I can’t believe that it’s already been 8 years since I decided to “change my ways”…actually 8 years and 24 days, but who’s counting ;)! In other words, I joined my first Weight Watchers meeting on June 17th, 2004 and haven’t looked back since. Even though I started losing weight almost instantly, plenty has changed over the years in terms of my approach towards losing weight. With the exception of my current water retention situ, I have finally reached a point where I am content with my weight. Sure I’d be happy to lose another 5-10 pounds but not to the extent that I am rigidly controlling what I eat/drink.
At one stage or another, almost every female will reach a point where she wants to lose weight, either for health or vanity purposes. Although I could probably write a book on this topic, I wanted to share a few “lessons” I’ve learned along the way, both while losing and maintaining my weight…and no, I’m not referring to the cliché “Eat off of smaller sized plates” or “Make yourself wait at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds.” tips we’re constantly bombarded with:
1) Cardio is not the be all end all: Up until recently, running was the “God” of exercises in my mind whereas strength training was merely an afterthought. It’s easy to get focused on how many calories are burnt during exercise without looking at the long term. While I can burn almost double the calories in a run as opposed to a weight training session, the same cannot be said once my run is over. Weight training builds muscle and more muscle helps you burn more calories throughout the day- even when you’re sitting on your bootay!
2) Eat up, Buttercup: Most people who want to lose weight want to do it FAST..I know I did. As a result it’s easy to get carried away and drastically cut the number of calories consumed. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, eating too few calories can actually backfire & sabotage your weight loss efforts. When you cut your calories so low, your body will enter starvation mode & your metabolism will burn calories as slow as possible to conserve its energy stores. For effective weight loss create a calorie deficit, but don’t ever dip under 1,400 calories.
3) All calories aren’t created equal: A calorie is merely a measure of the amount of energy a food provides. It doesn’t have any revelation about how your body processes a food’s macronutrients and micronutrients. As tempting as it can be to grab foods which are packaged as “low-fat” or “low-calorie”, you’re better off spending your money on WHOLE, REAL, QUALITY foods which will allow your body to
be a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine function most efficiently.
4) Seek out support: When people are trying to lose weight, I don’t get why they feel embarrassed to voice their goals. If anything, he/should be proud for taking the steps to make a positive difference to their life (given that they do actually need to lose weight). If your friends & family are aware of your goals, chances are they will help you reach them by offering to work out with you, accommodate with restaurant options, or motivate you during your moments of weakness.
5) Weight loss is only ONE indicator of weight loss: A few weeks ago I weighed myself at the doctor’s office (only place I ever do) and weighed more than my previous visit. The ironic part is that I was wearing a smaller size this time round. While weighing scales are a great tool to track your progress, they’re not the only guideline. In addition to regular weigh-ins, monitor your inch loss, get your body fat % checked, and go by the fit of your clothes.
6) Don’t expect miracles: I said no clichés but I can’t resist: Rome wasn’t built in a day. No one gains weight overnight, so it’s impossible to lose it immediately either. In addition to your ultimate goal, set yourself short-term goals and celebrate your successes along the way. As well as keeping you motivated, it makes the whole the feat seem all the more doable!
Share any weight loss tip you’ve ever learned personally or heard about in the past…