It’s that time of year again. The time to realize that you have gained too much weight, your house is a mess, you don’t get enough sleep, and you haven’t finished or even started any of the fun craft projects you planned on doing last year. It’s New Year’s resolution time.
I actually started mine a bit early. When I got on the scale Christmas Day, I realized I had gained 30 lbs…in a year! Boo. Even my sweatpants barely fit. The last time I hit the scale, I was only 10 lbs. over my regular weight. For me, that is no real cause to panic. Ten pounds can be handled with minimum effort in one month simply by cutting back on sweets and calorie-laden drinks. However, the holiday season (i.e., Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) really took its toll. Since Christmas, I have already lost 12 lbs. That was only two weeks ago. Here’s how I’m doing it.
Tip 1: Wait Unit You Are Committed
I am usually not very successful at losing weight unless I am mentally committed to the process. The reality is that you need to eat a bit less, and you need to avoid sweets. That will take some will-power especially if you are accustomed to drinking soda, sugary coffee drinks, milkshakes, wine, and/or beer every day. You won’t be able to eat your usual bag of M&Ms after work on your way home, and you will have to bypass cookies, brownies, cupcakes, chips, and ice cream for snacks. It’s such a bummer. Once you get down to the weight you want, you can eat and drink a few more sweets and treats in your diet, but for now, mentally commit to abstaining.
Tip 2: Get Some Sleep
How do you function on 4-5 hours of sleep? You drink lots of caffeine and snack on sugar or chips. I find that I eat more calories when I stay up really late or if I am really tired. When I go to bed early, I am not tempted to eat junk food, I consumer fewer calories, and I feel better the next day.
Tip 3: Eat Real Food
Skip the low-calorie chips and cookies. Eat real food all day. Lately, I have had scrambled eggs and coffee for breakfast, a spoonful of peanut butter and an apple for lunch, a baggie of carrot sticks or a banana for a snack after work, and a regular dinner. I drink a full glass of water before each meal and sip on water throughout the day. If I have to have a snack, I try to stick to fruit, carrot sticks, or no-butter popcorn. (If the popcorn makes you want a soda, skip it. However, great substitution for soda is flavored carbonated water. Those drinks usually have no calories, and they satisfy my need for something bubbly.)
Like I said, you need to be committed to this. I would much rather have chocolate or chips for a snack, but when you have 30 lbs. to lose, it’s time to get serious.
Tip 4: Make Time to Exercise
No. I do not have time to exercise either. I work two jobs and have two small children; however, when I really needed to lose weight, I made time for it. First, do not pick a work-out that is more than 30 minutes. You simply will not have time. Second, pick a work-out that is challenging but doable. One of my colleagues said they did not like a particular work-out program because they did not feel they could do the exercises. I’m sure they would have been able to do them over time, but they never stuck with the workouts long enough to find out.
Personally, I am more likely to continue a workout if I like it, if it is less than 30 minutes, and if it gives me results. Finally, pick a workout that you can do any time of the day. One day, you might be able to work out before work. Another day, you might be able to work out while the kids play. Another day, you may only have time to work out after the kids go to bed. (Unfortunately, that is when I usually have to work out.) Pick something that can be done whenever your busy schedule allows. In other words: exercise DVDs are your friend.
Tip 5: Weigh Yourself Frequently
This always helps me stick to the program. I weigh myself every morning. It feels good to see the numbers go down. It also helps you to reign things back in if you “cheat” a day or two.
Tip 6: Watch Your Carbs and Cheese
Unless I go out to eat, I rarely eat bread or cheese while on a diet. After I reach my goal weight, I put bread back into my peanut butter sandwich for lunch or top my salad with shredded cheese. I may eat a pasta dish once or twice a week, but I limit my portions. While trying to lose weight, I increase my protein intake instead. This helps me feel full and limit my overall calories.
Note: I did not do these things while losing pregnancy weight because I nursed both of my girls. As a result, I didn’t diet. I allowed my weight to go down naturally, and that process took approximately a year.
Share with us! What are your helpful tips for losing more than 10 lbs.?