one ahead.
- Knowing my ACE Score (adverse childhood experiences) and staying aware of my emotional state. A lesser known risk factor for having weight issues is childhood truama and toxic stress. ACE research is one of the very things that started my commitment to better health and wellness (you can read more about that here). Understanding how to navigate triggers and toxic stress keeps progress pointing forward.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan.
6. Always have something big or small to work towards
If you are interested in getting help with your health goals please send me an email to email@example.com and I would love to talk with you about getting started.