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If you are like me, you’ve probably searched high and low to figure out how to lose weight. Trust me, I get it. There’s so much information on this internet, it’s confusing. And trust, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.
Around 2007, I lost 66lbs but honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing. Because I didn’t know what I was doing and even HOW I lost the weight, it was hard to maintain the weight loss.
I put back on the 66lbs plus more. This played a major role in my loss of self-confidence and belief. I felt like a complete and utter failure.
For someone else, failure may be ok but to me, it’s unacceptable (I’m currently working on this).
One of my biggest fears is to fail so because I’d “failed”, I was so embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see how much I failed. I felt like I let myself and others down.
I really came down hard on myself.
Over the years, I tried to get back to a healthy weight but it was a struggle because I didn’t even know HOW I lost the weight. How can you repeat something if you don’t know what you did?
For over 5 years, I played with the idea of losing weight again. I tried everything that seemed like a sure fire way to lose weight.
Of course, nothing actually worked because I had no idea how to lose weight. I’d lose 5-10lbs but gain it back shortly after.
This would kill my confidence and I’d go back into hiding —even believed the lie that “nothing works.”
Fast forward to today, I’m officially down 88lbs and MAINTAINING it so I’m going to share what has helped me lose weight and keep it off!
Had I known how to actually lose weight, I could’ve saved myself the heartbreak.
How to Lose Weight
In order to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is when you consume less calories than you burn.
Calories are a form of energy so naturally, you are a calorie-burning machine because you are living and breathing. Yes, even fidgeting burns calories and takes energy. It takes energy to get out of the bed.
The good news about this is that if you don’t have any medical issues (talk to your doctor first), you do not have to pick a specific diet or lifestyle such as keto, paleo, vegan, flexitarian, fruitarian, DASH Diet, etc. AND you also do not have to spend hours in the gym trying to burn off everything you just ate.
Your body is naturally burning those calories.
Note: I believe in incorporating some form of exercise as it’s good for your overall mental and physical health but when it comes to weight loss, it’s going to be mainly about the food you’re consuming.
When you consume less calories than it takes for you to breathe, talk, walk and just live life, you are going to lose weight.
When you consume more calories than your body needs, you gain weight.
If you consume the right amount of calories your body naturally burns, you maintain your weight.
Now the key to this is learning how many calories you burn. For this, you will need to know your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). Your TDEE is the amount of calories you burn daily including your physical activity.
Once you know your TDEE, you can create a calorie deficit by consuming less calories than it takes to sustain your current weight. For safe and sustainable weight loss, aim to lose between 1-2 lbs per week.
One pound is roughly 3,500 calories so if you create a deficit of 3,500 calories, you may lose around 1lb.
On average, you would have to eat about 500 calories less than your TDEE per day to lose 1lb in a week.
What it looks like: if your TDEE is 3,000 calories and you create a calorie deficit of 500 calories, you’d be consuming roughly 2,500 calories daily to lose 1lb in a week.
Now the good thing, is this is all about consistency. One day above your calorie deficit won’t cause any serious weight gain.
Weight loss and management is about what you do consistently. Just like if you have gained weight, it was the result of consistently eating over your TDEE. It’s highly impossible to gain 20lbs in a day but it’s very realistic to gain 20lbs over the course of a few weeks or months if you are consistently eating over the amount it takes to maintain your current weight.
The key is to make sure that one day you went over doesn’t turn into a week and that week turns into months. One day over your calorie deficit won’t hurt. You may notice water retention but that’ll flush out over the next few days.
Now that we’ve talked about how to lose weight by creating a calorie deficit, it’s time for us to see how our daily and eating habits affect our weight.
To start off, I recommend recording your food. You can do this with a notebook or an app like MyFitnessPal.
Personally, I use MyFitnessPal because you can access it from just about anywhere (ie. desktop, cell phone, tablet, etc). There are times when I’m in my office and don’t feel like getting my notebook or when I’m out and about and don’t have my notebook with me so I love the convenience of being able to access it wherever I am.
It’s just easier to track the food when you always have the app and more often than not, most of us keep our phones on us anyway. I can’t remember what I did 5 minutes ago so I know that trying to rely on my memory to keep track of all the food I ate earlier is probably not the brightest move for me.
Tracking your food will help create awareness around the foods you are eating. Sometimes, we mindlessly snack on foods due to stress, emotions, boredom or just pure habit. If you don’t know you’re eating, it’s hard to pinpoint the action and change it so it benefits our new healthier, lighter, happier lifestyle.
This is going to look different for everyone so see what’s the constant pattern for you and think of what can you do that will help you create a healthier lifestyle.
Some of us eat fairly healthy but we overeat. Some of us go too long without eating and then overeat because our minds and bodies aren’t sure when we’ll get the next meal so it tries to store this “energy” for later—-thus, turning into fat.
Some of us emotionally eat while some of us eat because of stress and/or lack of sleep.
Understand what’s happening with you.
In order to change your behavior, you must first know what you are doing.
Assessing What You’re Eating
Now that you know what and when you’re eating, look to see what small change you can make that will help you reach your goal of becoming healthier.
Take note if you’re filling up on overly processed foods or foods that have very little nutritional value: fried foods, candy, cookies, pop (soda), cake, or foods that are weighed down with added sugar and added fat. I’m not talking natural sugars and omega foods, salmon or avocados. I’m talking about the process in heavily processed foods where they add extra sugar and fat to make the food more palatable and even addictive.
Foods that are low in nutritional value usually do not keep you full for a long time so you’ll find your body burned through those calories and is now looking for more because you’re right back hungry—causing you to overeat.
This is why you can eat candy and crave more candy or eat something fatty, sweet or salty and now you want to eat again even though you know you should be full.
Certain foods can also lead to an increase in appetite. So pay attention to what you’re eating.
If you look back at the day and realized you ate 10 bags of chips (not saying you would), think about what else could you have done instead? Is it eating less (practicing portion control)? Is it finding a healthier alternative such as popcorn or maybe even protein chips? Or is it because you were dealing with an emotional response? Could you have done something else instead?
If you find yourself snacking on a lot of food that offers no nutritional value or doesn’t keep you full, try to incorporate more protein and/or fiber.
Protein and fiber are your holy grail when it comes to weight loss and weight management.
They will both help you stay full longer so you’re not just an eating machine or risk you becoming Mrs. Pac-Man and eating everything in sight.
Shifting Your Mindset to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
I am a firm believer that if you master your mind, you can accomplish anything. And it all starts with your mindset. Your action is a manifestation of your belief system and thought process.
If you do not believe it’s possible for you, will you really give it your all? Will you even try?
Once you shift your mindset, it will change how you think, how you act and the results you get.
One of the challenges I faced when I decided I wanted to take back control of my life was thinking of losing weight as a “diet.” I’ve always equated diets to being temporary so because I viewed it as temporary, I went right back to old eating habits and gained the weight back.
This is why I stress the importance of creating a healthier, happier LIFESTYLE that suits you!
What works for one person may not work for the other and that’s perfectly fine!
Focus on creating YOUR healthier lifestyle.
Look to see what small change you can make and implement it. This way you’ll be able to stick with it over time. Being healthy is a lifestyle so you want to make sure you are doing things that fit your lifestyle and things you can maintain.
So for example, if you know you LOVE fruits and veggies, the Carnivore Diet where you only eat meat, fish and animal products may not be the best fit for you. And that’s ok!
Creating a lifestyle will look different for each person.
Instead of trying every diet under the sun, pay attention to YOUR body and needs. Just because someone had success with a diet, doesn’t mean you have to go that route. I used to do this to myself all the time and it was the reason why I didn’t stay consistent. I felt forced and I wasn’t happy.
If you feel forced and you’re miserable, will you really keep doing it? Or will you even put your all into it?
It was a mindset shift for me because I had to learn how to trust my inner guidance, how to listen to myself, how to honor myself, how to get rid of the belief that everything was either black or white and how to remove the fear of being miserable in order to reach my weight loss goals.
What really helped me in terms of shifting my mindset was journaling, visualization and meditation. In my Glow Up Planner, I actually wrote down and described the healthier version of me, then I looked to see what wasn’t believable, identified different mindset blocks around being healthier (fear, limiting beliefs, lack of self-trust, etc), and then I created affirmations to help me combat those blocks and reprogram my mind.
Also in my Glow Up Planner, I recapped the day, expressed gratitude and looked at my challenges to see what I could learn from them to better prepare myself in the future.
Expressing gratitude helped me realize all the progress I was making and started to help me rebuild my confidence. Sometimes we look at this long road ahead and get discouraged. If you set a goal to lose 70 lbs and you haven’t started yet or at the beginning of your journey, it can be very discouraging. Expressing gratitude allowed me to be present in the moment, learn more about myself and enjoy the journey.
I would express gratitude for anything. If I lost 1lb, I’d express gratitude. If I lost 4 ounces, I’d express gratitude. If my pants fit better, I’d express gratitude. If I felt better, or had more energy, I’d express gratitude. If I did something that I would not have normally done, I’d express gratitude.
It all helped me tremendously. Once I focused on the million thoughts roaming through my mind, everything changed for me. It also helped me stop that little negative voice that always said “what’s the point”, “it’s not going to work”, “you don’t deserve it”, or “you can’t do it.”
I used affirmations to combat those nasty thoughts and gratitude to show myself I was doing what I thought I could not do.
So pay attention to what you say to yourself. Awareness is key. Affirmations can help stop those nasty little thoughts right in their tracks!
Plan and Prepare
Now that you know how to lose weight, you’re aware of your eating patterns and you’ve made the decision to focus on creating a healthier lifestyle, the final step is to live it!
You know your life better than anyone else so the key is not to create this perfect utopia where nothing goes wrong. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest because a lot of times when we don’t trust ourselves, we fall into this trap of perfectionism when we say and believe things like we’re going to work out for 28 hours each day. Or we create this super long list of things that need to be done in order to lose weight.
So before you make this super complicated, get back to the basics. In order to lose weight, you create a calorie deficit. You are consuming less calories than you burn. Simple.
Now using your journal, what is one habit, pattern or belief that you can focus on that will help you reach your weight loss goal?
Just focus on one thing at a time.
As you continue to master that one thing, you’ll rebuild your confidence, start to feel better and look for more healthy lifestyle changes you can make but it all starts with just one.
One thing you can change that will help you create this new healthier lifestyle. Will it be a belief, habit or fear?
Remember, long term results come from lifestyle changes not quick fixes. You don’t have to hop from diet to diet.
You just have to be consistent and that’s creating a lifestyle.
Struggling with consistency, self-sabotage and getting started? Check out the blog where I share how to put an end to self-sabotage and start losing weight now!
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