Stop me if this does not sound familiar to you whatsoever. It’s Sunday night and you are feeling stuffed beyond belief on your sofa/couch/bed/whatever. You do not feel like moving. The only thing you managed to do was put on sweatpants because your jeans just do not fit quite like they used to (meaning they almost keep you from breathing). You vow that starting tomorrow you are going to go on that diet you always promised yourself. The next time you have a family gathering/holiday/vacation of some sort, you are going to look drop dead gorgeous. Since you are starting this diet first thing tomorrow, you probably should nibble on some cookies before bed. Because you will never be having cookies ever again. You don’t have cookies on diets. That’s bad. So you eat a bag of cookies (so you eliminate the temptation tomorrow obviously) and then go to bed, hating how your body feels now but knowing you will kick some serious butt tomorrow.
You wake up feeling still gross from the night before. You aren’t really hungry so you skip breakfast (hey, less calories to worry about. Off to a great start!) and head to work/school/couch. Then lunch time rolls around and you are absolutely starving, but you have vowed to do this diet thing so you grab a yogurt.
Then you struggle through the day and splurge a lot at dinner. Because you are absolutely ravenous, but you think “I can splurge since I was SOO good today. All I had was yogurt. I totally rock.”
Tuesday comes around and you are still going strong, though
megacrankybitch a little bit grumpy. Once again, you aren’t really hungry so you skip breakfast again and go off on your daily routine.
Lunch time comes around and you are starving and lightheaded. You just aren’t feeling well at all and the yogurt just does not seem as delicious as it was yesterday. You can smell tasty smells coming from all around you. So you buy yourself a sandwich and feel absolutely guilty after you ate every single crumb of it plus a bag of chips and a diet coke.
Then Wednesday comes around. The day people like to bring snacks into work to make getting through half the week so much better. Your head instantly perks up at the smell of chocolate.
Yes, you HAVE to have a piece. It would be rude of you not to. After all, isn’t it that dudette’s birthday over there? Whatever would she think if you turned down her cake? Then everyone would know you were on a diet! GASP. So you eat the cake. Skip lunch. And then also go out for dinner that night and splurge a little too much there too because you ruined your diet anyway by eating that cake. So why does it matter? Might as well go that extra mile and ruin it completely. So by the end of the week, you are back to feeling like crap and hating yourself.
So I am sure the story doesn’t go exactly like that for everyone, but I know that is how a lot of my diets started out. Good intentions and bad follow through. Right from the very get go! So here are some helpful tips to get you started.
1. Watch Your Calories! You are probably not eating enough. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they first start trying to lose weight is they cut back drastically on calories. You are never full enough to combat temptation and worse of all, you aren’t even going to lose weight because you send your metabolism into starvation mode. Not good. So look up how many calories it would take to maintain your current weight. To have maintained by weight at 267 pounds, I would have to eat 2,425 calories and not do very much exercise. To lose weight, you pretty much just have to eat less than what it would take to maintain. Start with small gaps. I jumped down to 1900 calories a day which is still pretty filling seeing as a normal person needs around 2,000 calories to maintain a normal body weight. Time and time again, I see people instantly jump down to 1200 calories (or even worse, less than that which is a BIG no-no). Your body is going to go into crazy shock and you aren’t going to be able to keep it up. Start small. For every 10 pounds you lose, lower your calories a little bit more. MyFitnessPal is a great tool to use to keep you on track and see what you should be eating.
2. Make Small Short Term Goals. Not Just Big Future Ones. A lot of people want to lose so much weight by such and such a date. It is normally some kind of event in the future and they want to drop 50 pounds before then (or whatever the case may be). The problem is that this is not enough motivation. It won’t stop you from splurging on big meals and desserts because you think you have all this time. Next thing you know, you have one month to drop all that weight and I am sorry darling, but it is not going to happen. Concentrate on the here and now. Focus on losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. Those small goals add up quickly. In one month, you can lose anywhere from 8 to 10 pounds. In just 3 months, you could be 30 pounds lighter than you are right now.
3. Have Quick Healthy Snacks on Hand at all times. If you are craving an ice cream cone, ask yourself first “would I eat an apple right now instead?” if the answer is no, then you aren’t hungry so don’t eat the ice cream. A lot of cravings are emotional and not because of hunger. If you know your weak points in the day when you are tempted, have that granola or fruit bar nearby so you can munch on that instead of anything in a vending machine or worse, a drive-thru.
4. Tell People you are watching what you eat. Don’t tell them you are on a diet. For whatever reason, when you tell people you are dieting, they always seem to pressure you into eating stuff you don’t want to. “Oh come on, the diet is not permanent. Cut loose a little.” And next thing you know, you are surrounded by empty ice cream tubs and cookie crumbs. Tell people you are watching your health. People seem more respectful of your choices when you are making them so you do not die.
5. You can have whatever you want. In Moderation. Whatever you do, do not tell your mind it cannot have something EVER. Your mind will become like a 2 year old instantly and throw a huge tantrum fit. And trust me, you will eventually give in to said tantrum trip. So tell your body “Yes, you can still have cookies but we have to eat this bowl of tasty vegetables first.” It will be resistant at first, but you may find yourself feeling full and not craving that cookie afterwards. Yes, trick the mind. If the mind asks where its cookie is, you just remind yourself that you are full and your body doesn’t need it right now. Don’t think you are stuck eating the same thing every single day. There are lots of healthy options that are all very filling. Just make sure you eat the healthy stuff before you eat the bad stuff. And if you eat a little too much bad stuff, guess what? Getting healthy doesn’t stop as soon as you eat that cookie. Keep trying to make better choices. Do not wait until Monday to start again.
6. Don’t Go Chuck Norris On Your Work Out Routine the First Week. A lot of people are really excited to start exercising and losing weight, but burn themselves out super fast. To the point they hate exercising. Start small. Anything is better than what you are doing right now. Start by walking around the neighborhood/track/park once a day. Then once that gets easy, either add more distance or start jogging intervals. I would run down to one stop sign, walk to another, jog again, walk, etc. I seriously couldn’t even walk a block when I first started losing weight. Now I can run up to 4 miles.
7. You Deserve to be Healthy, Happy and Fit. Negative self talk does not motivate you to work out. Know that you deserve to live a happy life and no one can tell you otherwise, even yourself. You are good enough. Even if you can’t do a super work out today, just do something. Even if it is cleaning up around your house, walking up the stairs a couple of times, or just taking a very small walk… doing something is way better than nothing. You do not have to be amazing every single time. You just have to try something.
So these are my 7 steps to get you started! Tomorrow I will address motivation a little bit more but this post is already so long… and I need to go grocery shopping! Big shout out to my 2 kitties who modeled for this post! You guys are the best! Remember to like the facebook page or follow along on twitter for random updates and tips!