Thought Catalog

16 People Share The Thing That (Finally) Helped Them Lose Weight

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Someone on r/loseit asked its members to talk about one thing that really worked for them and help them become healthier. Here are the best suggestions. Add yours in the comments.
ilovebutter
ilovebutter

Remember that it’s not a race

It’s not a race. There’s no deadline…Take a moment to breathe and think and be calm.

All you have to do is be a bit better today than yesterday. I went over my calories yesterday. I’m not going to today.

There’s no sainthood for healthy eaters, no damnation for overeaters. But if you want to lose weight and you’ve figured it out (diet+exercise) then all you have to do is be a little bit better today than yesterday, plan how you’re going to be a little bit better tomorrow, and do that every day until you reach your target.

Keep going

The biggest issue with “failing” is deluding yourself that failure is a one-time thing, or that success has and end date. The only way to succeed is to keep trying. That’s it. You only fail when you give up hope, give up knowing that eating well and exercising are investments your present self is paying to benefit future you.

Remember: it’s on you

You should not look for external factors to succeed. That will just lead to you failing whenever those external factors aren’t available. You should do what you want to do because you want to do.

Also: stop kidding yourself. We all like to eat, you’re no different. We just decided that losing weight is more important than the temporary rush you get from food.

Find something that makes you excited, and then do it

Change something.

Find something to get excited about and do it. Whether that’s a recipe or workout or whatever.

Don’t think about the big picture

Appreciate every small victory stop focusing on the end goal. Decide you want to lose weight and enjoy the small changes. Thinking only about 100 lbs from now makes the mountain seem much larger than it is.

Go at your own pace

Take it easy. What worked for me was counting calories and eating better but still including craft beer in my diet. Because that makes me happy at the end of a hard day or a brutal workout. I didn’t even change my food until I got a workout regimen in place for like 8 months. When I got tired of being strong but totally physically incapable of handling the high impact stuff I wanted to do, I started working on food. I decided beer > bread, so I got rid of bread. I decided more veggies meant more food in my belly for the calories, so I ate more of those. I stay within my target calories, rarely eating even beyond my maintenance intake. I mess up. I don’t always like what I see in the mirror. I get mad. I cry. I’ve cried a lot. But I get up each day and do at least one thing that helps make my body healthier and stronger, and that keeps me chugging along. It works because I’ve eased into it and given myself some room to grieve (it’s scary realizing you’ve let yourself go for so long and a little grief to mourn lost time/goals/desires is healthy) and given myself some slack when days get tough. Every day, wake up and ask yourself what ONE thing is you can do to make a change. Make it. Start small. Relish small victories. Literally sit and appreciate them. That gratitude will inform your behavior as you grow those small wins into bigger ones.

Switch from white to wheat

Yeah, the wheat switch has worked for me. Whole wheat bread, pasta, brown rice…I actually prefer it now. In small portions, of course.

Use logic

What worked for me was using logic to fight back against my “I can’t do this” mentality. Is it literally possible for me to get to a healthy weight and achieve all my fitness goals? Yes. Forget about the doubting and negative thoughts that will come up, let those thoughts come up, make a mental note that it is literally possible to lose weight, and let those bad thoughts pass. Don’t obsess on the negative. Think of the negative thoughts like a child who doesn’t want to do their chores or homework, they can complain all they want and be upset (emotions are neither right or wrong) but regardless their parent will make them do their chores and homework. You will have to be the responsible adult to your negative thoughts. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel, make decisions based on what you think. So you have to have the fundamental belief that it is possible to lose weight. I always tell myself “if other people have done it, I can too”.

Stop with the diet talk

You aren’t failing your diet.

No one is failing their diet.

They’re just making poorer choices. I don’t mean that in a literal “YOU’RE NOT EATING NOTHING BUT CELERY AND PLACENTAS? BUT THAT’S THE ONLY HEALTH WAY”. You’re eating stuff that means you aren’t losing weight, which is too much.

You aren’t on a diet right now. You never were. You just need to go back to making the choices you did before.

Here’s what worked for me

I’m still not where I want to be but some of the things that worked for me are:

Using spite as motivation. Thinking of all the times people has made fun of me or doubted me and envisioning them seeing me when I’m at my ideal weight/body type. Let that anger be fuel because it’s not doing you any good being bottled up inside. I know you’re supposed to do this for yourself (which you are) but the added benefit of seeing the looks on the faces of those who doubted you doesn’t hurt either. This is probably at the top of my list.

MyFitnessPal. This app is awesome. Use it. I ate whatever but I tried to stay under my caloric limit for the day. Sure there are plenty of times where I go over. Do I feel badly about it? Yes. But you can’t throw everything away because of a binge or cheat. You just say, “Fuck it, I’ll try my best to make better decisions at my next meal.” I enjoy logging in MFP. But right now I’m just focusing on deficit. I’m sure in the future I’ll focus more on what I’m actually eating (Macros and stuff like that because as of right now, I have no idea what that is).

There are days where you’re just not going to want to do anything. When I run into these days, I try to pump myself up. By either listening to something that will make me want to go (Bill Conti – Going the Distance usually works for me). Or try to reason with myself. “Dude, let’s just go and do something light and if you’re still not feeling it, we can leave.” Or “Stop being a bitch about it and go work out.” Because if it’s not a non-training day and I just decided to skip, I’ll end up sitting on my ass watching TV. Then it’s like, “Really, dude? You couldn’t have gone to the gym for an hour and then do this? Oh was this re-run of Parks and Rec that you’ve seen for the 4th time really worth it?” There are days where you’re going to feel shitty about a cheat meal or going over your calories or missing a workout so if you’re going to beat yourself up over it, at least beat yourself up at the gym.

You’re going to be attractive to the opposite sex. This is shallow but it’s great motivation. People will be vying for your attention. If you’re in a relationship, that’s even better for your SO. Who wouldn’t want an attractive SO? This great for your self-confidence which will keep you living the healthy lifestyle.

Just do it. Don’t talk about it, be about it. Instead of being on Reddit for 2 hours, I could’ve been sweating for an hour. Shit, I could’ve been on Reddit on my phone at the gym on the stationary bike. The “I don’t have enough time” is bullshit. If it’s important, you make the time.
I use Reddit as motivation. /r/loseit,/ r/progesspics,/ r/fitness,/ r/getmotivated . These subs keeps me motivated and wanting to go harder than ever. Whenever I see an awesome before and after, I just want that for myself.

I hope you find what you’re looking for because you’re worth the effort.

Consider your starting point

Honestly if I lose motivation I look at my body. I don’t want a gut that hangs or jiggly arms. My fucking stomach has cellulite for christ sakes. I think about living 1 more second in this body vs. Having a body that enables me to do the things I want to do. I’m 21 and trying to date. If I want to date the type of guys I am interested in I have to look the part.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good

For me, it was remembering that it doesn’t have to be complicated, just consistent.

I lost 40 lbs a couple years ago but have since gained it all back, PLUS another 15 or so. I lost it the first time with just counting calories and walking. MyFitnessPal and my Fitbit. Nothing fancy or complicated.. it wasn’t lightning fast but I stuck to it and it worked.

I’m back on track now and having the same slow but steady success I had last time. Here’s what I’ve learned:

There is no one-size-fits-all diet. I give myself a ‘cheat day’ (which so far has meant that I have McDonalds that day but still stay within my calorie budget). I eat carbs and sweets regularly. I’m a big fan of ‘moderation in all things’ and, as long as it fits into my calorie budget, it’s fair game. Last night I went for an extra walk so I could have a cinnamon bun. Could I lose weight faster if I didn’t allow myself treats and cheats? Probably, but it’s not worth it to me. I don’t want a “diet”, I want something I can sustain long-term and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change the way you eat completely. I tried keto for a month and, yes, I lost weight, but I was angry the whole time. I hated it. Wasn’t for me at all. On the other hand, I have a coworker who feels she has to stay carb free because once she has, say, a bowl of cereal for breakfast, that’s it, she’s off the wagon and off to the races.. chips, chocolate bars, pizza, no hold barred carbathon. So, carb free is what works for her.

This whole wall of text is just to say .. find something you can live with. Find what works for YOU.

If you like numbers, track them

As I like numbers, I made a spreadsheet.

I was watching my calories as well as doing the insanity workouts – bear in mind at 276.5lb I was in no way fit.

I made a spreadsheet with weekly tracking of weight and measurements of hip, chest, waist, arm and leg, as well as my fortnightly insanity fit test results.

Worked like a charm. Finished the workouts, got my t shirt.

Currently down almost 60lb in under 4 months and training for a 10km obstacle race that’s in 3 weeks. Ran my first 10km (plenty of walking during though, took 80 mins) last week and didn’t die.

Don’t make yourself feel deprived

One thing that helped me was after splurge days (2-3 in a row) I didn’t go straight back to my previous calorie count. Instead, I take a few days to gradually bring it back down. So if I ate way over 2,000 during my Mom’s visit or my trip out of town, when I get back I start at 2,000 for the first day, then 1,900, then 1,800 and so forth. Before I was really struggling with how to self-correct after a few days without counting at all. I would try to go straight back to 1,500 or 1,600 and just feel like I was starving!!

I don’t use a scale

I threw out my scale. I focused on how I felt rather than the pounds that I was losing. This allowed me to forget about water weight, the random fluctuations that came with one bad weekend, etc.

I got addicted to running. Once I started putting in so much continuous exercise time eating poorly seemed counterproductive and a waste.

I packed my lunch everyday and learned how to say no to free food.

I still love pizza, but I learned how to control my portions and still enjoy it while being reasonable.

Some days I still feel like I’m in a rut and not getting better, but then I remember I have the energy I always lacked and I feel good. I’m not a number on a scale. My body may never be “perfect”, but I’m going to learn from my mistakes and take care of the only body I have.

Remember this quote

I think about this quote whenever I loose my mind and start wanting to eat a lot: “That guy you used to be, he’s still in the car. He’ll always be in the car. Just don’t let him drive”. And it helps me a lot. I guess it makes my mistakes tangible. It’s like that saying about the kind of wolf you feed inside you. I hope it helps you too. Keep going! TC mark

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