The Endless Battle to Find the Perfect Weight: 8 Weight Loss Tips From a Weight Watcher by Charlene Torkelson
I began a habit of setting and reviewing life goals in the 1980s and have continued the practice to this day. I would like to say that when reviewing those goals set decades ago, I have made progress. Yes, in most areas I have made significant changes, but in one area, I find myself setting the same goal over and over again. It has to do with health and fitness.
No. 1 has always been “lose 10 pounds.” Sigh! Why does this never seem to change? Why do I find my self unsatisfied in this area? Why can’t I reach this seemingly simple goal? How hard can it be?
Growing up, I was a pathetically skinny, gangly girl. What has changed? I guess that is the important question. How have my habits in food and activity changed? I remember being a picky eater. I’d go to McDonalds and request a “plain” hamburger. They hate that! No ketchup, mustard, onions, etc. Today, I cringe at the thought of no seasoning or extra flavor, but I guess that should explain the differences between now and then – it’s the extras! The sauces and the stuff we find flavorful. Slather on the dips and dressings and all the extras that we don’t think add any calories – or pounds. Wrong!
And the activity. I was always jumping and moving as a kid. Today I settle easily into my chair behind the computer. I don’t have the energy to bounce around anymore. I am very content to sit. Aren’t we all? Now we have to plan our activity just to make sure we get more movement each day. Couch potato mentality!
Well, it has been a month since I made the decision to stop the procrastination and really focus on this goal that has been No. 1 on my list for all these years. Yes, I joined Weight Watchers. I expected hardships: hunger, setbacks, crying and disappointment. While I haven’t NOT felt some of these, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that I have indeed lost the 10 pounds. Now my goal is to lose 10 more. I’m on a roll! In part, I realize I need to feel healthier. As I age, I know I’m not helping myself by putting off something that will make me feel better about my journey. If I put it off, it will only be more difficult and more painful. After all, aging can be hard. So here I go!
Here are things I’ve learned in my first month of my new life plan:
- It hasn’t been difficult. I have not been hungry. I have not starved myself. I eat three meals a day. I eat healthy, fresh food, and as much as I hate to admit it, it feels very good.
- As I go along, I find very tasty go-to foods that I really love. For me, the good ones have been Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning (I’m able to make sauces and dressings that are not fatty or high in calories) and sugar-free Jell-O (a sweet treat with fresh fruit).
- I have been consistent in my exercise. I do an 8-minute warm up every morning to get my day started and ride the stationary bike as a watch a favorite TV show every midday. I don’t let myself off the hook on these two constants. Then I can add additional exercise when I have the time and energy.
- I walk to and from work each day. I know many people don’t have this option, but just a short walk each day can make a big difference. I remember I did this when my children were born to get off the baby weight. I’d put the kid(s) into the stroller and just walk around the block. Nothing big or long or tiring. It worked then, and it is working now.
- I don’t stress about setbacks. A holiday comes up, and I eat and feast, but I tend to gravitate toward some of the foods that I know are good for me. I find the vegetables and the fish or chicken rather than the breads and desserts. I don’t fret about going up a pound here and there because I know I will lose it in a day or two. I give myself time, and I jump right back into my plan.
- I’ve changed my reward system. I no longer reward myself for an accomplishment with food. Rather I give myself a bubble bath, a massage or a new outfit. I must say, fitting into clothes I could not wear for the past year has been a real treat! It feels good.
- That doesn’t only go for rewards, but setbacks. What do we do when we have a particularly difficult day? We try to make ourselves feel better with a big bowl of ice cream with all the trimmings. Then we beat ourselves up afterward for the indiscretion. Instead, a relaxing hour sitting on the swing in my yard listening to favorite music is much more calming. And it puts a smile back on my face.
- In order to achieve new goals, we need to reset out habits. That is what I have done this past month. I’ve reset my habits. While it isn’t always possible to reset ALL of our habits in one fell swoop, we can take one habit at a time and then move on to the next one.
One month later, I’m patting myself on the back because now when I look into the mirror, I can see the results of my efforts. And it feels good.
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