I recently posted a comparison picture on Facebook. The picture on the left was taken on the day after Thanksgiving last year. The picture on the right was taken on Thanksgiving day this year.
Since I posted the picture I've been asked several times, "What's your secret?"
As you can tell, I've lost a significant amount of weight since last year. Since the beginning of January I've lost around 45 pounds. I most recently met my first weight loss goal of thirty pounds down since May. It was in May that I really became serious about losing weight and started tracking my weight loss and inch loss. 30 inches lost to be exact.
So, what is my secret?
The short answer: hard work.
The long answer: hard work.
When I first started receiving the questions about my "secret," I laughed a little. I wondered if people really thought there was some big secret about weight loss. But the truth is, I used to be one of those people myself. Before this year, I had no desire to work hard and to change my life. I wanted an immediate fix to my problem without having to change anything about my diet and lifestyle. I tried a LOT of diet gimmicks over the years. Some were actual proven and approved methods of weight loss and I actually did lose weight on most of the programs or pills I tried. The problem with programs and pills is that while they may offer some instant gratification in the weight loss area once you stop taking the pills or doing the program, the weight comes back. If what you are doing to lose weight isn't something that you can realistically do for the rest of your life...it really doesn't work.
To truly be successful, I had to make a lifestyle change and work incredible hard. I started small. One pitfall to losing weight is changing too much at once. I had tried that several times and always ended up overwhelmed and unhappy. At first, instead of eliminating things from my diet, I added fruits and vegetables to it. At most meals, I made sure to have fresh fruits and veggies at the table. It was usually a bowl of grapes and a bag of baby carrots. I LOVE potato chips and they have always been a big downfall for me but I noticed that I slowly began to eat more of the fruits and veggies than the chips. Now, I only buy one bag of chips a month. It can be whatever kind that I want and I eat them in moderation, not the whole bag in one sitting. I used to buy two to three bags a week.
Another rule that I have is to never make foods off limits unless I decide that I don't like them anymore. Which has happened since I've become healthier. In past experiences, I realized that as soon as I had made certain foods off limits, I only craved them that much more and when I eventually caved in and ate it, I couldn't stop eating it and before I knew it, I was off the wagon again. However, I do not make it a habit to eat high fat, sugar laden, foods very often. If I really want something then I eat it but before I do, I take into account my activity level and what I've already eaten during the day. I say no to "bad" foods that I don't absolutely love because really, why should I waste calories on something that I can live without? I also began to drink more water and tried to keep diet sodas to an occasional treat instead of drinking five to six a day.
I began to cut fast food out of my diet as much as possible. We started eating at home majority of the time instead of mostly eating out. I began to cook healthy but yummy meals that satisfied and sustained. I haven't done it in a while but I have shared several recipes on my blog in the past. Another downfall of dieting before this year was believing the lie that healthy food tastes bad. You don't have to eat a salad every day. There are ways to make your favorite meals healthy. I LOVE Mexican food and enjoy healthy versions of enchiladas, tacos, etc all the time.
When I had a handle on my eating, I started focusing on fitness and exercise. I completed The Couch to 5K Running plan several months ago. I started this plan in May when I really became focused on losing the weight. I ran a 5K at the end of the summer and since then I generally run a couple times a week. I haven't run much lately but I hit the gym several times a week and go for a long walk at least once a day sometimes twice.
I could share more about my journey but suffice it to say that the secret to losing weight, is changing your lifestyle and A LOT of hard work! It is hard work to make good choices every day. It is hard work to get out of your warm bed to go for a walk or to miss watching your favorite TV show because you need to get in a run for the day. It is hard work to sacrifice your free time to get in a work out. It is hard work to choose to eat something healthy when everyone around you isn't making good choices. It is hard work to prepare healthy meals for your family instead of just heating up a frozen pizza. But every time you work hard, sweat, and make good choices, you are changing your life. You are one step closer to the "you" you want to be. Trust me, I know.
I know just by glancing at the picture above that I "look" better but what you can't see in that picture is that I "feel" better. My body is healthier. I have more energy. Fitting into a smaller size and liking the way I look is a bonus to living a healthier lifestyle.
The secret is out!
Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,