In yesterday’s post, A New Year, A Fresh Start, I wrote about New Year’s Resolutions and setting realistic goals. Since I briefly mentioned losing weight and my own recent weight loss goals in that post, I decided to write a little more about this.
I know many people have fitness goals at the beginning of a New Year. My weight loss journey began back in October and was somewhat meandering. I lost. I gained. I lost again. It took a while before I hit my stride. But, over the past almost-three months, I’ve lost thirty pounds. I have one-hundred more to go. Yes, I wrote that right. One-hundred.
Over the years, I’ve lost and gained hundreds of pounds. I’ve tried dozens of diets. So, what’s different this time? There are numerous elements that are different this time around. For one thing, I’m losing weight under the close guidance of a doctor and dietician. For another, I did some serious soul-searching and broke down some of the barriers that prevented me from losing weight (and keeping it off) in the past.
I’m going to list a view tips here that might help you to help reach your goals. While I’m by no means an expert at weight loss, I’m definitely an expert at failed diets, so I know how diets go wrong. I know what to avoid. What I won’t do is recommend an eating plan or tell you what sort of plan I’m following. My eating plan was hand-picked by a dietician who told me what to eat after an hour-long consultation. She also had access to my most recent labwork and medical records. What works for me truly may not work for you. It would be irresponsible and dangerous for me to give out medical advice.
With that in mind, here are some goal-setting tips:
- Start off with a trip to your general practioner. Before you get started, make a phone call to your doctor and make an appointment for a physical. Tell them you need to talk about your weight loss goals. I never did this in the past, and this is where I went wrong. I have pre-diabetes now. If I hadn’t gone to the doctor, I wouldn’t have known this. I could’ve started a fad diet that might have done damage to myself and worsened my condition. It’s important to find out if you have any serious medical conditions before you begin to lose weight. Do you have diabetes? High blood pressure? A thyroid condition? You really need to know.
- While you’re visiting your doctor, ask them to recommend a dietician. Do you know what a pre-diabetic is supposed to eat? Neither did I until I saw the dietician. My dietician was a godsend. I’m so glad I went. Even if you don’t have a medical condition, it’s totally worth going. Most people really have no idea what they’re supposed to eat in order to lose weight. We’re so used to eating junk and processed foods, we’re out of touch with what real food is. Trust me, a dietician is a must, even if it’s just one visit.
- Back away from the processed food. And, speaking of processed foods… This is the only piece of dietary advice I’ll give you: Step away from the processed food. Cookies, chips, candy, frozen pizza, things that come from a box. Any doctor or dietician will tell you this. The less processed food you eat, the better off you are.
- Time to get serious. If you’re serious about losing weight and getting healthy, you can’t half-ass it. Weight loss is hard. It takes focus, dedication, and sacrifice. What has kept you from succeeding in the past? For me, it was coffee. With previous weight loss attempt, I refused to give up coffee. I drank coffee three or four times a day. That wouldn’t have been a big deal if I drank it black, but no, I had to have my coffee with the fancy flavored creamers. (Probably why I have pre-diabetes, right?) This meant I drank alot of calories every day, which also meant I didn’t get to eat as much, which left me hungrier and made it more difficult to stick to diets. I finally realized this time around that I had to give up coffee for good if I was going to be successful. What do you need to sacrifice?
- Make your health a priority. When it comes to sacrifice, you might not be the only person making sacrifices. For example, your husband might need to shuttle the kids around to activities more often so you can go to the gym. Dinners at home might look a little different, and some family favorites might be off the menu as your dietary needs change. These changes are necessary because your health is important. You’re important. You have a right to make yourself a priority and to make these necessary changes in order to move forward on your weight loss journey.
- Figure out what works for you and do that. Not everyone likes the gym. Not everyone likes to walk with a buddy. There’s a lot of advice, including mine. There are groups and apps and all that. Really, there’s something for everyone, so try new things. If you try and app, or a gym, or a support group and it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean you failed. It just means it wasn’t your thing. Try something else. Just keep trying. Trust me. There’s an app or program for you.
- If you need therapy, get therapy. Have you ever watched My 600 Life? Do you know what all those patients have in common? Trauma and pain. Morbid obedity is a complex medical issue. Sometimes there are complex psychological and emotional issues involved as well. If you need help, get help. There is no shame in getting help. I know therapy can be expensive, but please seek it out if you can. Some employers have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) which will provide a certain number of free therapy sessions, so please ask your HR department. Talk your doctor, or talk to a friend if you can’t afford to see a therapist. As you lose weight, emotional issues can come to the surface.
- Love your body now. I’ve been living in my body for almost 50 years, and I’m quite impressed with its resiliency. Despite the fact that I haven’t always cared for it very well, my body has helped me create, nurture, and raise four beautiful children. Though my body is currently in a state of disrepair and has seen better days, I choose to love my body as it is. I’m going to eat healthy food and take better care of my body going forward. Choosing to make changes to your body can be done out of love, not hatred. Losing weight is an act of love and caring. Love yourself. Love your body.
- There’s no such thing as a ruined diet. Just because you eat too many cookies, or you overeat one day, or you have a bad week doesn’t mean your diet is ruined. Each day, each meal is a chance to start over. You can always make a choice to eat better or to move more. It’s not about “being on a diet” or “eating perfectly.” It’s about making the best choices for your body. Don’t look at this as a “diet.” Look at your weight loss journey as a decision to love your body. And with that decision comes a series of choices to treat your body better.
For those of you are working to get healthier in 2021, I wish you all the best. Please know that I support you. If you’re ever looking for a word of encouragement, please leave a comment here. I wish you a successful and Happy New Year.