I thought I'd share a few things I've learned over the years about weight loss and what it takes to succeed. Why do I feel qualified to give out these tips when I've only lost 15 lbs and still have over 50 to go? Because I've been successful in the past. Now if you have questions on maintenance, I'm qualified to tell you what NOT to do. Maintenance is one of those things I haven't mastered yet.. but I will this time!
These are tips I had on my old website. Since the site is no longer available and I haven't had time to work on the new one, I thought I'd just re-post them here:
Make It A Lifestyle Change
Don't think of this as a diet. A diet is something people start, lose weight on, and then stop. Think of this as a long-term commitment to your health! You will only keep the weight off permanently if you adopt your new eating plan as a way of life.
Always Remember: You're Not Perfect
And neither is anyone else. We all slip and fall sometimes. The key is to get back up and dust yourself off. Then jump back in with both feet, determined to do your best! DON'T fall into the mind set that since you have already cheated, and blown it, you might as well eat whatever you want for the rest of the day, or worse yet, give up all together. This way of thinking is self-sabotage!! Pretend like your slip never happened and continue on with your plan.
Drink! Drink! Drink!
Water that is. I know it sounds old and cliche, but you really do need to keep your body properly hydrated. Our bodies are 70% water and we need to replace that water on a daily basis. Sorry.. but diet sodas and sugar-free Kool-Aide just aren't the best substitutes. This doesn't mean you have to cut them out, just be sure your getting in the right amounts of water too. Water can really speed weight loss along. Don't believe me? Do an experiment. Try drinking a minimum of 64 oz of water a day for a week or so. I bet you feel and see a difference. Yes, you'll be running to the can a lot. But hey! That's a GOOD thing. You are flushing out toxins and fat! Drinking the proper amounts of water can really help your weight loss.. so drink up!
I don't care if it's a high-impact aerobics class, or chasing your dog down the street because he's dug out of the fence again. Put yourself in motion! Exercise has amazing health benefits and will help keep your metabolism revved up. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn - even when you sleep! So if you aren't already active, find something you enjoy doing and do it! Even a little each day is better than nothing. If you already have an exercise routine but are bored to tears with it, mix things up a bit. There is no law saying you can't try something new. Keep variety in your routine and it won't seem so... well... routine.
Planning what you will eat ahead of time is a tremendous way to keep yourself from straying. Don't wait until you're so hungry that even your socks look tasty. Knowing in advance what you will eat for each meal, or when a snack attack hits, will go a long way in helping you stay the course. This naturally leads to our next tip....
Spend a day or two doing food prep each week. Prepare low-carb favorites that you like to snack on and keep them around for those times when dinner is delayed unexpectedly, or for between-meal snacks. You can also cook whole dishes and freeze them for a quick meal anytime. Double recipes and store the other half in the fridge or freezer for those nights you are too tired to cook. Keep low-carb friendly snacks in your desk at work, in your purse or briefcase, gym bag, the car... anywhere you might be in need of a quick snack. Sometimes having a bag of almonds or a cheese stick with you can make the difference between staying on track, or diving head first into that box of Krispy Kremes sitting in the office break room.
I'm not just talking food portions either. Take your body measurements and keep a record of them. Many times when that stubborn scale isn't moving, those inches are! I've kept a log of my inches lost and I'm so glad I did. At times when I was feeling discouraged I could look at the inches I've lost and remind myself it's not just about a number on the scale. You've heard the old saying, "A pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat." Well, technically that's not true. A pound is a pound, whether it's bowling balls or feathers. What is true is the fact that muscle takes up less space than fat ( see Tools You Can Use post ), so you can weigh the same but actually be a smaller size!
Know The Difference
I can't count the times someone has asked me what they've done wrong. They must be stalled because they haven't lost weight for a whole hour! Friends, PLEASE don't do this to yourself. It's unnecessary torture. Weigh once, then stay off the scale until at least tomorrow. Know the difference between a true stall and your body adjusting to the changes you've made. A true stall is a full month without changes on the scale OR measurements. Too many people give up because they don't see a loss every week, when all they needed to do was hang on just a few days longer. If you go 4 weeks without any progress, then evaluate your eating and exercise routine. You may just be the victim of carb creep, which is simple to solve. Whatever the cause, be patient. Of course, it's tough to be patient if you are like me. I went to bed skinny and woke up with 60 extra lbs to deal with next morning, so I want it off now. It happened that way to most of you too, right?
No, this doesn't mean to snoop in your friends medicine cabinets. What you do need to do is stick your nose in the food labels! Read more than just the carb and fiber counts. Check out the ingredient list as well. Nutrition labels aren't always what they appear to be at first. Not only could your "sugar-free" product contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, it could also be very misleading about the carb counts. If you ever think something on a label just doesn't add up, check out the hidden carb calculator ( see Tools You Can Use post ). If it seems to good to be true.. it probably is. If you don't find anything suspicious, but find a particular food causes you cravings or weight gain - ditch it anyhow.
Read The Instructions
Why did all the men just walk away??? Get back here. I'm talking about reading your plan book! It's crucial to know the how's and whys of your chosen eating plan. If you know why you are doing something, and how it works, you'll find it much easier to make choices that will work for you. How can you expect a plan to work for you if you aren't following it to the letter? Sorry, but this is a little more complicated than putting together that bike at Christmas. Things aren't always as obvious as they look.
And I don't mean those stupid carb blockers. I'm talking about your supplements. While we eat a wide variety of foods on our low-carb plans, they just don't supply all the needed nutrients we require. Neither does any other plan out there. Why? Because the foods we purchase are leached of many of their nutrients by the time we get them. You don't have to fill your plate with various vitamins and supplements, but be sure to at least get in a good multi-vitamin to help fill in any gaps that might exist.
It's Not A Race
We aren't trying to see who gets to the finish line first. What is important is that we all get there. Don't compare your progress to anyone else's. It rarely measures up. We are all different and it's only natural that our progress will differ too. Just take your time and enjoy the great health benefits of your chosen plan. If you don't look at this as a deadline, you'll suffer less disappointments during your journey.