The 6 Truths of Weight Loss

28 Nov

Well, these are MY 6 truths, at least.

I had always been overweight. Whether a little or a lot, my body was never “average” size. But I was still loved, still had a great group of friends, and still led a good life. So it didn’t really stop me from much. But then, about 21 months ago (March, 2011), I decided it was time to change that. My mother inspired me to begin losing weight, and I took it from there. And there is SO MUCH I learned along the way!

Yesterday’s “Elf 4 Health” challenge was to send mail to your elf. Mine, Beth, is looking to lose a few pounds, so I offered her these 6 tips, all things that I came to learn in the course of my weight loss (and weight maintenance) journey. And then I thought, why only share these with her? Maybe someone else out there could use the encouragement. Or maybe I need to put them down in writing for my own self. Motivating oneself is possibly one of the hardest things to do. So a little reminder can never hurt 🙂

Christmas card

1) Your weight does NOT define you! I tell myself this every time before I step on the scale. As people, we are much more than a single number on a scale. Physically, that number can be false in many weights – it does not take into account your height or how much muscle you have. And that can vary greatly person to person, and throughout a weight loss journey. I’ve proudly been able to maintain my weight for the past few months. And yet, I know I’m healthier, because I have more muscle. How do I know this? The size and fit of my clothes. Muscle is more dense than fat, ergo, the number on the scale can remain the same, even if I’m losing fat! It’s important to keep that in mind.

2) Don’t get on the scale too often! I weigh myself maybe once a month now. I used to do it more frequently, but that would only stress me out, especially when I didn’t like the number that popped up. Day to day, our body weight fluctuates – because of water retention, the clothes you’re wearing at the time, how much you ate and worked out LAST week, and even how much you ate the day of weigh-in. Less is more in this case. And when you DO get on the scale, don’t freak out! Refer back to Truth #1 and remind yourself that your weight does not define you.

3) Eat your veggies! Your mother was indeed right. You must eat your veggies. I used to hate most vegetables. They were mushy when cooked, tasted bad when raw, and often had alien textures. But then I forced myself to give them a try. I now aim to have 7-9 servings of fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables per day. And it’s really not that hard. And variety counts here, folks. It’s not even 12:30pm as I’m typing this, and I’ve already consumed a serving of cranberries, 3 Cuties (those adorable little oranges made for kids), celery & potatoes in my mom’s homemade potato soup, and raw carrots. And I’ve got a banana, green beans, an apple and corn waiting for me later! See? How easy is that?! There are a million different ways to eat and prepare produce. Crack open those recipe books in your cupboard, or start searching online for ideas. I’m not a vegan (Wisconsin girl here…I love my cheese too much to give up!) but FindingVegan is one of my favorite recipe go-to sites simply because almost all recipes are guaranteed to have some form of vegetables and/or fruits in them. Still skeptical? Do your research on the benefits of fresh produce. Cancer-fighting agents, vitamins, minerals, fiber, natural sugars…all can be found in these delightful foodstuffs. So, grab an apple, pull up a web browser, and get to it. I promise you’ll feel better and more energetic in no time.

4) Have your cake, and eat it too! I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a major sweet tooth. And an obsession with baking. And eating said baked goods. So did I just up and quit all that when I wanted to lose weight? Hell no! But I did cut back. Big time. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your body is to indulge. Craving chocolate? Eat it! But not an entire Hershey’s bar. Invest in some good, quality chocolate, if cocoa is your weakness. Have a hankering for cake? Go for it! But don’t buy what they’re selling in the grocery stores. Learn how to make it yourself, with healthier ingredients, and no chemicals. I refuse to eat baked goods that came from a factory, are shrink-wrapped, or have ingredients I couldn’t even dream of pronouncing. But when my Oma offers me her homemade zucchini bread, or a tin of my favorite Christmas cookies (lemon hearts!), I will most certainly help myself. And stop at just one. Because I’ve realized that sweets (in my case) are just for the taste buds. Give yourself just enough to enjoy. Savor it. Let that square of Ghirardelli melt completely in your mouth. Slowly eat that buttercream-topped homemade cupcake. Fully enjoy the cookies your best friend was kind enough to save for you. Drink that glass of perfectly-aged wine as if each drop was the last. And then be done. That’s it. No more. Indulge and move on. I see no point in living a long, physically healthy life if you can’t enjoy it along the way!

Ghirardelli Chocolate at work

5) Exercise. A lot. Ok, this one seems pretty obvious, but let me reiterate: there is NO healthy way to lose weight if you don’t add exercise into the equation! It is simply not possible. Dable around with different routines, different exercise classes, different weight room machines, until you find what you enjoy most. When I first began this journey, I had no idea what I was doing. My apartment complex at the time had a tiny little gym in it, so I went to that. Where they had exactly 5 machines and a few free weights. So I attempted the elliptical. And HATED it. I dreaded using it each time, but had few options (so I thought) and pushed through it. Until I was introduced to Zumba. And I fell in love (is that possible? To fall in love with an exercise class? Because I did). Because I enjoyed it, I was happy to go to each class. Happy to MAKE time for exercise. Happy to get all hot and sweaty. Happy to feel exhausted and energized at the same time. So find what works for you. Stop making excuses. You DO have time. You ARE capable of moving your body that way. You WILL find supportive people. And you’ll appreciate it once you do! So get moving!

just do it

6) Smile. Do it, right now. I’ll wait.

smiling's my favorite

Smiling should be your favorite, too!

…..doesn’t that feel better? Mental health is just as important as physical health. And smiling is a good start to achieving that. Not only do you work more muscles when smiling than frowning, you pass on a cheery disposition to others, making them smile too. Don’t you like it when someone – anyone – smiles at you? So do the same, and who knows what’ll happen! Life is much better when lived happily. And when you put healthy and happy together, you’ve got it made! Think of all the things that make you smile in life – big or small – and keep them tucked away in your brain. If nothing else, smile because you’re doing something for YOU. It’s ok to be selfish here 🙂

I’ve learned more than this…more than I can write in a blog post, anyway. But these are the six biggest things that I can pass on to anyone who’s reading this. Now go out and be great! I know you already are 🙂

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4 Responses to “The 6 Truths of Weight Loss”

  1. Beth November 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    These are fantastic tips. Thank you for a great post!! I need to remember to eat my veggies… and you are right, it does add up quickly if you try just a little!

    • xtinaluvspink November 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      You’re welcome!! And yes…little changes will lead to big results!

  2. Kelly @ RaceFor50States November 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Love this! So many good things to remember, most importantly tip #1

    • xtinaluvspink November 29, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      Thanks! I totally agree. And it took me quite a long time to learn it.

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