Between January 1st and April 1st of this year, I lost twenty pounds. I didn’t take any diet pills or a toxic cleanse or eat grapefruit every day. I ate less and I moved a lot more. However, I will let you in on the details of what worked for me:
1. Failure. Seriously, all the times I failed at losing weight helped me. I learned what didn’t work. I needed those failures. They helped me have a strategic plan this time around. It’s the same thing I say to my students. Some of them need to take my class twice. It’s necessary due to the skills they arrived with. Failure helped me.
2. Positive and Negative Reinforcement. I entered into two weight loss challenges during these months. One was with my husband, and the consequences were negative– if I lost the least body weight percentage, I’d have to watch and attend any sporting events of his choosing for six months. He’d have to become a vegetarian for six months. (I won!) The other challenge was at my gym, and there were rewards (positive reinforcement) for the top three winners– cash, a pedicure, free training sessions, etc.
You could set this kind of system up for yourself as well. At different points during the three months, I needed both positive rewards and negative consequences to motivate me. You could say if you lose weight, then you treat yourself to a weekend getaway. If you gain weight, then you have to donate money to a charity that you don’t believe in. Whatever would motivate you.
3. Support and Accountability. I found support through the women at my gym, my family members, and friends. Make your goals known to those around you. Saying out loud to your nearest and dearest “I am going to lose ___ pounds” makes shit real. However, I also found support online through MyFitness Pal, an app that allows you to record your daily calories. You can have “friends” on this app, much like Facebook, and you keep up with each other’s progress, so if I don’t log in for three days, my friends will see that. We gave each other little pushes. This virtual community really kept me accountable
4. Write it DOWN! MyFitness Pal also relates to what really helped me succeed this time around. I recorded everything I ate through their system, which is really easy to use, and I always knew how I was doing. On the ride home from work as I brainstormed what was for dinner, I also had the knowledge that I only had 500 calories left for dinner. I am still recording through this app, but I have done it enough that now I have a rough idea of my calorie intake without recording it. This is my #1 recommendation: write it down!
4. Make Specific Goals and Make Them Seen. I learned a long time ago that I needed specific goals and deadlines to accomplish anything. I set the specific timeline and specific weight I wanted to lose. I wrote these down on all my calendars and sticky notes. I wrote a list of why I wanted to lost weight on the notes function on my laptop and I saw it every day. Be specific. Write down a goal and a specific date when you want to reach that goal. I mean down to the day. My next goal is to run my first 5K on June 1st. There, I said it! Hold me accountable.
As a disclaimer, I also don’t think that anyone needs to lose weight. I wasn’t happy with my weight, so I wanted to do this. I don’t think anyone needs to be skinny or live up to society’s ideas of what is beautiful. Be happy with yourself. But, if you want to lose weight, for your health or another reason, I wish you the best. I hope you find what works for you, and add to my list below in the comments.