How do you lose weight and keep it off? You may remember Justin, my best friend and co-worker who made a change in his life earlier this year to eat healthy, get active, and lose weight. He guest blogged here on Run, Selfie, Repeat in a segment we called “From Justin to Kelly” (CLICK HERE TO MEET JUSTIN) and would give weekly updates and insights every Friday. In 12 weeks he went from 236 pounds to 200 pounds losing 36 incredible pounds by eating healthy and working out. Yesterday I received this email from him:
I'm emailing you because this conversation in person will not be pleasant and you'll be mad but I cannot get a handle on my eating habits anymore. It's like GONE. And I've caught myself stress eating today and I don't like it and even the freight elevator guy was like, "Dude, get back on the egg whites." I'm embarrassed and I hate it.
I feel like this:
I wanna feel like this:
HELP but be sorta nice...or not.
I have been exactly where Justin stands today but instead of gaining some weight back I developed an eating disorder. Online or in print you will find article after article with a timeline or some miracle like, “Lose 20 pounds in 4 Weeks!” Sure you just may lose weight quickly but the road to a healthier you is going to last your entire life. You’re never going to get it right after the first pass because you don’t have the clarity, patience, and candor that you develop after habits are established over time. I get asked at least twice a week for weight loss advice and how to keep it off. I'm not a doctor or a weight loss professional, I'm just one of you who's been going through it all her life.
I want to share what I learned with my own battle to a healthier me.
You Aren’t the Problem, You’re the Solution
There is no “remedy” or “quick fix” to weight loss. Sure you can lose weight fast but you will not keep it off without finding the root of why the weight gain happened in the first place. Maybe long stressful days led to poor eating habits. Maybe you grab a cookie here and there at work. Maybe you drink sugary coffees, sodas, and juices. Maybe every meal you eat is takeout. You may feel like you aren’t doing anything but somehow you’ve gained a little weight. Either way-
Take a Good Long Look In the Mirror
- Am I happy?
- Am I healthy?
- Do I like what I see?
Change won’t happen unless the stakes are high enough. So ask yourself what's at stake? Why now? What do you stand to lose if you don't? Maybe your energy level isn’t where it should be or you aren’t happy about the way that you look. Admitting to yourself that you aren’t happy about the way you look can be upsetting and painful but it’s the first step to wanting to make a lasting change. Don’t kick yourself about how you got there just do something about it. Let it light a fire under your ass and make the choice to change for yourself. Don’t do it because you think someone will like you (love you) more, you’ll have more opportunities, or for some outside reason. Do it only because you want it to happen. You can’t take offense, you have to be open and willing to let go of what isn’t working for you.
You Need a Plan of Attack
I will be the first one to tell you gaining weight is a lot more fun than losing it. You are about to completely overhaul your diet and exercise regimen. Ordering food instead of taking the time to make your meals is easier, it's much, much easier, but it’s the unhealthy choice. Easy is reaching for a candy bar when you get bad news or feel down. No more band aids and quick fixes, it’s time to say yes to you which means you need a plan of attack.
- Portion Control
- Pre-made Meals
- Scheduled Workouts.
Lean proteins, leafy greens, fruits, veggies, and whole grains now make up 100% of your diet. And portion control! Every single one of your snacks and meals needs to be measured. That being said, if you have a cookie or something that isn’t the healthiest option, enjoy it and move on! It’s OK! Your life isn't going to crumble or be left in ruins if you have a cookie, just stay on track.
What Once Worked May Not Work Again
One of the hardest realizations after losing a significant amount of weight is figuring out what once worked and helped you lose weight may not work now. Be open to new things and get ready to let go of anything that isn’t working for you.
Make It Personal
For me I have the most success when I don’t tell anyone. It made losing weight more manageable for myself. If I decided to have something that wasn’t in my plan, I didn’t have to deal with anyone saying, “Are you really going to eat that?” I wasn’t bombarded with personal opinions and advice. For a long time I made losing weight into a huge deal when in reality eating healthy is just now a part of my life. It doesn’t hold the weight it once held because I alone made it stressful. I had to retrain my brain and the way I looked at food. But some people like the added pressure. They enjoy the added accountability and outside support. Find what works for you and remember it really isn’t hard. You are doing the same things you always did, seeing the people you always saw, it’s just instead of getting a cheeseburger you get a salad. Instead of French fries you get veggies. Instead of white rice you get brown. When someone offers you a cupcake you say no thank you. That’s all. Everything is normal, you’re not isolated and alone. You can still enjoy eating.
One Day at a Time
There’s a reason one day at a time works and it’s because right now is the only time you can control. Change only happens right now. It won’t happen tomorrow and it’s not going to happen yesterday. Will it happen later today, who knows, you cross that bridge when later today becomes right now. Every choice you make will affect your progress. A healthy lifestyle is a choice that you have to work at every single day. The hardest part is establishing new habits. Everything is new and it's not habitual. You can't sail through on autopilot. Just focus on your daily plan of making healthy choices. Then every week check in with yourself. What is working? What isn’t working? Are you proud of the choices you made that week? If not, that’s OK, keep going forward.
Look in the Mirror and Like What You See
This is something EVERYONE needs to do. You have to take the time to start acknowledging what you love about yourself. Sure it sounds vain but it has to be done. You have to devote time to actually acknowledge the things you love about yourself. Be it different personality traits, your ability to lead a room, how you care for others, your eyes, your nose, your smile, your boobs, your butt, it doesn’t matter. But you have to start liking what you see. Smile when you look in the mirror. Stop looking for flaws and only look for what you love. It’s 90% of the battle.
Dedicate 30 Minutes a Day to Get Sweaty
I don’t care if you go for a 30 minute walk or a 30 minute run but for 30 minutes a day, go get sweaty. Go for a sunrise and sunset walk. Not only will it help your physical health, but it will help your mental health. There are no excuses not to get active. No one is too busy. Do you need to do it 7 days a week? No! 4-5 days a week go get your heart rate up and get sweaty. Run, cycle, bike, swim, walk, do yoga, pilates, barre, zumba, elliptical, golf, whatever it is find some way to get sweaty for at least 30 minutes a day. RUN A HALF MARATHON! DO SOMETHING!
Say Yes to You
Setbacks and speed bumps are going to happen. It’s the holiday season for god’s sake (I’ve already had 4 cookies today and it’s not even noon.) I get it. We are all in this together. Go easy on yourself but find the courage to make the change. Your health is something you owe to yourself, your friends, and your family. If you’re not happy make a change. Figure out what you want and go after it. You have to want it and you have to make sacrifices but I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. You’re worth it. Say yes to you.
The one thing I hope you remember is that there is no secret answer. There is no pill, no trick, no one way to lose weight, keep it off, and live a healthy life. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising are the only two things that work long term. I wish I were a tiny little thing who didn't have to worry about her weight. I wish I had a "fast metabolism." My weight has ruled my life. But I've made leaps and bounds and I am happy to tell you that I am stronger, healthier, forgiving, and more confident with myself only due to a shit ton of therapy and hard work. And even still I’m not immune to the longing to lose weight. I still for some insane reason tell myself if I were to somehow become a size 2 my problems would vanish and a whole load of opportunities would arise. It’s incredibly self-destructive and 100% delusional but it is what it is. Thanks to running I now have something tangible that reminds me that I am the strongest I have ever been in my life. It's on those days where I think, "Damn I'm the biggest girl here," that I tell myself, "You also ran a marathon just a month ago. Cool your jets hot shot. You're a foxy lady and you are also a crazy person." It's an ongoing battle, it just comes down to one choice at a time. Love yourself for where you are now. Just start from there and leap off that cliff.
Until tomorrow friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.