Learning through the Journey

Going through this experience has given me a much better understanding of what my weight loss clients must deal with on a daily basis. To be perfectly honest, this is the first time that I have purposefully set out to lose weight. The best method is prevention. That is what I strive for… I stay active and eat well. But weight gain doesn’t usually happen quickly. Americans gain an average of 1-2# a year during the holidays (just the holidays). 1-2# doesn’t seem like a big deal until 10 years later and you’re”suddenly” 20#’s overweight. This challenge as well as working with a dietitian regularly will help you lose those extra pounds that you’ve gained over the years… AND help you develop great habits that will PREVENT further weight gain.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “pearls” of wisdom I can take from this journey. With only 1.5 weeks left, I’ve now had plenty of time to reflect on the challenges and victories that come with trying to lose weight. This is surely an ever-growing list, but I think this is a good start.

1. Weight loss takes dedication and discipline.

  • It is NOT easy to break bad habits AND make new ones at the same time. If anyone tells you differently, they are lying.

2. I will be hungry if I don’t eat the right foods.

3. I will be hungry if I don’t eat often enough.

  • See a theme in 2 and 3? Yes, eating less calories than you are burning can lead to hunger. The trick is to eat by day and fast by night. Plan 3 meals and 2 snacks to get through the day, and then stop eating after dinner (or 2 hours before bed). And choose satisfying snacks!

4. Vegetables ARE actually filling while not taking up that many calories.

5. Food tracking becomes easier as it becomes habit.

  • It’s tough to start, but it is such a great tool to facilitate weight loss.

6. Food tracking is easier if I put the food in right before I eat or right after.

7. Meal planning is essential to staying within my calorie budget and not depriving myself.

  • Tip: take one day of the week to plan at least 5 dinners, and make your grocery list. Leave yourself a back-up plan if a night doesn’t work out how you planned (e.g. have sub stuff on hand for a quick meal).

8. Eating out makes sticking to my calorie plan extremely difficult and even harder when eating healthily at the same time.

  • Tip: PLAN AHEAD. If you know you are going out to eat, check out the nutrition facts from the restaurant ahead of time and choose options that will fit into your meal plan.

9. Thinking about food all day can lead to “false hunger.”

  • Let me explain this. Planning my meals and snacks and accounting for every calorie can be overwhelming. It can start to consume your time to where all you can think about is the next time you eat. This is false hunger. You think you’re hungry, but your food diary says that you’ve had enough. This is tough for me. I’m thinking about my next meals not to mention that my job is centered around food. The best way I have learned to overcome this obstacle is to distract myself. After writing this article I’m heading straight out to take the dog for a walk. At work when I’m thinking about eating but know that I don’t need to, I walk around the store, go chat with a friend, find a new project to start working on, chew gum, etc. Whatever it takes to distract yourself, do it. I recommend physical activity for sure!

10. Lastly… Reward yourself!

  • Not with food. Losing weight? Excellent. Don’t sabotage yourself with a food reward or night out. Plan a massage or pedicure for the end of the challenge. Buy yourself a new outfit. Purchase new workout songs on Itunes. This is the fun part!

I hope these thoughts encourage you. I hope they help you see that you’re not alone. Most people experience the same challenges. The key is finding your perfect solution to get through the obstacles.

Stay with it. We’re almost there!

(love this logo from a government site in utah)

(love this logo from a government site in utah)

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