1. Visualization and the Law of Attraction
Spend time imagining yourself as a fit, healthy, svelte-looking woman. I have a mental picture of myself walking on a grassy trail by the beach with my dog. I am slender, muscular, and fit. I imagine how I feel as I breath in the fresh salt air while walking briskly without being winded. I go back to that mental picture several times a day.
2. Commitment to Exercise
Know thyself. I know that I will exercise like a banshee for a few months, then the first or second time I have to miss it because of the sniffles or a vacation, I fall completely off the wagon. We've had a gym membership for about 18 years. Over the past 2 years I've only used it a half a dozen times. But I know my co-dependent nature. So after mulling it over for about a year, I decided to get a dog as a walking partner. I know that I cannot look into the pleading eyes of my canine friend and say "Sorry, we can't walk today because it's raining outside." I can tell myself that..and I can tell my girlfriends that; but not the dog. So just like the mailman, in rain or shine, wind or sleet, the dog and I are up and out at 6:30 am, then again at 7:00 pm. This week Baron and I have walked about 18 miles.
NOTE: DO NOT GET A DOG UNLESS YOU ARE TOTALLY 100% COMMITTED TO BEING A RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER. This means walking him, professional training, having an adequate yard, adjusting your schedule to accomodate him, spending tons of money at the vet, and committing to 10-15 years of making this animal a priority in your life.
3. A Combination of Sensible Eating Guidelines
a. The One-Helping Rule. I tend to binge on foods I love. Now I allow myself to have them occasionally but one helping. That means 2 cookies, not 10. One scoop of mashed potatoes, not half a plate buried in gravy. A handful of Frito's instead of the whole bag.
b. Loosely Counting Calories. As a veteran dieter, I pretty much know the calorie content of most foods by heart. So I keep a loose tally in my head. I try to keep it under 1500 or so--and once or twice a week I drop it to 1000-1200.
c. Eating Healthy. This means including lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I've forced myself to learn to cook some very healthy meals, and try to make them a few times a week. I like the Mediterranean diet, so I make Mediterranean Rice with Spinach, Chicken Marsala...things like that. We primarily eat fish and chicken for meat, and occasionally eat red meat. I try to make fish once per week, chicken twice or more, and vegetarian twice or more per week. Lots of soups in the winter, salads in summer.
d. Limit bread. Breads and pastas are my weakness. I rarely have sandwiches for lunch these days, and if I do, I only use one slice of bread. Toast and jam is a treat reserved for weekends. My breakfasts are mainly oatmeal with nuts, honey, and fresh blueberries, or Cheerios with sliced banana. No sugar. Always eat whole grains instead of highly processed.
e. Use Honey Instead of Sugar whenever possible.
f. Pick a Day to Splurge. Saturdays are reserved for tea and scones or muffins. I enjoy them without guilt. Period.
g. Don't Go There! Our Teacher's Lounge is a food-lover's mecca. Somebody's always bringing donuts, pastries, banana bread, etc. I try to stay out of there. If I must try something, it's a little tiny piece.
h. Think About What You CAN Eat, Not What You Can't. It's a subtle mental shift-- but very important.
Remember how carefully you packed lunches for your children...how you tried to give them all of most nutritious foods you could afford? Do that for you. Go to your local natural food store or to farmer's markets and buy the most wonderful, nutritious things you can for yourself. Take time to cook something lovely for yourself. There are so many wonderful things to make, like fresh vegetable soup, marinated tomatoes and basil over pasta, sweet and sour cabbage, lentil soup with chicken. I know from experience that your often too tired to cook; but truthfully, that's because your overweight and overloaded with carbs. Force yourself to cook from scratch. Soon it will be a joy, not a chore.
i. Split Meals at Restaurants Order 1 meal to split, and a side salad. Drink water. It's healthier and cheaper. After all, do you REALLY need to eat a whole rack of ribs, 1/2 a chicken, or 2 lb of greasy fries??? I thought not.
4. Have A Big, Longterm Goal
I plan to walk the Camino de Santiago when hubby retires...about 5 years from now. The walk is arduous...about 400 miles. That's about 20 miles a day. So I need to lose about 25 lb and do some serious toning to be ready for that walk.
5. No Self Flaggelation
Love yourself like you would your children. No self-deprecating talk. No beating yourself up over a piece of cake. No silly pictures on the fridge. No saying that you can't buy something nice to wear until you reach a certain weight. Get your hair colored or your nails done. Do your makeup. Buy some nice, flattering outfits. If they become too big, you can have them altered or wear a belt around them.
6. Take Time
See this as a life change...not a diet. What if it takes a year or more to lose the weight? Isn't that better than gaining 5 lb a year? Every pound you lose is a victory in itself.
7. Don't Let the Scale Dictate Your Mood
My weight loss usually goes like this: Stuck for 3 weeks-- Down 1 lb. -- Up 2 lb. -- Down 1 lb.-- Down 2 lb.-- Up 1 lb.-- Stuck for a week -- Down 3 lb. What if I allowed my attitude to go up and down with the numbers on the scale? Not pretty. Been there. Done that. So over it!
So that's the plan. I've lost 8 lb so far. It's taken about 5 months. I plan to lose about 25 more. It may take a couple of years... and that's okay!