Well, it’s a new year. All those weight-loss resolutions are probably already a distant memory! For most of us, we are in the dead of winter, and the thought of exercise and eating healthy just seems like something we can put off.
I’ve never struggled with my weight, but after living in South Africa for two and a half years, where starchy food was in abundance, and fried food was what people could afford, I’ve packed on a few unwanted pounds. I am not an avid gym patron, nor am I am a health food nut. I’m not a doctor or an expert. I’m just an average person that has found a few things that’s worked.
I get little pleasure when I “feel the burn,” and the best part of the gym for me is that there is a TV where I can watch the food network. I’ve compiled a list of tips that have worked for me.
It’s nothing amazingly scientific, just suggestions for the average person who needs to knock off a few pounds.
9 Tips To Lose Weight
1. Paying For It Gives You Motivation
I find that I am cheaper than I am lazy. If I spend money on something, I want my money’s worth. I currently have access to a gym, free of charge, and therefore have a difficult time motivating myself to go. After all, if I don’t go, it’s no loss to me, financially. I find if I pay for a month at a gym, I want my money’s worth.
2. Avoid the Over-Motivated
It’s always easier to do something when you know you’re not alone. Misery loves company. But not all companies will help you. Avoid the over motivated. At first, someone who is exceptionally motivated might seem like the perfect weight-loss buddy. But don’t be deceived. Whenever I try to lose weight with someone who is over-motivated, I find that I will never be as motivated as them, and therefore lose interest altogether.
3. Avoid the Under-Motivated
At first, this may seem like the perfect solution. If I were with someone who wasn’t motivated, then I would look motivated by comparison. However, I learned the hard way, that if my non-motivated friend wanted to cheat and promised not to tell anyone, then I would cheat too.
4. Accountability Is Powerful
After taking tip two and three into account, it is best to remain accountable with people you trust. Most people aren’t excited about sharing their weight weekly, but I do find that this motivates me to live a healthier lifestyle, if I know my weight will be broadcasted to other people. Choose wisely, though. You want people who you trust and who will uplift you, not tear you down.
You want people who can look at you objectively, meaning they don’t tear you down, but also they don’t falsely compliment you on being helpful. There is nothing more annoying than people looking at me in disgust and telling me I don’t need to lose weight. I appreciate the compliment, but I also need to take ownership of my own body and make a choice to lose weight on my own (or with a doctor if specific health risks apply). The best accountability partner you can find is the one that will love you for who you are, as you are, and offer uplifting words of advice and encouragement.
5. Ignore the Number On The Scale
We are obsessed with the scale. I do like the scale as a reference point, but the bottom line is: Am I healthy? Can I button my pants? And am I comfortable in my body? If the answer is yes to those three, then I am successful. It doesn’t matter what the number on the scale is. The number doesn’t change what I look like. Whether the scale says 90lbs or 190lbs, this is what I look like, and as long as I am healthy, I can button my pants and feel comfortable in my body, I can stop stressing about the number.
6. Sustainability Of Your Weight Loss Program
I hate to admit it, but the best diets aren’t diets at all. They are lifestyle changes. I cannot stand to hear those words. Isn’t there a magic pill that allows me to eat what I want, let me lose weight, allow me never to have to work out again, and lowers my cholesterol? Apparently, there is no such pill. People have recommended so many healthy lifestyle changes to me, and the reality is that most of them aren’t sustainable. I am never going to give up pizza.
I am never going to give up red meat. I am never going to give up a million different foods, so what is sustainable? Moderation has been my biggest success story. Since I know myself, I have realized that if I deprive myself of something I love, I might last for a while, but then I will eventually binge-eat it when the craving gets strong enough, and then I undo all the wasted days spent without eating it.
I find if I can take something I love and limit how many times I eat, I am much more successful, and then I look forward to eating it even more. If I agree to eat pizza (in moderation) every Friday, then that is more realistic than just deciding not to eat it at all. If your healthy lifestyle is not sustainable, then although the pounds might initially come off, they likely won’t stay off.
7. Substitute Foods
Some of my biggest food vices are easily replaceable with healthier options. White bread can be replaced with whole-wheat. Milk with skim-milk. If I do homemade pizza, I can use skim-milk mozzarella, which to me, tastes the same. I love eggs, but I know the yolks aren’t right for you, but I think eating plain egg whites aren’t even worth the effort to crack the egg. If I make an omelet with two eggs, I can instead use one yolk, but two egg whites. I try to find little ways here and there to make my eating sustainable and healthier without noticing.
8. Set Realistic Goals
Don’t set a goal that is so unattainable you are destined to fail. In my case, since I am a smaller woman, I have less to lose and therefore have to expect not to lose as fast. A good friend of mine, for example, can lose a lot of weight the first week or two before leveling off, whereas I can take weeks to lose a relatively small amount. We have different body types, and I need to be aware of that and not get discouraged. Get to know your body, talk to an expert, and with that information set realistic goals that you can strive for.
9. Don’t Compare
It’s so easy to compare yourself to someone else. Don’t! Our bodies and metabolisms and health conditions are unique from one another. Compete against yourself. Don’t let others discourage you, because, perhaps, they are losing more weight than you.
As mentioned before, I am not an expert, and this article should not be substituted for a wellness plan from a professional. Know your own body, your own limits, and good luck!