Most people try to lose weight at some point in their life. I grew up skinny and ate anything I wanted, and never worried about my weight for years. But then I got married and started having children, and suddenly I was faced with wanting to lose the extra pounds I gained from childbearing.
As a mother of three children, it seemed to get harder each time I had a baby. During my first pregnancy, I gained about 30 pounds. By the time I had my third child, in my late 30’s I had gained a huge amount–60 pounds, and I thought I would never see my skinny self again! But, after just three months of hard work and dedication, I was able to lose all 60 pounds. How did I do it?
Eat Like a Mouse and Exercise Like a Maniac
I can laugh about it today, because my motto at the time was, “Eat like a mouse and exercise like a maniac” and that is exactly what I did. But, ultimately, I must give credit to my weight loss strategy that worked because I was motivated, and used every bit of willpower I could muster.
Here are My Own Personal 10 Simple Steps to Losing Weight
1. Measure Yourself
This might sound silly, but at the beginning of your strategy, all you need to do is simply take measurements of your whole body. Get a tape measure and write down on a chart what your basic body looks like. Trust me, this is very important! Measure your thighs, hips, waist, bust, and arms. OK, this is your starting point, so don’t stress about it, just do it. And as time goes by, you should re-measure yourself every few days. Then, when you see the numbers and realize you are getting smaller, inch by inch, you will be super motivated to keep going!
2. Set a Large Goal
The next step you want to take is to decide what your overall goal is going to be. In other words, how much weight do you want to lose? Be realistic and also ambitious in deciding what you want. Is your number 10, 20, 30, or even 60 pounds? Whatever it is, believe in yourself and never stop believing that you can and will reach your goal.
3. Pick a Reward
Step three in your weight loss strategy is the fun part. You get to decide what kind of reward you will give yourself when you reach your weight loss goal. Think of something really great that you care about deeply. You can choose something big, like buying a new car, or taking a trip, or even a smaller goal like fitting into a smaller size pair of jeans, or getting a massage, or maybe just buying yourself a new dress will do the trick. The most important thing is that you have to really care about what you choose. You have to want it. This is your motivation. I used to buy a new pair of athletic shoes to get me in the mood to exercise.
4. Set Smaller Goals
After you have done steps one through three, the next step is to decide what your smaller goals will be. By this I mean what would you like to achieve on a weekly basis? How much weight do you want to lose every week? Once you get going, you will probably lose about a pound a day, if you are eating right and getting enough exercise. If you are more than about 20 pounds overweight, you want to be sure to check with your doctor and have him supervise your diet and exercise plans. That way, if you talk it over with your doctor, he or she can tell you how to avoid over-exerting yourself.
5. Keep a Record Book
Here is another fun part of your plan. Get a really nice looking notebook to keep track of everything you do. You can make it as simple as just writing down your measurements every few days, or you can keep track of all the type of exercises and reps and trips to the gym you make. This record book will be a record of your hard work and something you can always look back on with pride. I usually track my measurements, my weight, my diet and my workouts, but you can decide just how detailed you want to get. Just make sure you make your records consistent.
6. Don’t Miss a Day
Here is probably one of the most important things you can do. Never, ever, stop doing your routine, or take a few days “off” and let yourself slip back into poor eating habits and not exercising. Remember, you are doing this for yourself, and you are a very important person, so don’t let yourself down. Be accountable. Decide what you are going to do and don’t let anything get in the way of doing it.
7. Cut Back on Sugar
Here is one simple rule that always works for weight loss. Just cut out sugar. Don’t drink any carbonated and sugary drinks. New evidence shows that sugary drinks are one of the causes of worldwide obesity. Stay away from the corner gas station where all those cheap, sugar filled and carbonated drinks live. Just drink more water or other liquids that do not have sugar in them. Cutting back sugar is the most important thing you can do to lose weight. It works.
8. Avoid Dairy Products
I remember when I stopped drinking milk. That was the beginning of being able to lose weight. If you can’t totally avoid dairy, at least cut back how much you get. Cut down your servings of cheese, yogurt, milk, pudding, and ice cream. You will find it matters a lot when you want to lose pounds. Dairy products are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, and they increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and early death.
9. Eat Less Meat
Research supports the idea that meat-eating is contributing to many of the world’s health problems. This is because of the high level of saturated fats and carnitine in red meat especially and high levels of cholesterol. So if you like steak and burgers, now is a good time to eat smaller portions of them, or just to avoid them altogether. Meat consumption has been tied to the rise in heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid fried foods like french fries and onion rings and fried chicken.
10. Increase Fruit and Vegetables
Here is one way that you can keep your diet healthy without worrying about excess pounds. Just eat more fruits and vegetables. You might even try a few types of fruits or vegetables that you have never had before. Have some fun with it and try new things. If you are used to eating big burgers and fries and suddenly stop, you will feel like you are starving. So, the way to get around that is just to have some healthy snacks like apple slices or carrot sticks that you can munch on when you get hungry. Remember to get some nuts and berries that also make good snacks. And if you are traveling, you can forgo the restaurant meals and eat market fresh fruits and veggies. Vegetables are great because you can eat large portions of them without worrying about gaining pounds. And they are packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients and they have phytochemicals which help protect your immune system.
Getting to Your Goal
As you make progress with your weight loss plan, you need to have an exercise routine in mind. I chose to exercise for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. I always started with 15 minutes of stretches. This is very important, so you can avoid getting any injuries when you exercise.
Keep your exercise plan simple. Maybe you can decide to walk around the park every day. Or maybe you could start running short distances and working your way up to longer ones. Eventually, you never know, you might even find a friend who lives to run and you could sign up for some races. Or perhaps you like to bike ride and you can make that part of your plan. I used to run in the morning and bike ride in the evening. When I belonged to health club I worked out twice a day.
You do whatever exercise plan you are comfortable with. You don’t have to make it so hard that you won’t do it. Just remember to make it a daily thing and part of your routine. And as you do your weight loss plan, while keeping track of your body size and weight, you will be surprised at how quickly the weight will come off. I used to lose about an inch off my body size every few days. I remember how exciting it was when I discovered I had lost a total of six inches off my waist! I lost an average of 20 pounds a month. And, I will never forget the day when I realized I had reached my goal and had lost all 60 pounds. I felt 10 years younger and I had a whole new outlook on life.