A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Getting started

on January 8, 2014

While I didn’t start my weight loss journey with a New Year’s resolution (see my story here), I know lots of people are looking right now for ways to make changes their own diet, exercise and weight. Looking back at July 2012 and the things that helped me the most, I realized I still hold these things at the core of my weight maintenance as well. While I’m not a weight loss expert, I think that says good things about the value of these keys for me.

Be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself about what you’re really eating (tracking is key in this regard for me) and how active you really are. If you’d asked me before I started tracking with WW what my diet was like, I’d told you I ate healthy foods and only “splurged” every once in a while. When I started actually writing down what I was eating, I realized the healthy meals were few and far between and the splurges were a lot more frequent. I also didn’t really realize how high calorie those splurges were until I looked closer! It was a little painful to admit to myself that I wasn’t fat by some cosmic cruel joke – I was fat because I ate too much and moved too little. I work to keep that honesty, to avoid the “just one little taste” and “this doesn’t count” that makes it easy to slide back downhill and to stick to the workouts I need. Be honest with yourself about why you are making these changes and why you are eating. Early on, I made a list of reasons to lose weight that I updated frequently when I was trying to lose weight. I reviewed that list any time I was having a hard day, any time I was struggling to avoid a binge or food temptation and sometimes for fun to check off the things I’d accomplished on the list (yay for boots!). That list helped me a lot during the times when I wanted to eat because I was tired or stressed or upset, rather than truly being hungry. I found the Beck Diet book to be really helpful for working on the mental aspect of weight loss. For most of us who are overweight, it isn’t just an issue of calories in and out. There’s a lot of mental issues at play as well.

To start with, these two guys were my "why". Now, I know it is just as much for me.

To start with, these two guys were my “why”. Now, I know it is just as much for me.

Start small. Odds are good if you try to overhaul everything at once, you’ll feel overwhelmed and give up pretty quick. I know I would. At the beginning, I was confused by the huge number of points WW gave me. Once I had decided to eat better and lose weight, I wanted to fix it all right then and I really did feel like it was hard to eat all of those points when I was so motivated to do it all “right”. Now I appreciate the value in starting small and easing slowly down. It makes it a lot more liveable. Pick a couple of things to start with (for me, it was eating fruit for snacks instead of pastries, tracking and getting 10 minutes of activity in a day). Once you have a handle on those for a couple of weeks, step it up a notch. This is a lifelong journey, not a race, so there is no rush.

Don’t do anything to lose weight that you are not willing to do for the rest of your life. If you start a “diet”, when that diet ends you’re just going to regain it all. That’s the real value in starting small – it allows you to only make changes you can live with. I wrote extensively about this here and honestly, if the world only ever remembers one thing I’ve said about weight loss, that would be a good thing.

Make note of your non-scale victories just as much as the scale victories. The numbers on the scale or the measuring tape are not the only markers of progress and success. I promise you there will be weeks you’ve done everything right and the scale does not reflect that. I always heard that at the beginning and thought I would be the exception (ha!). You can only control the inputs in life, not the outputs. There will be times of undeserved gains and undeserved losses. Keeping track of the other things, like your jewelry fitting differently, sitting in a booth at a restaurant or any of a hundred other things I’ve noticed along the way have helped me feel rewarded on the hard weeks.

I tried on my old pants size on a day I was frustrated with my weight loss stalling out. Eye opening!

I tried on my old pants size on a day I was frustrated with my weight loss stalling out. Eye opening!

Don’t rely on motivation. Motivation is fickle. Instead, each day wake and choose to make the best food and activity choices you can make on that particular day in your life. We take this day by day for the rest of our lives. On the one  hand it seems like a never ending struggle, but that also means that each day is a new chance to start over after the bad days. It gets easier, but I still know that every day I’m making the choice to do this. The 80s kid in me is hearing He-Man say “I am the power!” in my head right now and I cannot think of a better note to end on. 🙂

PS I’ve added my email contact info and a Facebook link over on the side bar if you have any questions about getting started specifically with WW or with weight loss in general that you don’t want to include in the comments. Ask me anything – there’s no such thing as a stupid question and while I lost my weight with Weight Watchers, I tend to research and think of weight loss in more global terms than just that program.

12 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Getting started

  1. Lauren says:

    Great tips, I especially agree with the tracking your calories one… it’s like that saying – what you eat in secret, you wear in public! Being honest with myself in what I was eating was a huge step towards my own weight loss!

    • It’s amazing how easy it is to lose track of things. Even now , if I don’t track I hear a little voice telling me that it would be okay to have just a little of this or that. Those little bits add up quickly!

  2. Jaime says:

    awesome tips. and i read that post about why you got started 🙂 keep on rocking

  3. leannenalani says:

    Even when I go overboard I am stuck in the habit of tracking, which is kind of a good thing because it motivates me to stop sooner.

    • It’s probably a good habit to be stuck with. I don’t think it would take me long at all to get off track if I wasn’t writing things down, even though my food choices all feel easy now. A year of healthy eating isn’t enough to overcome 30 years of bad habits without a little tracking help, for me anyway.

  4. Thank you for this great post, Jessica! I need to make my list of reasons for losing weight. I’ve got reasons in my head, but I’m so visual and goodness knows I have an abundance of blank books, so that would be a great use for one of them! 🙂 I think it would help having this visual reminder, particularly during rough times. I also love the tip for starting small. Losing weight can be so overwhelming and it’s easy to get discouraged by all that you think you need to do to make it happen. I need to keep this in mind as I get back on track! Great tips! 🙂

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