Over the years, just about all of us with any sort of curves have had to fight the battle of the bulge for one reason or another. Many women of this writer’s acquaintance packed on the pounds while pregnant. Some of us just stress ate, or used food as a coping mechanism. Whatever the reason, losing weight is not an easy proposition.
Once, a few decades back, when the metabolism was much faster than it is now, this writer took off over 50 pounds. It took 15 months, but faced with needing to do the same thing again, a Buzzfeed article quoting ten people who shared their secrets for weight loss has inspired the sharing of what actually worked for me.
Things To Do
Toss Out Your Scale – so much emphasis is put on actual pounds shed, that plateaus and short-term weight gain from natural fluctuations like the menstrual cycle are demoralizing. They just are. Instead, use the way clothes fit as a guide and inspiration. Hang that dress or pair of jeans you want to wear on the closet door and look at it every morning. Then make the determination to get into it. Every…single…day. Celebrate when you have lost enough to move down a couple dress or bra sizes.
Learn To Cook – one of the culprits in weight GAIN is eating out, and prepared food options. Between the large portions and less than wholesome ingredients used at fast food and some other establishments, some of us gain weight just looking at restaurant food. Prepared foods are loaded with all kinds of stuff that contribute to weight gain and food addiction. Simple cooking – steaming vegetables, baking meat, boiling rice – is very easy. The resources to get started are readily available. (All of us screwed up learning to cook. Don’t sweat it. And don’t worry about fancy, elaborate dishes. Save those for special occasions.)
Watch Portion Sizes – even with homemade food, eating too much is a major issue in weight gain. (My family’s arroz con pollo…I always eat too much rice.) The secret to success of the many companies out there that market ready made weight loss meals is that the portion size is small. Keeping portions smaller doesn’t require spending a lot of money, just keeping an eye on the intake. In the beginning, it’s helpful to use a scale and measuring tools to get an idea of what proper portion sizes are.
Eliminate or Limit Sugar, Excess Salt, and Starchy White Foods – one of the things that physicians groups have been preaching for a while disguised as ways to avoid diabetes is limiting starches and sugars that spike insulin. Amazingly enough, for a lot of us, these are also the foods that cause bloat, and belly fat. In the beginning, it is not easy and will result in withdrawal symptoms, but it is a necessary thing right up there with avoiding MSG.
Walk Everyday – this writer will admit she spends entirely too much time on a chair typing her days away, but the first time the weight came off began with a summer spent walking back and forth to work as a lifeguard. It was a practice kept up for over 10 years as I was working for a local entity once I quit the pool. Walking is the most simple exercise one can do, and will force the muscles to move. Doing so regularly with a pet is helpful.
Things NOT To Do
Don’t Eat After Six O’Clock – it is not always doable to quit eating that early, but going to bed with a pretty empty stomach is. There are several reasons to do this beginning with burning stored calories while sleeping and not having heartburn in the night. Sleep is essential in a weight-loss scheme for a number of reasons including hormonal balances. Not eating late will help with it.
Don’t Obsess Over Slips – imperfection is what makes us all human. Falling off the bike or the wagon is bound to happen from time to time. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT! Start over.
Don’t Deprive Yourself of Special Treats – every now and then, it’s good to take a break. When at a party or out with friends indulge and don’t feel guilty about it. So long as the food in question does not involve an intolerance, go for it.
Don’t Overdo It On The Exercise In The Beginning– one of the reasons so many people get frustrated and quit just about any endeavor is going all in on something and either not seeing results or burning out. Losing a significant amount of weight takes a long time. There is no such thing as taking meds for a week to ten days and seeing life-long, lasting weight loss results. It truly is a lifestyle change and does require commitment to achieve, but getting into the groove gradually works for some people better than diving in feet first. Real life is not like “The Biggest Loser.”
There are those out there who need support groups and can be more effective with their plans using various food and exercise tracking tools found online. If this is what works, go for it. Some of us have found success beginning with identifying food intolerances, and doing an elimination diet. This writer also has had success eliminating dairy and alcohol from the diet for a time. (This episode actually involved antibiotics, steroids and other drugs that caused an upset stomach. That was part of it.) The thing about losing weight is that no one approach save limited portions and some exercise works for everybody. Be yourself. Be inspired. And let the real you come out.