Disclaimer: I’m not a dietitian or doctor. I did not go to school to get a degree in Nutrition. Please see your doctor before starting your weight loss journey. But there’s a saying…would you get your haircut by a bald barber? While I may not be a doctor, I did learn a lot while losing my 100 pounds. That being said, I’m starting a new weekly series about how to lose weight.
This new weekly post will be tips and suggestions on how to lose weight. A lot of the emails I get from readers are “How do I lose weight?” and “Where do I start?” Where to start is both HARD and EASY. So this series is really about how I would lose weight if I could do it all over again with the things I learned along the way. The way this will start is with baby steps.
Step One – Measure Your Body and Weigh In.
Sure this will be a hard thing to do. Being faced with the reality of hard, cold numbers is depressing. But it’s important to have some sort of base numbers to track your progress.
One of the things I regret the most about my weight loss journey is NOT MEASURING MY BODY. I just used the scale as my only barometer for weight loss. Measuring and seeing the inches lost would have made the process so much better. Whenever I hit those plateaus on the scale I bet you anything that I was losing inches instead of pounds those weeks.
Plus, if you can find a place that you can get a body fat analysis I really recommend that. I’m not talking those archaic calipers either–those aren’t accurate. But sometimes doctors and weight loss businesses have a machine, or a special scale that will give you your Body Fat % for a nominally fee. I’m curious what my Body Fat % was when I was 250 pounds. If I took a guess I’d say 40%?
Step Two – Count Your Calories
…WITHOUT any dietary changes. Do not start restricting your calories this week. This week you are just becoming AWARE.
When I first decided that counting calories was how I would lose 100 pounds I wrote down my calories for one day without making any changes.
I remember I started logging my calories on a small Post-It Note that I attached to my microwave. I was floored when I realized that I reached 2,000 calories by lunchtime that one day I counted! That was quite the eye-opener–and I ran out of space on the Post-It. I knew I had to make drastic changes in my lifestyle and the next day I woke up with an iron-clad resolve to eat 2,000 calories or less. It was a struggle.
I had to figure where and how to cut excess calories and what foods I could eat that satisfied me without going over 2,000. More on that in the coming weeks.
Step Three – Get a Journal
This will be a food and exercise journal to track you progress. On page one write down your starting weight and starting measurements. Page two should be your first attempt at counting your calories without making any dietary changes. Just be aware of where you are starting from.
If you’d rather do all of those things digitally there are ways to do that. If you have an iPhone there are Apps you can use (I use My Fitness Pal). If you want to track it on the computer you can set up an Excel spreadsheet (which I did to record each week’s weight) or you can log in at Spark People. There are lots of ways you can do it to make your life easier. (As a side note, for 2 years that I was losing weight I wrote all of my food in a journal by hand. It wasn’t until later that I used the phone app.)
Step Four – Set a Goal
Setting a realistic goal is an important aspect to this equation. The idea of losing 100 pounds was scary, overwhelming and daunting. I decided to start with 50. My goal was to lose 5o pounds before my brother’s wedding. Having a specific date (that was REALISTIC) helped immensely. It motivated me to work harder, it motivated me to keep going when I plateaued and I reached the goal of losing 50 pounds in less than a year.
- Lose 50 pounds
- Consistently work out 3 days a week
- Get to a size 10 jeans
Your goals should be something that you really want and they will be used to motivate you when times get tough. There is no judgment about your goals. They are individual and personal.
As you can see, Week One does not recommend any exercise or dietary changes yet. Week One is all about Awareness. The hard work comes up next.
In the coming weeks I’ll share more tips and suggestions on how I should have lost the 100 pounds. The way I did it worked for me. It was a slow journey and I think I could have done it a little better in a lot of ways.
Check back next week for Week Two.
QUESTION: Are you ready to start your weight loss journey? What have been your biggest barriers and roadblocks?