Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why Your Resolution to Lose Weight Will Fail (and What You Can Do About It)

If the first part of that headline isn't a Debbie Downer, I don't know what is.  Losing weight is the number one resolution for millions of people year after year.  Report after report says that even your steeliest resolve to drop pounds is a losing battle.

I feel ya.  I've been there.  In the late 90's after college and into the early 2000's, I was 50 pounds heaver than I am now.  50 FREAKING POUNDS!  Thank God it was in the pre-digital age because I can only find one photo of my fat self.   I had a brutal, sleep-deprived schedule working at Knoxville station WBIR.  I lived on a diet of Krystal hamburgers, Diet Mountain Dew and M&M's.  Awful for my health, sanity and self-esteem.

Circa 1998
Then there was the baby weight.  I had gained between 25 and 27 pounds when I delivered Jordan in October, 2011.  I lost the leftover 13 pounds following my delivery pretty easily but did so slowly and did not stress about it.

December 2011
Is weight loss one of your goals?  Again?  This year CAN be different.  There are a ton of tips that can help you succeed.  I will share them in the coming days and weeks but before you start juicing, cutting carbs and hitting the gym like never before you have to be mentally ready.

Really.
 

Permanent, life-changing weight loss starts in your head.  You have to prepare yourself to make a few lifestyle changes and embrace them.  It's not about perfection.  There will be slip-ups.  Expect them, learn from them and then move on from them.

If you jump right on the 800-calorie a day bandwagon (not a good idea, btw) without getting your mind ready for this weight loss journey, you're setting yourself up for failure.

So after you're mentally ready to go, here's my first tip:

Keep a diet journal.

This is a great strategy that goes back to the mental aspect of weight loss.  It's also something I revisit time to time if I need to get a handle on my eating.  A study published in a 2012 issue of Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics noted that "women who kept food journals and consistently wrote down the foods they ate lost more weight than women who didn't" and that "women who consistently filled out the food journals lost about 6 pounds more than those who didn't."

This is proven, powerful stuff.  Keeping a journal lets you see key patterns in your diet, exactly what you're consuming and what your food triggers are.

You can use a simple notebook and pen to log your daily consumption.
A food journal entry from 2010
There are a ton of apps to help you keep tabs on your diet.  I am a fan of the The Daily Plate app I've downloaded on my IPad.  This does all of the calorie counting for you.  It also calculates your fat, protein, carbohydrate and nutrient consumption.  It's really user friendly.

Or you can log it in a blog, like I did last year with Project Drop the Baby Weight.  I've found a public forum keeps you honest and accountable.  Tweeting what you eat is also popular and has that social accountability factor, as well.

Permanent weight loss can be hard but doesn't have to be a grueling challenge.  Prepare yourself for  whatever quagmire might crop up and you will be ready for the ultimate reward of better health for years to come.

*Disclaimer: We all know I'm not a doctor or medical professional.  I am passionate about healthy living and have a lifetime of experience trying to embrace a balanced philosophy which encompasses all aspects of that.  None of this should serve as a replacement for help from a professional.  But it can serve as real world advice from a real chick that can help you succeed.
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