Credit: morguefile

I am not the woman who pops back to her pre-pregnancy size within days or weeks of giving birth. I do not hate the women who lose the weight quickly, anymore. The fact is, for me, losing the weight has been a slow process full of trial and error. After three children, I am at a size that I am happy with and have developed ten strategies that helped me on my weight loss journey.

  1. Start today. Actually getting started on a weight loss program is one of the most difficult steps. Do not tell yourself that you will start tomorrow or next week, use the momentum you have now and get started.  The sooner you begin, the sooner you will reach your goal.
  2. Set small, quickly attainable goals. At the beginning of my weight loss journey, I set the goal to lose 40 pounds. That number was overwhelming to me because I had so far to go. I decided to focus on my weekly goals to stay motivated. Each week that the scale went down was a victory. If the scale did not go down, I was not completely derailed because the next week was a new opportunity to succeed.
  3. Choose a plan and stick with it-you cannot do everything at once. As you start to lose weight and become healthy, you will learn more and more about food and exercise. It is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by all the information that is available. If you jump from plan to plan and diet to diet, you will most likely sabotage your weight loss efforts. It takes time to start seeing results so you must find a plan that you believe in and give it time to work.
  4. Change your frame of mind. Focus on what you can have, not on what is being taken away. When I started my weight loss program I was angry for the whole first week. I was angry that I could not find anything that I was allowed to eat and I was angry that I was always hungry. My problem was that I was thinking about all the foods I could not eat. After the first week, I started to find things that I could eat. I stocked my house with healthy snacks and modified my favorite recipes to fit into my new lifestyle. I started to enjoy finding new foods and recipes to try. The change of focus was the key for me to stay on track.
  5. Weigh-in once a week, not every day. This is very important for your motivation. Your weight will fluctuate on a day to day basis. There are numerous factors that cause the fluctuation, but it will discourage you to weigh every day and see the scale possibly go up. There was a time when I did weigh every day. If I gained a few ounces it could derail me for the whole day, which ultimately sabotaged my weight loss. Now, I religiously weigh on the same day each week. I record my weight and I am able to see the change over time.
  6. Exercise. It is possible to lose weight without exercising, but it will happen faster and you will look better if you exercise. If you are intimidated by the gym, then hire a trainer or join a group fitness class. There are also several at-home programs that are an option if you do not want to work out in front of others. It took me a few months after I started dieting to work up the courage to go to the gym. I was still timid in the gym when I started. Now, I realize that the majority of the people at the gym are focused on their own workout and not at all worried about how I look or how much weight I have on the machine.
  7. Be patient. You did not gain the weight overnight and you will not lose it overnight.
  8. Find support. I am blessed to have a supportive husband, family, and friends. If you do not, or if you need even more support, it can be found. Group fitness classes, personal training, online forums, weight loss meetings and workout partners are all sources of support. You are much more likely to stay accountable when you have the support of the people around you.
  9. Get inspired. As I got further into my weight loss journey I needed to find more inspiration. I got online and started to read success stories. When I needed motivation to work out, I would read a few success stories to get inspired to hit the gym. I try to find stories of people who are similar to me so I could see myself succeed as well.
  10. Reward yourself. When you have a major victory in your weight loss journey, you deserve a reward. Do not reward yourself with food! When I reached my goal, and all of the pants in my closet were too big, it felt amazing to give them away and go buy new pants in my new size.

Losing weight is a difficult journey, but it is a worthwhile battle to fight. As you lose weight, your health and self-perception will improve. The rewards are more than just physical; they are emotional and mental as well. I feel better physically, emotionally, and psychologically now that I have lost 40 pounds. It is possible, keep going, and do not give up!