Weight Loss Tips

Getting Started. Realize that this is a long term project and it is not really about reaching your ultimate goal weight. It’s about making progress. You will start seeing the benefits and feeling better well before you reach your goal, and that is what really matters. I started feeling better physically and emotionally after losing 10lbs! A healthy lifestyle gives back at least as much as it takes.

By starting today, you will get where you want to be the fastest, regardless of how long it is going to take. If you wait until tomorrow, you will just delay your success by that amount of time. Take it slowly in the beginning and celebrate successes. My favorite quote is "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step". The key is to enjoy the journey.

Forming new habits. Don't start exercising and changing your eating at the same time. It's likely too much change to stick. Choose one or the other and work on that until it becomes a habit. I got into an exercise routine for 3 months before I changed my diet. They say it takes 6 weeks for a new habit to be formed. Don’t try to do it all in the first week and then burn out or give up.

Dealing with Addiction. For some people, sugar and refined carbs have to be treated as an addiction. The brain releases dopamine when you eat these foods, and over time you need more and more to get the same feeling, just like any other addiction. I have always experienced a blissful and calming feeling when eating these foods.

When I was ready to change my eating habits, I went cold turkey on all carbs and sugar for three weeks. I went through all kinds of withdrawal symptoms, including crying for no reason, headaches, crankiness, and fatigue. However, after this period of time, it gets 100% easier and healthy food starts to taste better. Eat as much protein, fruit, and vegetables as you need to feel full. I also ate regular cheerios as a snack with no limit. The important part is no cheating, in this initial period. It is not going to be easy -- it will be a withdrawal.

I recommend the book Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. It advocates for eating as much protein as desired, and this means you don't have to count calories (just limit carbs and sugar). There is a chemical and hormone reaction in the body when we eat sugar and carbs and I found this book explained my reactions to these kind of foods. Also, DO NOT starve yourself. If you eat too little, your body will eventually compensate and hormones will adjust, likely causing you to eat even more.

Drinking Smart. You will have to quit drinking soda or diet soda. Also avoid artificial sweeteners in ice tea etc. There are studies that show diet soda can increase your cravings for sweets. Once you don't drink sweeteners, water and soda water will taste great! Now when I taste a diet drink it tastes way too sweet. Give this change a few weeks and you will no longer miss soda.

Saying goodbye to your "trigger" foods. I had to come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to eat what a normal person can. It can take some time to process the fact that you will never be able to eat the pizza and cupcakes that your thin friends or coworkers can. Everyone is given a challenge in life and you cannot eat what others around you can, without gaining weight.

I cannot eat pizza ever. It makes me hungrier and it makes me want to eat other unhealthy food. After two years of giving it up, I never really miss it...unless it is in my face like at a work party. I also have to turn down food at parties because once I eat one piece of something, I run the risk of binging...like a true addict. There are certain foods that trigger a binge.

Remaining Positive. Just because there are certain foods you cannot eat, doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy food. Focus on what you CAN eat instead of what you can't eat. Fresh fruit tastes amazing if your taste buds are clear of artificial sweeteners and candy. A great chicken, turkey, or steak dinner is actually more satisfying than pizza, once you are used to eating that way.

Finding Support. Find an exercise group with people with similar weight loss goals. I joined a Biggest Loser class at my gym and the support from the other people was amazing! Try to surround yourself with people with the same goals. If you cannot find a group, start one. I also could not have gotten to where I am without my personal trainer, and would highly recommend using one.

Slipping up and getting up. If you slip up, you just have to get right back on track. Don't beat yourself up so much you quit. I have slipped up so many times in 2 years that now getting back on track is pretty much part of my routine. You will never be perfect - no one is.

Finding what’s right for you. You have to want it and work for it. The solution and what works is different for everyone. Do your research, start reading motivational magazines, message boards, and blogs etc. But once you get started and the changes become habits, it gets so much easier.

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