I am not a newbie when it comes to riding the proverbial weight loss roller coaster. I’ve tried all of the popular weight loss programs, and while each program has a different variation, generally, they all echo the same message. With that being said, I am not going to sit here and claim that one is better than the other because it is all about personal preference.
This is also not a post about the logistics of any of these particular diets—my real aim here is to uncover the tools necessary to set yourself up for sustainable success. Any program that you commit to will have its ups and downs that you will have to navigate. There is no magic diet; the secret to success is YOU! Deciding to cut out carbs or become vegan will only work if you can stick with it. So when choosing a program, be mindful of the long-term.
As someone who’s tried every diet under the sun, I like to think I know a few things about what keeps you on track. Below is a list of tricks for your weight-loss toolkit—which will (hopefully!) become looser with these tips.
This is probably the biggest one of all—to stay the course. Whatever your plan may be, you need to be able to follow through and be patient. This means giving your body sufficient time to adapt to your new routine. I am not talking days or weeks—it often takes months for you to obtain measurable results.
You’ve heard it before: a twenty-pound weight gain didn’t happen overnight, and on the flip-side, it’s going to take more than a couple of days of healthy eating to see results. You will have horrible days, and you will have days that you feel infinitely motivated. Stay for the long haul, and reap the rewards of your dedication.
After an incredibly successful couple of weeks of tracking my calories and consistently working out, I was over the moon when I saw a number I hadn’t seen in a long time when I stepped on the scale. After an embarrassing amount of jumping around, I decided that I deserved a celebration.
This is where I did something that I’m not proud of: One glass of wine turned into four, and then I voraciously tore into the Halloween candy. Needless to say, I had a huge wake-up call the next morning when I stepped on the scale, and I was seven (yes, seven!) pounds heavier! I wanted to pick up that scale, throw it, and then beat it into a million pieces with a hammer. I felt angry and ashamed—all my progress had been erased! At that moment, I wanted to throw in the towel.
But I didn’t. I took a deep breath and decided to chalk this up to a learning experience.
In this very depressing story, the silver lining is that instead of giving up, I picked up my bruised ego and got back on the wagon. And I am proud to say that it didn’t translate into a significant gain, and I was back to my pre-binge weight a few days later.
One day at a time.
There are going to be forks in the road. There are going to be times when you take one step forward only to take two steps back, but if you keep at it, those small steps will add up to huge gains, and you’ll be happy that you stayed the course. You have to accept that weight loss is not a steady line downwards; it’s a series of peaks and valleys that rise and fall.
3) Support Team
When you’re feeling discouraged and ready to shove copious amounts of cake in your face, a reliable team of cheerleaders can make all the difference. When I say team, this could be anything from a group of people to only one person that you can count on to motivate you when you need it.
This person or group of people are going to be your lifeline when you’re stuck in a rut; they are the people that will remind you how far you’ve come and point out how awesome you are. So choose wisely, and don’t forget to ask them if they are comfortable being your cheerleader. Being that person isn’t for everyone—it can be a huge emotional commitment.
4) The Ability to Say No
Start practicing now; Saying no is an art that all participants in a weight loss journey must master. Whether you come up with a little white lie as to why you can’t have that third glass of wine with your friend, or you simply refuse without feeling like you have to explain, have a plan, and don’t break under peer pressure.
There are going to be temptations—the donuts in the break room, happy hour with your co-workers, your best friend’s birthday—and you’re going to have to find a way to resist them.
It may be uncomfortable initially, but once you make saying no habit, it will get easier. That glorious donut may give you a euphoric sugar high, but it will be short-lived and leave you feeling sluggish and guilty for giving in. Resisting temptation will boost your confidence—which will be a dopamine high that will last all day!
5) Beware of the Haters
Okay, so maybe they’re not all haters per-say. Perhaps it’s your aunt trying to get you to eat her famous five-layer lasagna or your friend who really wants you to have beer and wings with them. Be wary of people who don’t see the importance of your health and fitness goals.
Whether they roll their eyes at you for portioning out your food or make a snide comment about your goals, remember, their attitude is not about you; it’s about their own insecurities. So keep on, keeping on!
Now you have some tips to aid in your weight loss journey, and the only thing left to do is decide which program is right for you. Choose a lifestyle that is healthy and has the potential for longevity. Remember that anything worth having takes hard work.
You’ve got this!