Lately, every time I attempt to lose weight the following happens: I start off strong, the pounds (initially) melt off and I feel fantastic. Then, a few months in everything stops! I plateau and get frustrated because NOTHING IS HAPPENING. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last six months, but I still have about 30 pounds to go…but these 30 pounds aren’t going anywhere. Back in my early twenties losing weight was so easy; I barely had to make any effort at all and I’d lose five pounds in a week. Fast forward half a decade and losing even two pounds a week requires all kinds of deliberate effort. One of the bummers of getting old, I suppose.
I’m hoping to get to my weight goal by my 29th birthday in October and I know what I need to do: Eat less and exercise more. This is really what it comes down to. And if I am truly honest with myself, the mystery of my weight loss slump is really no mystery at all: I’ve been eating more and doing less exercise. But I decided to do some research anyway, to see if maybe, just maybe, I’d uncover some kind of secret magic formula. I didn’t…most of the things I read regarding weight loss plateaus were pretty common sense, but I am feeling a little more motivated now to change things up a little. According to WebMD (my favorite source of self-diagnostic medical advice) I should think about/implement the following to jump-start weight loss after a slump:
1.) Imagine myself healthy and vibrant. Apparently, I should envision myself “dancing at an upcoming celebration in a fabulous black dress” to keep myself motivated. I don’t have any upcoming celebrations, but I do like to imagine myself running a 5K and fitting into my size 6 jeans again. That makes me feel healthy and vibrant. I felt great in this picture and I’d love to go back to the size I was then.
2.) “Understand your weight loss personality.” According to the article, there are five different food personalities. There’s the impulsive eater, who gets cravings and has trouble saying no, the oblivious eater, who doesn’t pay attention to what they’re eating, the uptight eater, “those who are anxious and depressed” and “eat to feel better,” the sociable eater and the tenacious eater. Apparently, the sociable eater and the tenacious eater have an easier time losing weight because they are more aware about what they are eating. I would definitely qualify myself as an impulsive eater. My top temptations are Vietnamese summer rolls, McDonald’s and diet Pepsi. WebMD tells me I should remove these temptations from my life, but how do I do this in my case? I could try to go for yogurt with fruit on the bottom and granola on the top instead of a sundae, but somehow, this just doesn’t have the same appeal…
I’ve decided that I’m quitting diet Pepsi again, this time for real. That stuff can’t be good for you, and in the past, I’ve found that I tend to lose weight more quickly when I don’t drink diet Pepsi.
3.) “Record every food morsel you eat, taste, or lick.” I hate doing this. I find it tedious and excruciatingly boring, but when I first started my weight loss plan I was doing this and losing quickly. Tracking sucks, but it does work. Maybe I should go back to this. It works, but I don’t know if it’s sustainable in the long-term.
4.) “Beware of calorie creep.” Apparently, most of us underestimate how many calories we are consuming. I’d say I do this sometimes…I tend to think I’m doing less damage if I eat off of someone else’s plate instead of ordering my own meal or if I eat a few spoonful’s of ice cream out of the carton rather than actually serving myself in a bowl. The little mind games we play with ourselves…I guess this is where tracking comes in handy.
5.) Watch restaurant overeating. This has been a big problem for me lately, mostly because the majority of first dates take place at restaurants. And I’ve had a lot of first dates lately. I don’t want my dates to see me as the kind of girl who only orders salads and obsesses over calories, but I never feel good after eating out, especially when it’s a high fat, high sodium meal. I probably can’t suggest going for a hike/walk on a first date, but I think in the future, I’ll suggest coffee. Less pressure and less probability of eating something I’m going to regret.
6.) “Eat Low-Fat Protein to Manage Hunger Pangs.” I don’t really get hunger pangs…in fact, most of the time I eat it’s because it’s meal time and I feel like I should be eating. But I rarely actually get hungry, so this isn’t really too much of a problem.
7.) “Eat More Fruits and Vegetables.” Except for oranges and green apples, I’m not much of a fruit eater. I do a little better with vegetables, but they are more labor intensive and I don’t spend much time preparing or cooking meals. I’ll admit that I’ve had popcorn and diet Pepsi for breakfast more times than I’d like to admit…and I’ve been known to go several days without tasting a fruit. But I’m going to try to make a conscious effort to change these bad habits. And really, whenever I do eat fruits and vegetables it isn’t so bad…
8.) Change your exercise routine up. I think this is probably one of my biggest problem areas but also an area I have a real chance of succeeding in. When I started my weight loss plan, I was swimming, hiking, doing Zumba, Yoga and the elliptical. Six or seven months in and I’m mostly only walking and “jogging.” I put jogging in quotes because I don’t usually do more than 15 or 20 minutes of actual jogging, though Tanya and I have actually been doing pretty well on our incremental jogging plan. I’m actually pretty impressed that we’ve kept this up for over a month and we are getting better. A friend posted this article on jogging in summer on Facebook, and I think it offers some good tips.
But my body probably needs a variety of activities to stay in top fat-burning mode. I guess I should go back to my hiking club. According to WebMD, “to keep your muscles guessing – and performing the ultimate calorie burn – vary your physical activity.” Also, you’re supposed to incorporate strength-training into your exercise routine, something I’m not a fan of. But I guess I’ll have to become a fan if I want to lose those 30 pounds.
9.) Wear a pedometer. You’re supposed to aim for 10,000 steps a day for weight loss. I suppose a pedometer is a reasonable enough investment. Maybe it’ll push me to walk around a little more.
10.) “Try yoga and avoid stress eating. I’ve never been much for yoga, but there’s no denying it’s great for flexibility and strength. I guess I could commit to yoga once a week…
So it’s summer now, the best time of the year, and I’m feeling motivated to get in great shape. Even though I’m not the thinnest I’ve ever been, I do think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and I’d like to continue that trend. Weight loss plan 2.0 starts today! If anyone has any advice or good tips let me know! And if anyone has an interesting/fun exercise ideas, feel free to share.