In 2004 I was 200 lbs at 5’2 “. In 2006, I was 140. By 2008, I was 118 (too low). Now I am between 125-130, and I wear a size 4-6. For me, I didn’t want to be a “marathon” loser. I didn’t want to lose much weight in a short period. I wanted long-term weight loss that I could reasonably maintain forever.
This led me to my “LIFESTYLE CHANGE,”… A phrase I picked up somewhere with a concept that made sense. So here’s what I did:
No dieting. I didn’t restrict myself from any food I enjoyed. I found it makes me crave those forbidden foods even more. I started by eating my regular meals but would automatically throw away a piece of it as soon as I got it. The size I threw out began with one single bite.
Then two bites… eventually almost 1/2 of my original serving size. It is about the size I eat now. I found that I needed to eat more food at each meal. After I was accustomed to eating less, then I incorporated more healthy foods (veggies) and reduced (not eliminated) the “worse” ones. I also cut out processed foods and snacks completely.
I found that I used snacks to combat boredom and stress. For example, I drink soda daily but only allow myself one small can daily. If I drink it in the morning, then too bad. The rest of the day, I get water. If I want candy, I cut it in half and either throw it away or give it to the kids. I also wouldn’t go inside a fast food place. I only went through the drive-through. Then I would only get the kid’s meal. This made it impossible for me to get “seconds.”
I still cut my food in half at restaurants and would not bring leftovers home. So that’s it for the food part.
However, I also had to move more for my lifestyle change to work. I parked farther, used stairs, and took walks. ANY increase in your activity is still more than what you’re doing (or not doing) now. So could you increase your move a little at a time? Too much too fast will make you want to quit sooner.
Finally, my lifestyle change required me to examine my behaviors and relationships with food and people. This needed me to get the help of a therapist eventually. I had to tackle demons that I refused to acknowledge. I had to find my voice and be heard (I was very nonconfrontational and used food to quiet myself and cope). I had to work out my problems. Once I did, I found the NEED to use food as a coping device was gone.
It took me a couple of years to get my weight down to 140… And a couple more to where I am now. But I did it right, and I have kept it off. I have taught myself to eat healthier and to move more. I have released my demons. Now, if I want a piece of cake, I can have one without inhaling the whole thing. I can enjoy fun foods without destroying myself.
Everyone’s lifestyle change requires something different. So take it slow and do it right.
The Key to Long-Term Weight Loss? Maintenance!
Are you struggling to lose weight? You’re not alone. Nearly 45 million Americans diet annually, and $33 billion is spent on weight loss products. Despite this, the average American adult is overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 28.7. What’s the problem? Why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off?
The answer, in short, is maintenance. Losing weight is hard enough, but keeping the weight off is even more challenging. A National Weight Control Registry study found that only 5% of people who lose weight can keep it off for five years or more. So, what’s the key to long-term weight loss? Maintenance! Below are some tips to help you maintain your weight loss for the long haul.
Create a Calorie Deficit
The first step to losing weight is creating a calorie deficit—eating fewer calories than your body needs. To create a calorie deficit, you need to know how many calories you’re eating and how many calories you burn through exercise and everyday activities. Once you know these numbers, you can determine how many calories you must eat daily to lose weight.
It’s important to note that everyone’s calorie needs are different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a calorie deficit.
However, as a general rule of thumb, most people need to eat 500-1,000 fewer calories than they burn daily to lose 1-2 pounds weekly.
Exercise is another critical component of long-term weight loss. Not only does exercise help you burn calories and create a calorie deficit, but it also helps build muscle mass, boosting your metabolism. As such, aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises—such as walking, jogging, biking, or swimming—most days of the week.
Finding an exercise routine, you enjoy is essential to be more likely to stick with it in the long run. For example, don’t force yourself to do it if you hate running on the treadmill! Instead, try something else—like taking a dance class or hiking with friends. The key is finding an activity that both challenges and excites you so you’ll be motivated to stick with it for the long haul.
Every bit counts! And the more active you are, the easier to keep the weight off.
Find Your Balance
The most important thing to remember when maintaining your weight loss is to find a balance that works for you. You don’t have to deprive yourself of all the foods you love to stay at a healthy weight—but you also can’t indulge all the time either. Find a happy medium that allows you to enjoy your favorite foods while still staying on track with your goals. For example, if you want a slice of pizza for dinner, try having a salad for lunch instead.
Another important tip for maintaining long-term weight loss is portion control—even if you eat healthy foods. For example, because avocado has healthy fats doesn’t mean you should eat everything in one sitting!
Be mindful of how much food you put on your plate, and try not to overeat, even if it is healthy.
Losing weight is hard enough as it is—but keeping the weight off can seem impossible! However, by following the tips above—such as creating a calorie deficit and exercising regularly—you can establish healthy habits that will help you maintain your weight loss for years to come!