||01-04-2012 06:31 AM
Lessons learned from losing 76 pounds...
The following article is from runnersworld.com. Lessons learned from losing 77lbs
When the OP failed to reference the article many thought that the following was written by the OP, including myself. Even more uncanny is that the OP returned to this thread and failed to clarify that article was not original.
Now we have the original article cited so there won't be any confusion.
It's still great advice, only it was written by 'Dr. Gin' on December 13, 2009.
I've learned a ton in the past 12months, and I see a lot of things on weight loss boards, and just thought I'd share some of the things I learned that I think are important, especially to those who have a lot of weight to lose or those who are new to losing weight.
There's no Secret
Everyone sees me and says, "what's your secret?" They're always dissapointed when I tell them there is none. The bottom line is to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you expend. This takes discipline and very hard work, and there's no avoiding it. Fad diets and exercise plans don't work. Eating well and exercising is the healthiest and most sustainable way to lose weight. It's hard work, so resign yourself to that fact if you're serious about it.
The only thing you can do is your best
Some weeks go well, and some weeks don't. All you can do is exercise and eat healthy. Sometimes we can do this very well, and sometimes circumstances beyond our control come into play and we can't. Once you find something that works for you, just keep doing it when you can (you'll find that's most of the time). Don't make radical changes if you have an off week or two. Have a short memory and look forward, not back. If you're serious about making your weight loss last, only look forward.
Progress not perfection
This cliche is true. You will never eat perfectly and you will never make it to every workout. Just make better choices when you can and focus on improving, rather than beating yourself up for not being perfect. It's especially important not to quit when you mess up once or twice.
Thanksgiving dinner happens every year, like it or not. Your boss caters unhealthy food in for a conference. Your family wants to take you out on the weekend for pizza and beer. Don't deprive yourself from living your life and doing things that people do. Be healthy and fit on your own time and live it up a little when social situations call for it. That doesn't mean go crazy, you can still make better choices (like eating 2 slices of pizza instead of 4). But don't deprive yourself of living life and enjoying things that are meant to be enjoyed.
It doesn't necessarily get easier, but that's okay
This is pretty self explanatory, but very true. There are plenty of days where I'm tired and don't want to make it to the gym, or I don't feel like cooking and could easily order something greasy. It takes hard work to be fit and it always will.
Plan, plan, and plan some more
Plan your meals, your workouts, and have alternatives in mind. Know ahead of time what you are going to eat and when you are going to work out. If you wing it, chances are you'll find a good excuse not to find that healthy meal or find time for the gym. Every week, I plan my lunches and dinners, and write them down.I pre-make my meals so sometimes all I have to do is grab a few things that are already prepared, pop it in the microwave and just heat and eat, with no guessing, I never have to "Figure out" what I'm going to eat, and I'm never left ordering a pizza because I couldn't figure it out.
Be healthy, the thinness will come
Focus on working out hard and eating well because it's healthy for you. It's healthy for you regardless of whether or not your weight changes, That said, if you're working out more than you used to and you're eating better, the weight loss will follow.
The scale is deceptive
Your weight fluctuates... A LOT. You could step on the scale 5 times in one day and see 5lbs of fluctuation. When evaluating your progress, look at the general long term trends and not just what's directly at your feet. I used to get upset when I would gain 2lbs one week; after-all, I worked out and ate exactly like the week before, what's different? But if you look at my weight loss chart over several months, I had a weight gain on average every 2-4 weeks. But for every pound I "gained," I lost 3-4. Realize that fluctuations occur and that weight gain on the scale doesn't necessarily mean you've set yourself back or gained fat. It could be you are replacing fat with muscle, which weighs more than fat, and hell, that's a good thing since more muscle equals a faster metabolism. I struggled for awhile with this one, and finally I gave in to listening to my husband and figured, my clothes are still starting to become baggy, must be muscle gain!!
Cheat meals rule
The physical and mental benefits of having a once-per-week meal where I could go out and literally eat whatever and however much I wanted would need to be calculated by NASA. Knowing I could eat pizza Friday night made it easier to skip at work on Wednesday.
Lifestyle not a Diet
This is so cliche, and I used to HATE when people said it to me before I made the change myself. But this mental shift was the most important aspect to me personally. The point of this idea is to shift your thinking, and your behavior will follow. When you're on a diet, it's temporary, and going "off" the diet means going off the diet completely. It's too black and white: when you're going well, you're on, when you make a mistake, you're off and you allow yourself to say "oh well now I'm off my diet" and you throw everything to the birds. That isn't consistent with "Progress not perfection." If you're living a lifestyle, you're thinking long term. When you live a lifestyle, you can eat out with your family or eat your bosses catering, because you KNOW that tomorrow you'll eat healthy like you ALWAYS do. You can miss a workout because you know that you'll continue to work out the next day.
It's also key mentally when the scale is not being kind. When you have a week where you gain a pound or two, dieters may be more likely to say "Oh well my diet isn't working" or "why should I even do this if it doesn't work." Lifestylers know that sustainable weight loss happens slowly over time. Gaining a pound or two one week, or even two straight weeks, means nothing over the long haul. Lifestylers know that when they look at their weight chart in one month or two months, there net gain/loss is more likely to be favorable than not.
Hopefully this helps some people who are feeling a little lost, or frustrated. I was frustrated many times in my journey, but all I could do is eat well and exercise. And it's paid off.