Are you trying to lose weight, but just can’t? I’ve been where you are, and I am happy to report I have finally begun to find success! You can do it, too, but you’re going to have to be completely honest with yourself about what might be holding you back, and you’re going to have to take control of those obstacles and knock them down for good!
The following questions are designed to help you pinpoint the areas where you might need to shift your priorities a bit in order to achieve your weight-loss goals.
1. How much time each day do you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or other social media, and is it more than the time you spend exercising? The internet can be addictive, and it can give us the illusion that we’re actually doing something when in fact we are just sitting there staring at a computer or smartphone. I know that social media is fun, and in my career it is imperative for promoting my work — but I’ve noticed that I see the same people online throughout the day, and many of them have complained to me that they can’t lose weight. Clock the time you spend online. You might be surprised how much time you’re wasting each day. Log off. Make yourself earn your social media time through exercise. For every minute you spend on the treadmill or in body pump class or doing Zumba, give yourself a minute online.
2. Why are you eating? Nothing has helped me more than keeping a food diary. Every time I eat, I write it down, along with what I’m feeling and why I’m eating what I’m eating. Like many people, I can turn to food in times of emotional stress. It’s easy to pretend you’re hungry if you’re not holding yourself accountable. Take a few extra moments to dig down deep and figure out what’s driving you to the pantry. Is it the actual grumbling of a hungry tummy? Or is it anger, sorrow, frustration, loneliness? Keep your diary with you all the time, and be honest with yourself. If you’re not actually hungry, don’t eat.
3. How much are you actually eating? I’ll never forget how shocked I was at first to realize how small healthy portion sizes actually are. We Americans are used to enormous portions. They look normal to us. But they’re making us fat and unhealthy. Get familiar with how much food you should actually be eating, and then eat it slowly in order to give your belly time to tell your brain that you’re full — which you will be, trust me. Stop eating for a family of four. You’re one person.
4. Are you drinking enough water? We need to drink water, and lots of it, to lose weight. This isn’t just to fill us up. It’s also to keep the plumbing working smoothly, and to aid our metabolism. I don’t drink anything other than water, usually. (I do have coffee in the mornings.) I was amazed to hear some relatives recently tell me I was “mean” for giving my son water instead of soda with his dinner. There are people who actually think water is a punishment! Unsurprisingly, these relatives have diabetes. Water is a pleasure. Learn to enjoy it. Drink it cold, on ice, with a slice of lemon. I add a few slices of cucumber to a pitcher of water to flavor it. Water is your friend.
5. Are you lifting weights? The research is clear about resistance training. Cardio by itself is not enough. You must build new muscle to raise your metabolism. Join a gym, or look for books (stay off the computer!) about weight training, and get going. A set of five-pound starter weights won’t cost you that much. Quit making excuses.
6. Do you tell yourself you can’t afford to exercise or to eat healthy foods? Planet Fitness costs less than twenty bucks a month. A can of garbanzo beans costs less than a dollar. I hear from people who spend more than that on Netflix and fast food about how they can’t afford to join a gym. We tell ourselves we can afford those things that matter, and if you’re convinced you can’t afford to work out, and yet spend more on stuff you don’t need, I can guarantee that money isn’t your issue. Conviction is. You don’t really want to lose weight, or you’re afraid to fail. Change your attitude, drop the weight.
7. Do you expect quick fixes to life’s problems? I got fat because I thought eating cookies would make me stop feeling sad. It’s that simple. I wanted a quick fix, a rush of sugar and fat to make me feel better. Weight loss doesn’t happen fast. It took time to get fat, and it takes time to stop being fat. If you are impatient, you’ll have a hard time losing weight. You’ve got to learn to be calm, to visualize the future, and to take this whole thing one day at a time. A reader of this blog recently complained on her Facebook page about having only lost 9 pounds in a month, saying she felt like such a failure. I was shocked! It isn’t recommended to lose more than 2 pounds a week for permanent weight loss, so she was losing at a very quick rate. Yet she was ready to give up. Why? Because we are conditioned to think things have to happen overnight in our culture. Slow down. Have faith.
8. Can you actually see yourself thin in your mind? If you can’t, we’ve got a problem. You must conquer your own self image as a fat person in order to let the thin person inside of you out. As long as you believe you were meant to be fat, you’ll stay fat.
9. Are you getting enough sleep? Studies show that lack of sleep leads to weight gain. Sleep.
10. Do you trust in a higher power? For me, faith has been the key to losing weight. Once I realized God wanted me to be the best version of me that I could be, once I remembered that He literally commands us to take care of our bodies as well as our souls, it got easier. With God on your side, you can do anything.