Losing a lot of weight is exciting. Not only for the person who does, but for the people around them. I end up having discussions and encounters with people about my 70 lbs weight loss about once a week. Sometimes more and sometimes less. Most of these interactions eventually lead to the person asking me how I did it.
As someone who really dives into the things that interest me at the moment, I understand the question. Our culture has made diets such a mystery. Fast weight loss is constantly being advertised. One diet says no carbs, another says no fat. Half of society considers one food “good” and the other considers it “bad.” Then when someone tries out diet pills, fads and weight-loss hacks nothing works.
When people see someone they know and trust having success with losing weight, it’s like they’ve found an “in” to the mystery. I can never think of all the tips I have when talking to my friends and family, but I’ll try my best to now. This is what has worked for me:
Lots of Water, Tea, and Coffee
Stay hydrated. You probably think I’m a broken record because you have heard this one so many times. There is a reason for that. I follow this rule: how much I currently weigh in pounds divided by two = the minimum amount of water (in ounces) that I drink each day. This helps me feel full when I’m full and has improved my bowel movements and frequency. (Not TMI… because you want the secrets right?)
Personally, I start my day with a coffee and drink tea when I’m feeling like some more exciting drinks throughout the day. I enjoy coffee because it suppresses my appetite a little. I even put a splash of some unsweetened milk like liquid in it, because it feeds my mental health. Tea for the rest of the day since I enjoy it, but also because it has less or no caffeine.
I sometimes indulge in sparkling water or kombucha. I basically just try to avoid drinking added sugar. Sometimes I do, but I’d much rather treat myself with things I eat.
I eat way less. I never want to feel full to the level of discomfort. I eat until I’m comfortable, not until I am full. There is no need for me to stuff myself, I have easy access to food. I don’t eat if I am not hungry. If I, or someone else served me too much I save the leftovers or give myself permission to leave a little food on my plate. Instead of eating as much as I thought was a normal based off what I learned from my childhood and society, I now feed myself how much I personally need. I also eat off of the smaller plates in my kitchen and load them up again if I am still hungry, because I read somewhere that smaller plates make you feel more satisfied… it may help you too.
Listen to your Body’s Hunger Cues
I eat slower and stop to give myself time to analyze if I am still hungry after my first serving. I also do intermittent fasting. My eating window is noon to 8pm. This pattern of eating works for me, because I have never been that hungry for breakfast and my body never seemed ready to digest it. I figure when I am not hungry, my body is fine on food. That being said, if I am hungry at 10am I give myself a snack, and if I eat dinner at 10pm that is fine. I trust that my body knows what it needs. Intermittent fasting and eating nutritious food has really helped me learn how to understand what my body is asking for.
Learn how many calories your body needs to consume to lose weight. Learn how to read a nutrition label. Learn how your body reacts to different foods. The more you know the better choices you can make. Also learn facts, don’t just learn tricks and fads.
If you exercise you burn more calories, both while you are in the middle of doing the workout and afterwords Obviously this will help you work towards a calorie deficit. I personally started by getting my diet on point, because I can only change so many habits at once. If I had tackled both I wouldn’t have been successful. In the long run though it is a good idea, and I now do incorporate it more and more.
Track Progress while Being Realistic
Weigh yourself, but not every day. I weigh myself Tuesday mornings after going to the bathroom and before chugging water. This keeps my numbers fairly more consistent and eliminates the normal fluctuations in a day. Seeing numbers drop is motivating and lets me know that what I am doing is working. It is also important to know what to expect. 2 lbs a week is amazing. I might be 1 lb up when my period comes around, or 10lbs up after a holiday. One week later that number might be 3 lbs lower than 2 weeks before. So watch it, but don’t get caught up on it. You didn’t gain the weight in a week and you will not lose it or gain it all back in a week.
Don’t Restrict too Much
I store small bars of dark chocolate in the house, because if I didn’t I would drive to dairy queen and get a large blizzard eventually. When someone makes me a homemade meal to celebrate I will participate. This is a lifestyle. I may not be able to be perfect on a diet, but this journey was not quick, it is slow and sustainable. So I’ve had my birthday twice so far since the changes. You best believe I have had birthday cake on both those occasions, among others. The slices I cut have shrunk unless I really want a big piece, those are the small things that add up.
I find this behavior more sustainable. At the same time, sometimes I do pass on good things. I used to eat a doughnut every time a coworker brought them in, but now I only indulge if I am genuinely craving it and will enjoy it. Cravings change as diets change, I find myself indulging less and less without trying at all.
Add in Good
Things I LOVE: sweet potato, avocado, bananas, nut butters, blackberries, cabbage pancakes and I could go on and on. Focusing on adding in healthy things I love into my diet makes it inevitable that they will push out the unhealthy things I normally eat. Plus produce goes bad quickly, so if it’s in the house it’s getting cooked and eaten first. This tip is how I feel completely satisfied while still making progress.
So those are my “secrets” and they are not exciting or profound, but they’re all I got. I wish you the best in your fitness journey. Please share in the comments if you have any other tips or questions about mine. I’d love hear want works for you. I’d also like to start a discussion, because having a community to go to for accountability is a great motivator too!