Starting your weight loss journey

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One of the hardest things to do in life is lose weight.  It brings forth memories of deprivation and eating food that is healthy, but lacked any taste.  Maybe you think of working out too much and whether or not you can do it.  Whatever the case it doesn’t change the fact that you may need to lose weight.  It could be for health reasons or you don’t look good in your clothes anymore.  How do you get started?  How do you do it, without the negative feelings you may have had during previous attempts?  Here’s how:

  1. You need to want to change. It sounds obvious, but how many times have you tried to lose weight and sabotaged your efforts because you really didn’t want to do it.   Or did you feel forced to lose weight because someone else wanted you to.  Don’t lose weight for anyone else other than yourself.  Then do it because you want to make a change.
  2. Understand how long it will take. Losing weight is not a quick process. It took me 10 months to lose 35 pounds.  That’s how long it took to make a total lifestyle change.  You may take more or less time, but it takes time.  Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint.  When we try to sprint, we fail.
  3. Set realistic goals. Have long-term and short-term goals.  Your long-term goal is where you want to end up.  Create short-term goals to get you there in small steps.  Your long-term goal can be to lose 100 pounds.  A short-term goal is to stop drinking drinks with calories and drink only non-calorie drinks.  When you hit that goal and are ready for the next, then do something else, such as starting to journal the food you eat.  A bad goal is something like: losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks or cutting down to 1000 calories a day to start.  Another example of a bad goal is a New Year’s Resolution.  You’d be surprised how much the weight loss industry banks on your resolution failing.  Gyms especially make a ton of money on the fact that you bought that membership in January and stopped going in February.  Failure of New Year’s resolutions is a safe bet.
  4. Remove the word “diet” from your vocabulary. Think of a diet as this: a temporary solution for weight loss.  I don’t know about you, but I want my weight loss to be permanent.  Going on a diet is not the way to do this.  How many times do you know someone who has done this: goes on a diet, loses weight, stops dieting, bad habits return, weight returns, wonders why, then repeat cycle.  The key to stopping this cycle is a lifestyle change.  This means making changes you can live with for life.  Is the thought of going without chocolate causing you stress?  Find a way to keep it.  There will be things you will give up for healthier things, but you have to be willing to live with the healthier things for life.
  5. Start with small changes. If you’re a junk food junkie now who hates vegetables and eats 3000 calories a day, you will not all of a sudden become a raw vegan and eat 1500.  It doesn’t matter how much you want to.  However, you may want to try a new vegetable.  See if there is something you like.  The key is to keep it small.  If you make small changes that you can handle, they will stick.

I have had many instances where I failed at losing weight for the reasons I listed above.  I tried cutting calories all at once and was crying at the end of the day because I was terribly hungry.  I’ve dieted like everyone else and gained it all back.  When I finally figured out that slowing down worked much better, things worked out.  My first goal was to stop eating the snacks that were available at work.  It was two months before I even started counting calories.  Your baby steps will be different.  Just start somewhere.  If a step is too much, make it smaller.  Adjust as you go.  If you have a setback, don’t give up.

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