Well it’s the New Year and that means a million people swarming to the gym and vowing to loose weight, get healthy, not eat so much ice cream, and basically be a healthier human. New Year’s resolutions have never really been my thing. Partly because I never stick to any, so why bother, but also because I don’t feel like you have to wait for January 1st to make a change in your life if you need it. If you happen to be ready however, and need a little help with where to start, this might be the post for you.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. What does the fat girl know about loosing weight? Well let me tell you a well kept secret in society. ALL fat girls know exactly how to loose weight. I guarantee it. We have researched, read, analyzed and tried out every single diet out there. We get it. We know all the tricks, all the rules, and all the shortcuts. In the end, we are still fat because either we just love freaking food too much to let it go, we haven’t found the right plan for our bodies and lifestyles, or life has interfered and we haven’t been able to stay on the path that we know works. Of course, it is often a combination of all of the above, and us fluffy girls know that it’s a constant struggle to get back on the wagon.
In my own personal battle these are some of the things that I know for a fact have always gotten me back on track and have helped me to have some of the most success on the way. I hope they might help you to make some changes of your own if you are looking to start the year a little healthier…
- Have a plan – I don’t care what the plan is. It can be something corporate and organized like Weight Watchers or it can just be you following something you saw in a magazine. Whatever it is, you need a plan and you need to write it down. Writing it down on paper and even posting it on a place you can see it, like the refrigerator or your desk will help you to remember what it is you are supposed to be doing that day/week/etc. You need that visual reminder. Something like this board is really awesome for motivation too…
- Make a weekly meal plan – It takes time (a lot of time), it takes effort, and it’s a pain in the ass. However, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. Look at your week, make a spreadsheet for each day, and write down what you are going to eat for each meal and even for snacks. Give yourself some wiggle room in that you don’t have to be so strict that you can’t interchange or trade off some items, but having a plan on paper will help you to stick to your food choices and actually see what you will be putting into your body.
- Make a shopping list – Having a meal plan also feeds directly into this one. Once you have a menu, you can much more easily make your shopping list. Now here’s the important part (and the part that I am hands down the worst at), you need to shop every week. EVERY week. When you let the shopping slip, you will not stick to your plan and you will gradually slide off the edge of progress and fall flatly into the land of “shit, I just ate cereal for dinner for the third day in a row”. You don’t want to find yourself there. It’s a bad place. Go shopping.
- Drink – This is non-negotiable. You have to drink and you have to drink a lot. Water is always best, but seltzer, green tea, and even crystal light is great too in order to keep you hydrated and interested in drinking if plain water gets boring. Soda (diet especially), fruit juice, and high fat lattes and other beverages are not your friend. I’m telling you from experience here, if you drink your water, you WILL loose weight and you will feel a difference in your body. You will also pee a million times those first few days you start drinking, which is awesome because you will literally be flushing the pounds away.
- Sweat – I’d like to say you can do it 3 times a week, but that just aint gonna cut it for most of us. You have to do something that gets your heart rate up and your skin a little sweaty 5 times a week. This is not scientific research, this is just historical fact for me and just about anyone I’ve talked to. So pick something that gets you moving. Go for a walk, play with your kids, take a Zumba class (they are really freaking fun), sign up for Yoga, or just buy a DVD and do it in your bedroom before you get dressed in the morning. Whatever works for you and for your family and your lifestyle is what you should strive for. Don’t make unrealistic efforts either. If you know that the kids have activities 3 nights that week, you are going to have to really push yourself to get up a half hour early and get in your time, don’t try to make it to the gym with 10 minutes to spare before you have to get to the soccer game. The gym will loose every time. Don’t throw away money either. If you can’t make it to a gym, don’t join one. Maybe that money would be better put to use in buying some kind of equipment for your home. Bottom line is do what’s best for you, but do something.
- Get a buddy – If you have a spouse or partner that is willing to take this journey with you, and is willing to really be an active participant and walk the tough road with you, that is awesome. Use them, and do it together. You will have the most success when you are both on the same page. Friends and family are great motivators too but if your partner isn’t on board, it makes everything much harder, and I would venture to say impossible to maintain in the end. Other motivators are people like your siblings, who we can usually count on to be brutally honest and take less of our shit. They will call us out on slacking off and will make it harder to back out on that class you signed up for. They are also some of our biggest cheerleaders. Whoever it is, find someone to support and encourage you. There are a ton of plans that have online communities and personal coaches even that will help keep you motivated. We can’t do this alone, that is a fact, so use the resources available to you and create your network of support.
- Celebrate your success – Celebrate! When you loose that first 10 lbs, don’t slough it off as nothing big, be happy. Treat yourself to a new nail polish or rent a movie. Give yourself a cheat day in order to keep motivated, but don’t go nuts. When I was seeing my nutritionist, I would have weekly weigh in appointments, and every week after my weigh in I would pick that night for a cheat day dinner. We would have pizza or chinese or whatever we were craving that day. My nutritionist was on board with it, he always said that you eat somewhere around 21 meals in a week, not including healthy snacking. If you use one of those meals as your free day, it’s not going to be the end of the world. He had pizza every friday night, and always had. For me, it really helped to stay on track for those other 20 meals when I knew there was that one day I could celebrate that effort. I know there is the mindset of not rewarding yourself for loosing weight with more food, but for people like us who really LOVE food, that is the best celebration, and really sometimes the only thing I wanted. It’s not a bad thing, just keep it under control and keep it reasonable.
- Don’t give up on purpose – In the end, you may not reach your goal. You may not ever see that scale tip to that magic number in your head and you may not even feel yourself slide back into your old habits. Life happens, and it sucks. However, don’t give up on purpose. Don’t have a bad week and then just throw your hands up and say fuck it. I completely understand the frustration, I’m right there with you on wanting to just wave a magic wand and be thinner. The reality of it is this – Some of us are not meant to be a smaller size and that’s ok. What’s not ok is giving in and giving up because it’s hard. Of course it’s hard, if it wasn’t hard, you wouldn’t be fat in the first place. Keep working at it, and no matter how many times you fall off that band wagon, get back on. Get back on a day, a week, a month, or a year later, but always get back on.