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 a lot of weight in a short period of time. I wanted long term weight loss that I could reasonably maintain forever.
This led me to my “LIFESTYLE CHANGE”… A phrase that I picked up somewhere with a total concept that made sense. 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 started 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 was eating too much food at each meal. After I was accustomed to eating less then I incorporated more healthy foods (veggies) and reduced (not eliminated) the “badder” ones. I also cut out processed foods and snacks completely. I found that I used snacks to combat boredom and stress. I drink soda every day but I only allow myself 1 small can a day. If I drink it in the morning then too bad. The rest of the day I get water. If I want candy then I cut in half and either throw the half 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 kids meal. This made it impossible for me to get “seconds”.
At restaurants I still cut my food in half and would not bring home leftovers. That’s it for the food part.
For my lifestyle change to work, though, I also had to move more. I parked farther, used stairs, took walks. ANY increase in your activity is still more than what you’re doing (or not doing) now. Increase your activity a little at a time. Too much too fast will make you want to quit sooner.
Finally, my lifestyle change required me to look at my lifestyle behaviors and my relationship with food and people. This required me to eventually get the help of a therapist. I had to tackle demons that I refused to acknowledge. I had to find my voice and be heard (I was very non confrontational 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 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. 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. In fact, nearly 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, 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 harder. In fact, a study by the National Weight Control Registry found that only 5% of people who lose weight are able to 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—that is, 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’re burning through exercise and everyday activities. Once you know these numbers, you can determine how many calories you need to eat each day to lose weight.
It’s important to note that everyone’s calorie needs are different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes 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 each day to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Exercise is another important 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, which in turn boosts your metabolism. As such, aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise—such as walking, jogging, biking, or swimming—most days of the week.
It’s also important to find an exercise routine that you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it in the long run. If you hate running on the treadmill, don’t force yourself to do it! Instead, try something else—like taking a dance class or going for hikes with friends. The key is finding an activity that both challenges and excites you so that you’ll be motivated to stick with it for the long haul.
Every bit counts! And the more active you are, the easier it will be to keep the weight off.
Find Your Balance
The most important thing to remember when trying to maintain 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 in order 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 know you want a slice of pizza for dinner, try having a salad for lunch instead.
Another important tip for how to maintain long term weight loss is portion control—even if you are eating healthy foods. Just because an avocado has healthy fats doesn’t mean that you should eat the whole thing in one sitting!
Be mindful of how much food you are putting on your plate and try not to overeat, even if it is healthy food.
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!