Monday, January 11, 2010
10 Things I Know About Losing Weight (and Sometimes Forget!)
This post is not about the usual tips for weight loss that are repeated over and over again everywhere. It's about what I have figured out to do and remember to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
1. It's never over. How many times have I thought about weight control as something that would end when the "correct" number of pounds was gone - suffer for a time; then resume life as usual. As unpleasant as it is, the fact that weight maintenance involves lifelong change is totally true! This is probably the hardest one for me. The time when I reach an optimum weight is the time when I'm most likely to forget all my own advice.
2. It's an equation. Calories in, calories out - calorie excess, calorie deficit. I know that many things can affect the equation, but people get hung up on the details. Emotions and beliefs don't negate the equation, as in "It's my birthday, so it's okay." It's old math; 2 + 2 = 4. Period.
3. If not now, when? Procrastination is my enemy when it comes to losing weight. Always after the - party, summer, weekend, birthday, dinner, trip. Well, when then? When I hear people say that they just can't lose weight, I always think to myself that they can lose, but they can't START.
5. Love yourself. I am absolutely convinced that weight will not go away and stay away when I hate what I see in the mirror. It also seems counterintuitive to fight against oneself; how can conflict produce a good result. I remind myself that I want to lose weight because I want to treat myself better, that I'm doing it for me. If weight loss is to fix something, I believe it won't work.
6. Keep going. I always want to give up after I eat french fries or a piece of cake. I try to remind myself to forget it and keep going.
7. Know the Triggers. Triggers to overeat are different for everybody. Mine involve anything upsetting or stressful - the furnace quits forever; I'm sick; my husband is sick; a fender bender; someone's road rage. Triggers are things that make me feel entitled to eat whatever I want, equation be damned. Part of this is to have strategies because there will always triggers.
8. Be kind. Life is happening now, not later. I know I will not go through this life without eating pie, potato chips, and fries. Moderation is key and so is being realistic. Friday is chocolate day at our house. Always a little dark chocolate for dessert. Knowing that I grant myself that treat without guilt allows me to avoid the chocolate aisle otherwise. (It doesn't work at Christmas which is just one of those times when the best I can do is manage overindulgence.)
9. No timelines. I find that the very least productive thing is to have a date/event in mind by which time I will have lost X pounds. Almost every time I do this, I end up heavier by the appointed date rather than lighter. Maybe I'm just perverse, but having a deadline seems to invite negative behaviour.
10. Don't obsessively focus on losing weight. When I spend any siginificant part of my day focused on losing weight - counting calories, writing down food consumed, planning meals, and, mostly, continuously thinking about it all - I get sick of the whole business. This can result in giving up on the weight loss instead of just giving up thinking about it too much.
I know what to eat and how much. I know how important exercise is. I know where to find information about calories and nutrients, about exercise and cardiovascular health. I need to get the whole weight loss thing straight in my head. These ideas help me sort it out.