Rules and Random Tips

  1. Drink LOTS of water!  I try to aim for 10 cups a day.
  2. Track calories and measure your food!  It's tedious, I know, but necessary!  You need to become  familiar with about how much a cup of pasta looks like, or three ounces of chicken, etc.  You won't always be able to measure your food, so you want to set up that foundation for you to use when you don't have your scale or measuring cup available.  Even when you have a bad eating day, track your food!  After tracking my food on days that I was kicking myself for eating poorly I've found a lot of times that it wasn't as bad as I thought.  Then the exact opposite has occurred, as well.  So it's really important to know the nutritional value of the foods you are eating, and if you actually see the numbers, I guarantee you that when you see that certain burgers have 1000+ calories and 60+ grams of fat that you will be less likely to order it again. Sparkpeople.com has a good nutrition tracker and I've heard livestrong.com does, as well.  Really just Google nutrition tracker or calorie counter and you will be able to find something that suites your needs.
  3. Try to stay away from eating out in general, more often than not you will eat more calories and feel less fulfilled.  If you intend to eat out, look up their nutritional information before going.  Most restaurants have their nutritional information posted online.  Decide what you will be ordering and do not even look at the menu at the restaurant.  I've made that mistake many times and more often than not that results in me eating something more fat and calorie ridden. 
  4. Work out 5+ times a week, then try to stay active on the days you don't work out.  Ie-grocery shopping, chores, etc.
  5. Have accountability buddies.  Even if it's a friend that's not specified as such, just telling someone at the gym "Yes, I'll be here tomorrow" is making a commitment and you will be more likely to follow through.
  6. If you find an exercise you enjoy, stick with it!  Regardless of the intensity, just the fact that you enjoy it means you are more likely to stick with it.  For me, it's Zumba.  I love Zumba, but I burn almost twice as much running for an hour than I do doing an hour of Zumba.  Although I have to admit, I've started to love running, as well!
  7. Learn to say no, and be upfront when it comes to food.  I've learned that for me, the easiest food to turn down is the food at work.  And it never fails that someone will say "You have to splurge every once in awhile!"  Well the fact is, we have staff meetings once a month, every month.  That's not a splurge, that's a planned disaster.  I'd rather splurge on Fridays or Saturdays so I can go out to eat with my family, or bake that amazing cake I've been dreaming about, etc.  
  8. Be prepared for people to try and bring you down.  Sometimes people don't even realize they're doing it, but snide comments will be made, rumors may be spread, negativity may be apparent.  Screw everyone, you're doing this for you and YOUR reasons.  Not theirs. And you have your own goals, don't let anyone tell you that they're too extreme or that you are being too ambitious or anything that will deter you from your own goals.  My goal was to get to a size 6, with 130 pounds lost.  I'm now in a size 4 with 130 pounds lost and I aim to lose another 10 pounds and maybe even see a size 2.  (I might mention here that I'm only 5'2 with a very petite frame, so I'm by no means "skinny".)  And honestly, I don't care what anyone thinks or says, this is what I want and according to my doctor it is perfectly healthy. 
  9. Be prepared for plateaus, they happen! After I hit about 70 pounds lost, I started seeing plateaus about every 10 pounds.  The past month or two it's been every 5 pounds.  Just change up your workout routine, take a rest day, have a free eating day, try anything different.  Just don't give up!!!!  Keep tracking your food, keep exercising, keep drinking plenty of water, because you WILL start losing again.  
  10. Never stop making goals.  Fitness, health, life in general.  So long as you are working on bettering yourself, seeing the results and striving towards something will help keep you from giving up.
  11. Never give up, don't make excuses, don't beat yourself up.  The main thing to learn through this whole process is that YOU are your own worst enemy.  No matter all the mean comments, disgusted looks, biased opinions of those that have never had a weight problem, YOU are the only one that can do this and the only one that will hold you back.  I'm notorious for being too hard on myself.  I remember being in a size 10 (for the first time in my adult life) and thinking about how fat I am, pissed because I couldn't seem to get out of that weight bracket.  I'd lost 100+ pounds, had accomplished SO much in the past year and I was kicking myself, really?  I've been lucky to have a boyfriend, dad, sister and a couple of good friends to knock my head back on straight when I start thinking like that.  That's crazy talk.  And when you're down and out, hey, tomorrow is another day and you just jump right back on that train to get to where you want to be.