Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Top 10 Tips on Weight Loss

Having consistently lost weight for 18 months, I was constantly asked, "What tips can you give me?" I usually have a few, then walk away and think, "Oops, I forgot this or that." But, trying to tell one person everything I can think of can be overwhelming for both of us.

But, I can put them here. Hopefully, this will help you (and me, as I restart this journey).

My Top 10 List for Losing Weight

  1. Drink water. Lots of water. Water is good for many things. It keeps you hydrated. It flushes the toxins from your body. Its good for your skin. So many more. You should drink at least 48 to 64 ounces daily. You can drink more. I would use one bottle and just refill it. As soon as I finished, I'd refill it again. I could drink four bottles before lunch and another four before leaving work. Get a 32 oz cup and keep it by you, sipping all day. You don't have to drink it all at one time. What if you don't like water? You can flavor it with the Crystal Light On The Go packs. They have lots of great flavors. I drink those in the spring and summer. You can flavor it with fruit. Also, any non-carbonated, non caffeinated beverage can count as water. You should work on drinking natural water. But, you can work your way up if you have to.

  2. Write down every BLT you eat. BLT? Bite, Lick, Taste. That spoonful of sauce. That one lollipop. That handful of chips. Its very important that you write down everything you eat. You can see where your problems are coming from. All of these things add up.

  3. Plan your meals. You can do this day by day, or week (or two weeks) in order to do your grocery shopping. This helps to keep you on track. It stops you from trying to figure out "What am I going to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner?" I did this in the beginning. Weight Watchers works on a Points system. I could break down my points, by planning my meals. in advance. My breakfasts were usually the same. Oatmeal with fruit or cereal (Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Fiber One, All Bran). Lunches were leftovers from the previous nights dinner. So, I planned two weeks worth of dinners. I'd pick out seven to 10 recipes, and write my shopping list. Because I had so many recipes, I could pick whatever I felt like making that night. Seven to 10 because I'd often make enough for my family to have leftovers. I don't cook on weekends.

  4. Measure and weigh your foods. Does this sound neurotic? A pain in the butt? It may feel like that at first. However, I've learned that my perception of the right amount of food got me to the weight I was. After I started weighing and measuring (using a digital food scale and measuring cups), I realized how off my perception was. Four ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast was not what I was used to. A half-cup of brown rice was about what I usually ate. I would measure one cup (or two) of vegetables. And found that amount filled me up. Two and a half years later, I still use my food scale and my measuring spoons. I also have serving spoons that measure one-half and one cup servings.

  5. Surround yourself with supportive people. Preferably this means you have a friend (or a few) who are willing to do this with you. I went to weekly Weight Watchers meetings. I had a group of friends online who also were doing some form of WW. Either online or on their own. I was a member of weight loss message boards. Two of my favorites was the WW site and SparkPeople. For people who can't afford weekly meetings or would like a support group, SparkPeople offers a FREE diet site. Yes, FREE! Its similar to WW, whereas its not a quick fix, but it teaches you how to portion your foods, what foods are healthy. It gives you a daily journal to track your food. And, it has many community (groups) you can join based on interests. From fitness, nutrition groups to reality tv groups, crafters, Pagan, etc.) Its worth checking out.

  6. Weigh yourself consistently. One question I always get is when do you weigh yourself? Morning, afternoon, night? I can't say there is a right time to do this. My suggestion is once a week, the same day, the same time, wearing the same thing (or nothing). I prefer mornings, when I first wake up, after I pee, naked. My opinion is mornings are best because you haven't eaten for at least eight hours. I'm usually at my lightest. Now, the truth is, I weigh myself daily. But, this can be dangerous. Your weight normally fluctuates anywhere from 2-5 pounds on a normal basis. You can be one weight in the morning, another in the afternoon, and your heaviest at night. If I had a high point (calorie) day, haven't had a bowel movement, had a lot of sodium the day before, my period is coming, the scale will show it. But, that doesn't mean I'm off track. Because my points (calories) are allotted for the week. As long as I follow my plan, I'll usually show a loss by my official weigh in day. To sum this up, you can weigh yourself daily just to keep track (don't freak out if your weight is up), but only count your official weight once a week.

  7. Don't live by the scale. There are so many ways to measure your progress. Your weight may not be changing, but you may be losing inches. How do your clothes feel? If you are eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, drinking your water, getting your dairy requirements, you should be feeling healthier. Your body IS healthier. The weight will come off, just be patient and keep plugging along. You may have a low loss this week, but a big loss next week.

  8. Don't look at the total amount of weight you have to lose. If you know you have to lose 50, 100, 150 pounds, your first thought will be "I can't do this." Concentrate on your first 10%. If you are currently 250 pounds, plan on losing 25 pounds. Thereafter, five pounds at a time. Isn't five pounds at a time more doable than 50?

  9. Treat yourself for every goal you meet. NOT with food! A new book, a manicure, the hairdresser, a movie, a massage. Make a list of your goals and the gift you will give yourself for meeting it

  10. Don't deny yourself. Allow yourself a bit of those "naughty foods" you think you can't have. (I was going to link to a "To Cheat or Not to Cheat" entry I'd written, but I seem to have lost that one :() Whether its chocolate, ice cream, cookies, chips, alcohol.. anything, find a way to fit it into your diet. My routine was eating completely on plan Monday through Thursday. Weekends I allowed myself one treat meal per day. No, I wouldn't pig out. Friday, we'd have dinner delivered. Papa Johns or Chinese. I'd allow myself two slices of pizza and buffalo wings. No blue cheese or ranch dressing. I could use my own low-fat or fat free dressing. Saturday, we'd go out to dinner, where I'd still eat a healthy dinner, but I'd have a few drinks. If I wanted a not-so-healthy dinner, I'd ask them to bring me a container and put half of it in the container to take home. Sunday, I'd be back to cooking dinner. But, if we still had pizza or Chinese left, I'd eat it. Monday, I was right back on track.
There are so many other things I'm thinking of, but this is already long enough. I'll save those tips for another time. Hopefully, this will help you, as it helped me lose 86 pounds in 18 months.


Unbalanced Libra said...

Excellent tips! Thank you!

JoLynn Braley said...

Great tips! I do all of them except #10 - wish I could but if I start eating sugar (yep, sugar addict here), then I keep eating more and more, one's not enough.


Really great tips that I need to remember! Love the water-that really works.