How To Lose Weight And Stay Motivated
Tips For Sticking With A Weight Loss Plan
I've battled weight for years and have tried every weight loss plan and motivation trick under the sun. Packaged meals? Check. Posted a picture of my skinny self on the fridge? Been there, done that. Kept a food journal? Yep ... and had to log in all of the junk I ate, anyway. Drank lots of water? Yes -- and was in the bathroom all night.
In my case, there WAS success. I'd lose some weight -- there were some years where I lost a significant amount, actually --- but would then lose steam and gain it back. At first, I'd throw myself into a plan with gusto, but as time went on and I realized that I'd have to keep doing this -- for the rest of my life -- it became harder and harder to stay motivated.
In the past year, though, I've changed my approach and have found some different ways to stay motivated and keep going. So far, I've lost about 30 pounds and am feeling pretty good. It's taking me a long time to reach my goal, but I'm not losing steam, either. That said, here are my tips for losing weight ... and staying with a plan. They're pretty simple, but I'm finding them easy to adjust to as a LIFESTYLE change, rather than a diet. As always, see your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.
Weight Loss Motivation
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Simple Weight Loss Tips
1. Journal your food -- and your feelings. If you've been on many diets as I have, you've probably been told to "write every bite." For me, this is helpful in keeping track of WHAT I've eaten, but for the past few months, I've also been keeping a personal journal so that I can log WHY I'm eating. Of course, not everyone is an emotional eater like me, but many overweight people do tend to binge when stressed or upset -- or even when they're happy. For me, writing down my thoughts has given me another outlet for my emotions and I've definitely had less of a desire to eat my feelings away.
2. Eat everything. No, I don't mean gorge on everything in sight, but don't cut anything out of your meal plan. Of course, make your main focus lean meats, whole grains and vegetables, but don't entirely skip chips or dessert either. Since I tend to be an all or nothing person, I've tried to cut out cookies cold turkey. But it hasn't worked. I end up craving the "forbidden" food and the overeating it. Knowing that I can still have pizza or pasta makes things easier. In fact, I often make a little game out of it in trying to find healthy variations on my favorite foods. A stuffed crust pizza covered with sausage is a heart attack on a plate, but a slice of thin crust pizza covered with broccoli and mushrooms is a relatively healthy meal. Since nothing is off limits to me, I can eat at my favorite restaurants and go out with friends. I do try to watch what I eat, but have what I want in moderation. Remember, too, that you need to eat. Cutting out too many calories can mess with your metabolism and stall your weight loss.
3. Broaden your food horizons. One of the biggest problems for me when trying to lose weight is that I get bored. I have a bad habit of eating the same thing for days on end. However, there are plenty of healthy options out there. Look through low-fat cookbooks to get some ideas. Even if you don't cook much, you can get an idea of what a healthy meal looks like -- or who knows, you might even be inspired to make a recipe. Also try to make a point to sample healthy cuisine from other countries. I'm fortunate in that I live in New York City so there are a vairety of ethnic restaurants in my neighborhood. I love Moroccan couscous with vegetables, as well as aloo gobi, which is an Indian dish made with cauliflower, potatoes and tomatoes. I also recently sampled shabu shabu, which is a Japanese hot pot. Basically, you're given a pot of boiling water along with fresh vegetables and very thinly sliced lean meats. You cook the ingredients, add some spices and have a very plain, but delicious meal. I've found that by mixing it up when it comes to my eating, my healthy meals stay exciting.
4. Train for a charity event. Many of the fitness magazines and articles that I've read have suggested training for a race as a means to gain motivation while exercising. For me, however, I feel even more motivated while training for a race that benefits a charity. For one thing, you're helping people so your participation is important. Also, most of these events require that you raise a certain amount of money. That said, when my friends and family give me donations, I feel obligated to do a good job.
5. Don't overdo it. Like I said, I'm usually an all or nothing person. A few years ago, I started going to the gym every day for two hours and then eventually did a 20-mile charity walk. I then crashed and didn't exercise as much or watch what I was eating ... and the weight crept back on. Find a fitness plan that's more sustainable and that won't burn you out.
6. Help others with their weight loss and fitness goals (assuming that they want your advice; don't offer it unsolicited). Having a support system is great, but for me, it's even more motivating when I'm the one assisting others. Whenever the topic of weight loss comes up, I'll let friends know of an article I read or a healthy recipe I came across. It's not only fun to share ideas, but it keeps me going, as well.
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