The new year is here, and a lot of people are making resolutions to lose weight in 2013.
As a former yo-yo dieter, I understand the sentiments behind these resolutions. I remember days when it seemed like I might never get back to my ideal weight, after ballooning to 194 pounds with my second pregnancy in 2005 (that’s a lot on my 5’8″ frame!). I knew exactly what I had to do to get back in shape–eat healthy food, sleep well, and practice yoga daily–but it still felt out of reach. I was too tired, too discouraged, and too busy to give it the attention it required.
After several months of resisting the process, I eventually got back on track in the summer of 2006 (a year after my second daughter was born). My weight has been easier to manage ever since, even through my third pregnancy in 2007. It feels good, to be back in control.
But I’ll never forget how I struggled in 2006. It makes me wish that I had known then, what I know now, about weight control. If my 41-year old healthy self of today, could talk to my 35-year old overweight self back then, here’s what I would tell her:
1) Let go of the story. It’s human nature to create stories about what we can and can’t do, and then repeat them over, and over again. What’s your story about weight loss? Write it down, and ask yourself which parts are true, and which are false. How could you change the story to support your goals? The Little Engine That Could had it right…if you believe you can, it’s easier to climb the hill.
2) Eat real food. If you want to lose weight, you need to consume nutrient-dense fuel. Whole foods contain the greatest ratio of nutrients to calories, so they need to be at least 80% of your diet. It’s the only way to create sustainable energy for exercise, and the rest of your day. Nutrient-dense foods also support hormonal balance, and boost immunity. You wouldn’t fuel your car with questionable gasoline, so why fuel your weight loss with fake foods?
3) Make exercise an everyday thing. Start small, and give yourself several months to create a sustainable exercise routine. Find two or three simple exercises that give you the results you want (flatter abs, stronger legs, greater flexibility, etc.), and practice them for at least ten minutes every day, for at least a month. These short workouts create a foundation for a sustainable program, so make sure you are strong in your commitment, before you build on it. After a month of consistent daily exercise, it will be easier to add variety and endurance to your workout plan.
4) Trust your struggles…they will someday be your greatest source of pride. When you think back to your greatest accomplishments in life, were any of them easily earned? Why would you expect weight loss to be any different? Be sure of what you hope for, push yourself to try new things, and be grateful for the opportunity to grow stronger with every barrier you dissolve.
This is what I wish I had known back then, in the midst of my fight to reclaim my figure and my health. What insights, and resolutions, have helped you best manage your weight over the years?