|I can't claim to have invented all these strategies, but I really have no idea where I got most of the ideas, either. So you'll just have to trust me - each of these things work. As of yesterday, I was down 38 pounds, total. That would be 34 Biggest Losers pounds. I'll probably add things to this list as time goes on, as I'm still learning new things all the time. Feel free to add your own strategies in comments.|
In the beginning…
Measure everything. Your idea of a serving size is probably not accurate. If you need more than one serving size just starting out, don’t sweat it. Do, however, OWN it. Know you ate 2 or 3 servings.
Food journal: You need to write down every morsel you put in your mouth and every drop of every beverage that you take in. This is for several reasons. 1.) To understand your eating patterns. 2.) To put a barrier between you and eating. 3.) For accountability. Send this journal to a partner, friend, or someone you trust. 4.) As a record to look back on if you do very well, or do sort of poorly. It is hard to hit a moving target, so having concrete evidence of what you have done to accomplish so much or so little is a great tool.
Eat with a baby spoon or fork. This is not a “forever” strategy. This is to help get you going. The extra time it takes to eat will ensure you are satisfied with the smaller amount you are eating. As you probably know, there are many more reasons to eat than because you are hungry. If you are significantly overweight, you’ve definitely been eating for other reasons: to medicate your stress level, to provide a reward for yourself, to entertain yourself when bored, etc.
Brush your teeth after dinner. Odd as it sounds, it signals your brain you are done eating for the evening. You are less likely to idly stick something in your mouth if you have already brushed your teeth.
Remove all barriers to exercise. Put your tennis shoes and a clean pair of socks at the front door. Or in the car. Or next to your workout machinery. I keep a small backpack at the ready with my dog’s leash, my arm weights, my iPod, and a chapstick in it. Include whatever you need to make exercise a no-brainer.
Use your Tivo, your DVR, or whatever your TV recording function is. When you want to watch your favorite show, do so from that exercise machinery you previously only used to hang lingerie from when it needed dried. Or, don’t just sit on the couch and watch a show – in that same amount of time, you can get the exercise done that you were sure you didn’t have time to do.
If you have no exercise machinery, and have no way of leaving the kids to go for walk or to the gym, then get yourself a good, solid exercise video or two. In this technology age, there really is NO excuse for not exercising (unless you are sick, or your doc says no!). I wholeheartedly recommend Leslie Sansone’s Walking DVDs. You can actually get in 3 or more miles – just doing the easy moves in the airconditioned comfort of your living room. Too expensive, you say? Just go to half.com. Buy one used for what you would have paid for a Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiato!
On staying motivated: have a friend take photos of you. The camera doesn’t lie. Strangely, the mirror does. (Really, our brains are what is lying when we look in the mirror and still think we look fine at 230 lbs.! Our brains are looking to protect us, really.) So, have a BEFORE photo done. Then have a friend keep doing them in increments to keep your self-image real.