Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss (Part 1)

Amidst many false starts, I'm finally beginning to get it together slowly but surely. But let's look at the positives. For the first time in my life, I've kept 30 pounds off for nearly a year. I can hardly believe that I've gone from a size 18 to a 12 and stayed there. Prior to this point, the lowest I've ever been was a size 14, the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college (10 years ago). But now I'm comfortably in a size 12. Crazy.

I'll tell you how I've bounced back in a while, but first, let me lay out my top 10 tips for natural weight loss (no fads included). As many of you know, I'm the fad queen. I've tried almost everything short of plastic surgery to shed the pounds, but nothing has worked besides good old fashioned hard work (I wish I could get those several thousands of dollars back, that I've spent over the past 20 years...sigh). When somebody told me this on FB (in not quite so many words), I got really angry, but she hit the nail on the head. So, here's a list of ways that I've successfully lost weight, with no gimmicks. Here we go.

Tip 1. Celebrate your successes...
There was a time in the very recent past that I'm sure many of the readers could remember, where weight was all I saw. I'd work out and work out and work out two, three, or four hours every day. If I lost two pounds in one day, I'd be somewhat satisfied. Anything less was a failure. This type of behavior is not healthy, and can eventually take you down a very dangerous path. My loooooooong break from dieting and working out was a blessing in disguise, because it allowed me to refocus and see that life was not all about the scale.

Now that I'm back, I realize that not working out didn't kill me. I'm in a much better position than I was at this time last year. If I lose a pound, that's great. If I don't, big deal...I'll lose it tomorrow. I'm just happy when I do.

Tip 2. ...but not too much.
In the past, I used to tell myself, "Ok self, you've been working hard. Once you get under X pounds, we will have Y to celebrate." There's nothing wrong with giving yourself incentives like this, but you have to be very clear and honest with yourself, that you will ONLY have that incentive. For example, if you tell yourself, "when I get to X pounds, I get pizza," it's very important to only get the pizza. There's no need for ice cream, mozzarella sticks, cheese cake, etc. Those can be incentives for other times. Or maybe you can give yourself a day to splurge and get it all out of your system, but the next day, back to work! Otherwise, as I have found, you may a) fall into the habit of eating crap, which is very difficult to break; and/or b) gain more weight than you anticipated, which will be hard to take off, and will probably discourage you, causing you to fall off the wagon.

Another disadvantage I've found about the incentive program is that I always end up getting impatient. For example, if I really wanted to have pizza, but kept putting it off every day because I didn't hit my target, eventually, I'd crack under the pressure and go crazy on some Papa Johns. The pizza became very important to me, more so than it was when I originally set the incentive. Quick fix? Go to the grocery store and get some diet pizza in the meantime. It will keep you from going crazy. (I really like the Weight Watchers pizza minis.) The bottom line is, don't deprive yourself, but don't go crazy with rewards either.

Today, I got up and got on the scale, like I do most other mornings. I weighed 191.5 pounds. While that is heavy to many people, to me it was a small victory because I haven't seen that number since probably May or June. I feel really good...this feels perfect for me, BUT IT'S NOT!!!! Hence:

Tip 3. Beware of false bottoms.

More to come on this, as well as the last seven tips. I've been at this for about 45 minutes, and I'm a bit tired of writing after this last week of finals. I'll be back later, likely after the gym where I'm going to Zumba and shooting hoops.

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