So let me state at the outset I am not a doctor, I have no medical training of any sort. I am not a dietician and have no training in the science of food. So you may be inclined to ask “What in earth makes you think you can write about losing weight?” The answer to that is very simple. I speak with the voice of experience. I speak as one who lost the weight and kept it off. A little over two years ago I was around 190 pounds. I lost pounds in about three months. Over the next year I did put about ten pounds back on but then everything settled down and over the last year my weight has fluctuated by no more than two or three pounds. So; two years on I have maintained 80% of my weight loss. It is the things I learned along that journey that I am sharing here.

Losing weight requires a plan, execution and a significant amount of willpower. What can you do to make the journey a little easier?

Make The Decision

It sounds simplistic but actually it is crucial. We have all heard family members, friends or colleagues say “I wish I could lose the weight” or “I really want to lose weight”. There is a mindset behind those statements. Losing weight is only an aspiration. It is not something the individual has decided to do. You must DECIDE that you ARE going to lose weight. Buying a car is a trying process, test drives, those usually annoying sales people and so on. But eventually you make a decision; you buy a car. Once decided you act; you don’t second guess. This decision must be the same. I AM going to lose weight and I AM going to start now and I AM NOT going to second guess myself.

Tell Your Family & Friends

I have heard it said that that’s a bad idea. You are setting yourself up for all the “I knew you couldn’t do it” comments if you fail. Well for one thing – you ARE NOT going to fail are you? Must have that mindset straight. Secondly if those around you know what you are doing they will be inclined to encourage you; perhaps even kindly police you and talk you off the precipice on a bad day. Losing weight is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you it is not. You can use all the help you can get.

Recognize That You Are making A PERMANENT Life Change

It is all too easy to fight the fight and lose the weight and then return to whatever habits you once had and before you know it the love handles are back again. To lose it and keep it off involves a permanent change to your lifestyle. You will be able to relax a little when your goal is reached but you must still be focused if you are to keep the gains you fought so hard for. In time the effort required diminishes some. Your body, your habits and your mind adjust. The lifestyle needed to maintain the new you becomes the norm. But that takes time.

Set Your Goal Weight And Target Date

What weight do you want to get down to? When do you want to hit your goal weight? Don’t be too concerned with what the science says you should weigh. There are many websites that will tell you what you should weigh. For my height the norm seems to be to tell me that I should be about 125. I was skin and bone at 135. Do your research by all means but set a reasonable goal for you. You need a challenging goal but you need a goal you believe is achievable. If you perceive it as impossible it will be. You also need to decide when you want to get to your goal. Be sensible. Conventional wisdom – again seen on many highly reputable websites – seems to say that a one pound loss a week is a reasonable goal. Losing much quicker than that can make it hard to keep the weight off once you reach your goal as your body does not adjust at the same pace as you lose the weight.

Design Your Plan To Reach Your Goal

How are you going to lose weight? There are a million and one diet plans out there. I however chose the old way. The way that works, at least as far as my research showed me and that is the way I would recommend. Take in fewer calories than you use. An intake of 500 a day less than you use will result in the pound a week loss we just discussed. Lose it too quickly and it is harder to keep off. Now there are no guarantees; it worked for me but for you another system may work better. Having said that whatever system or plan you choose to implement the principles however remain the same – make a plan that leads to your goal and execute it. Back to what worked for me. Calorie usage is a function of your level of activity; increase your activity – exercise – and you burn more calories. That in turn makes it easier to meet your net calorie each day. For me the plan was to establish the calorie intake and exercise combination that would generate the losses I needed to reach my goal on the planned date. Again this might sound simplistic and I guess it is. But – it is vital to your success. With the long term plan set you can then start to look at it each day in terms of that day. The plan is for today; you don’t have to be overpowered by the daunting prospect of the long term goal every day. It really is taking it one day at a time and concentrating on that day only. Without the bigger plan that is not possible.

Source The Tools To Monitor & Assist You Along The Way

Once started on the road you need to monitor how it is going. Progress needs to be measured. This can encourage you when you do well and it can help identify where you fall back a little so you can adjust your plan if and when needed. An accurate scale [preferably one weighing to an accuracy of 1/10 pound] is absolutely essential. You need to weigh in every day and you need to know how you are doing. It is easy to say take in less calories than you use. Thing is you actually don’t know how many you use. Weighing daily can help you figure that out and you can start to pin down what you can and cannot eat if you are to meet your goals. If you have an iPhone I highly recommend an App called LoseIt. I used this to great effect. I entered the plan and the app told me what my goal calorie intake was. I entered my food and it calculated the calories for me – no endless hours trying to look things up in a book. It graphically represented my progress for me which was extremely helpful. Day by day the weight goes up and down but seeing a graph with that downward trend line every day was motivating and a life savior on the days the weight went on. Whatever method and tools you choose to use to measure your progress measure it you must. A quick search on Google will offer you a multitude of options and there will certainly be one that works for you.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up When You Falter

There will be not so good days. Don’t beat yourself up. Think about the bigger picture. So long as there are more steps forward than back you are fine [see where the trend graphing on LoseIt can come in]. Having said that don’t ignore the backward steps either. Learn from them. If you have been losing for days and suddenly put on ask yourself “what changed”. You can, and should, edit your plan to reduce the chances of it happening again. You must be prepared for you plan to be an evolving and fluid thing. Fixed and rigid enough to give you a clear path and plan of action but fluid enough to react to the bumps in the road. The best laid plans are the ones that are based on the best possible information and if what you learn along the road suggests a change in the plan then that’s one suggestion you should listen to.

Give Yourself A Treat Now And Again

There are many ways to treat yourself without getting off the plan. I found that there were actually many that felt like a treat to me that were not interfering with the plan at all. They are my treats to this day. We all have different tastes; my treats would not be yours but you do need to find something that satisfies the craving for chocolate or peanuts or whatever takes your fancy. Any store will have a multitude of options; find something that works for you. A treat can be used as reward when you have done well but I found more importantly on the bad days when the questions or the cravings come a treat can be used to get the mind back on track; to help you recognize life is not quite as miserable as it just seemed a few moments ago.

Don’t Be Afraid To Spend A Little Extra

Like cokes? Buy a bunch at the store every week. It’s more economical that way right? If they are in the house you are way more likely to drink them. I am not suggesting you never drink a coke; perhaps that is your treat. But don’t keep a bunch on hand; keep one or two. Yes it will cost a little more but it can be very helpful in meeting your goals.

Buy A Motivator [Or Get One Out Of The Back Closet]

You will not be able to fit into it right now of course but buy a piece of clothing that should fit you at your goal weight [or perhaps use a piece of clothing that once fit you]. Sounds silly yes? Not really. There is nothing more motivating that progress. Yes you will get on the scales every day. That is just a cold hard number though and oftentimes you cannot actually see a physical change. Trying on a piece of clothing can show you the change you cannot see in the mirror and can be oh so motivating. The garment may not fit you yet but perhaps it feels not quite as tight as last time. That is far more motivating that the cold hard numbers alone can ever be.

And that’s it. It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? But it’s not. It can be one of the most challenging things we ever undertake. Nevertheless I managed to do it and I know that if I did it you can too. You just have to decide to do it. Good Luck.

SGR 062011