Planning for Success: Weight Loss

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Today I just finished an interesting and helpful online class about weight loss. A couple of ideas stuck with me and I want to share them.*

But first, a quick note: weight loss is not my goal with keeping this blog, it is first and foremost about healing my eating disorder. However I am always open to ideas and wisdom on how to better take care of myself. I am admittedly also about 15-20 pounds overweight, so if there is something I can do that’s healthy and will also encourage weight loss I am usually interested in learning more. Quite frankly, given my history of bingeing it’s a miracle I’m not much (much, much) more overweight than I am.

Ok, back to the article 🙂

There’s no way around it, weight loss takes focus and dedication. I really don’t believe in quick fixes. There also many, many factors that can help contribute to weight loss. Today I’m going to focus on six.

  1. Setting goals. I was introduced to SMART goals  and they’re really awesome. SMART stands for: Specific – Measurable – Achievable (or Attainable) – Realistic – Timely (or time-based)
    • For example, Julia would like to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks (or 5 months). That would be a weight loss of 1 pound per week achieved by eating right, exercising, and weighing herself (about once a week) to track her progress. This is a SMART goal because it fits all the criteria.
  2. Planning is key! I find this saying is quite accurate, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” A bit of tough love but I think it’s helpful.
    • It is especially important to plan your diet and exercise for healthy weight loss (more on this next).
  3. Meal planning is very important. Knowing how many calories you need to eat per day and then planning out your daily meals and grocery list is a key factor for healthy weight loss. In fact, this is an area I need to really focus on! Eating lots of veggies and fruit is always a good place to start 🙂 And of course drinking enough water.
  4. Getting enough exercise each week. This is a key factor in weight loss and living a healthy life. Making sure you get enough moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming or biking for at least 30 minutes, 5x per week is very important.
  5. Being kind to yourself. We can all have a meal where we eat too much or a day where we don’t exercise. The key thing is when you slip, to be gentle to yourself and simply get back on to your healthy program and know that everything is fine. It is crucial to avoid slipping into a “failure” mentality and abandon your health program (ie. I just ate 8 cookies so I totally blew it. I might as well go eat the rest of the pizza and finish off that pint of ice cream and forget this diet). No one is perfect, in fact expecting perfection is a recipe for failure. Having a yummy treat every now and then is totally fine 🙂
  6. Accountability is important. Whether you track your progress in a notebook or use an app or computer program, it’s helpful to do so. Also having a friend or mentor to help you or chat with is very nice also. Myfitnesspal and USDA Supertracker are helpful and free websites for tracking your food, exercise and goals.

I hope you found these tips and ideas helpful if you’re looking to lose weight and live a healthier life!

*Always check with your physician before beginning any diet and/or exercise program.

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