Gabi Rose, M.S.
At the heaviest point in my life I tipped the scale at a full-bodied 260 pounds. Back then, I never committed myself to the innumerable weight loss resolutions I made year after year. My clothes grew bigger and elastic waist bands became my new friend. At the time, I believed I was doing everything humanly possible to take off the excess pounds. For years, I struggled to lose weight. I became terribly depressed and was ensnared in a relentless, unhealthy weight vortex of yo-yo dieting. My private struggle is what motivated me to write this article for you! I would like to offer some personal tips that effectively broke my vicious weight gain cycle. If you adhere to my guidelines you can keep off the extra weight.
I can guarantee one thing; as your weight gets out of your control so will your emotions and fears of failure. Nevertheless, if you are one of the lucky ones who pledge to make a difference, stand up and shout, “I can do it!” This will be the year you take back your life. These tips will keep you focused and on track with your healthy lifestyle resolution.
1. Create a goals list.
Once you see your goals written down in print they become reality. A goals list will provide direction and help maintain daily focus. The list will keep you honest and accountable for what you eat. People typically forget 30% of what they put into their mouths. With this in mind, empower yourself with the ability to make daily healthy food and beverage choices. Set aside a single day out of your busy routine to reflect on the goals you want to achieve during the upcoming year. Jot down your goals on a piece of paper and place copies in key locations such as your kitchen, bathroom mirror, dashboard and/or work place. You will be constantly reminded of the healthier lifestyle promise you made to yourself. In addition, you could include an inspirational picture or photograph with your goals list. I suggest a picture of a family member or a style of clothing you would buy yourself after you lose weight.
2. Select a specific date.
This date is critical to your weight loss success. When you choose your date you accept responsibility for your efforts. Oftentimes I have heard people say, “I will start my diet on Monday”. This is a noncommittal trap that most people fall into. Consider the number of Mondays you have lived through. I have personally lived through 13 years of failed Monday weight loss attempts. When my health became an issue I looked upon my four young children and succumbed to the sad reality that I could no longer afford to let another Monday go by. I needed to take back my life for myself and my family. Today, health and fitness is part of my daily routine. I live in the present and plan for my happy, healthy future. Get a calendar and mark particular dates for each goal to be achieved by. For example, by March 1, 2011 I will walk three miles a day. Set definitive dates and stick with your plan!
3. Remove temptations.
Head to the kitchen and look at the foodstuff in your pantry and refrigerator. First, go through all the items marking off foods that are considered empty calories. Snack foods such as cakes, pies, cookies, chips, crackers and sugary beverages will only obstruct your weight loss goals and need to be removed from your home immediately. This tip is vital for the reason that all temptations to binge and eat unhealthy foods will be removed when the items are not available. As I write these words I hear the all the naysayers and their eating excuses. This can be a challenge when other people live with you. I know all to well because I live with five other people and have four children to feed. In the past, I haven’t always made the best food choices for my children. Today, I make well informed and healthier food choices and my kids do not need to eat empty calorie foods any longer. We must educate ourselves about healthy foods and healthy lifestyles to insure future generations will have the knowledge and ability to make better choices. My children have changed their food perspectives and lead more productive lives. Their health and wellness at home now extends into their school lives. Each of my children excels in school and my son’s battle with autism has become easier thanks to his healthy lifestyle changes. It is imperative to remove tempting foodstuff from your home. If not, it is only be a matter of time before you breakdown and stuff your face with empty calorie foods. I suggest filling your kitchen with healthy, nutrient dense foods such as:
• Lean protein (chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, egg whites).
• Fresh fruits (oranges, apples, strawberries, blueberries).
• Raw vegetable (mushrooms, broccoli, squash, cauliflower, red peppers).
• Healthy snacks (low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, protein bars, raw nuts).
• Bottled water.
4. Set achievable goals.
Rome was not built in a day and we obviously did not gain our excess weight in a day. Don’t be hard on yourself! Self-criticism can only lead to failure. I recommend making slight adjustments to your regimen until one of your bigger goals are achieved. It feels like a lifetime ago since I accepted my size 24 body burden. At the time, I would have never imagined fitting into slender, size 2 pants. My physical and emotional transition was incomprehensible. Some examples of slight adjustments I made for myself include:
Week One: Drink 10 glasses of water per day.
Week Two: Take the steps at work instead of the elevator.
Week Three: Eliminate soda (including sugar free soda).
Week Four: Eliminate fast foods.
Week Five: Begin eating one different vegetable per week.
Reach down into your soul and find the strength to get healthy this year. Our country suffers from a higher death rate than a third world country. Pundits continually ask: How did we arrive at this point as a nation? How did we lose our way? There comes a point in each of our lives when we have to wake up, smell the coffee and start taking control of our lives. I believe the time is now and I cannot think of a better way to start 2012! This time, make your resolution count!