Do you want the magical weight-loss formula that always works for any person struggling with their weight? I have it and I'm going to share it with you in this post.
No to Willpower and Big Goals (Whew! What a Relief!)
I don't have much willpower. If you think that the reason I lost weight is due to willpower, I assure you it is not. And I don't have that much faith in setting big goals. Too many times, I have become so disappointed in having a big goal that I didn't reach. If a person sets too many big goals and fails to reach them, that person eventually just quits.
Yes to Daily Process!
What I do believe in is "the process." The process is all of the tiny steps taken each day to achieve something better. Am I scared of huge goals? They feel like a self-defeating trap. Am I scared of tiny steps that are easy to do? Tiny easy steps are just my style. :D
Focusing on Process is not a Cop-out
I am gym buddies with many of the best weightlifters in my gym. We all focus on tiny steps to improve. Often, we just get caught up in the fun of trying something new. If you had fun doing your exercise, does it really matter if a goal was met that day? Enthusiastic people reach more goals by relishing the process. It is the journey, not the goal, that matters most.
So here is the "magical process" for losing weight/weight management:
1) Drink 8 cups of water per day.
Start the morning by drinking a huge glass of water. Drink water when you are thirsty. Drink water when you are bored. When people are gobbling food in front of you, drink water or chew on ice cubes. Drinking all of this water not only feels lovely down the throat, but it keeps your stomach feeling more full in between meals. I've come to think of my glasses of water as an meaningful sign of my new rules for eating.
2) Food journal every day.
I do understand how resistant people are to food journaling because I initially felt that same way. However, every week that I food journal I am successful with my eating. Every day that I didn't food journal, I slipped.
Food journaling directs the brain to have better thoughts about eating. It helps keep the brain focused each day on the task at hand. It is hard to explain to a person who hasn't journaled, but all of the triggers and patterns eventually become clear. We can only face what we know. Knowing the triggers and patterns is half of the battle. Problem-solving is easy to do when we know the problems.
Also, keeping honest about calorie consumption happens by telling the food journal the whole truth, even if you are disappointed in yourself. Believe me, journaling on the very worst days helped me the most. It provides quick closure to a binge and is ritualistically a fresh new start for every new day.
3) Exercise at least 3 times per week.
Exercise makes a person care about himself or herself. If you go to the gym in the morning, it is far less likely that you want to binge later in the day. Regular exercise makes you deeply invested in your body. Self-love learned from exercise permeates into other aspects of life, including weight management. And yes, active exercise will help keep off about 10 to 15 pounds.
4) Eat a daily calorie amount less than your body's energy expenditure.
A moment of tough love here: Whatever you currently weigh, your eating formula got you there. If you have many excess pounds, your eating formula contains too many calories. I do sympathize with my heavier readers because I remember having the shocking realization that "OMG! I eat way too much!" However, facing the truth is the very best thing you can do.
Many diet books and even medical journals will provide numerous rationalizations and excuses for why you don't eat too much but are still too fat. Ignore that nonsense. If you are too fat, you need to eat less daily calories.
Logically: If you reduce your calories a little (100 to 200 calories less per day), you will lose a smaller amount of weight over a slower period of time. If you reduce your calories a lot (such as 500 or more calories per day), you will lose a larger amount of weight at a faster pace.
(FYI, I'm 5'9" and physically active. I currently eat about 1600 to 1800 calories per day. At my heaviest weight, I used to eat about 2,300 to 2,500 calories per day--far too much. Now, I am eating about 700 calories less per day than I did at my fattest weight.)
5) Weigh weekly, and carefully analyze struggles to problem-solve for better solutions.
I go to a weight-loss meeting each Tuesday night, but you can also do a weekly weigh-in and a weekly analysis on your own. We need to be accountable about our eating, which is accomplished by the weekly weigh-in. Watch the patterns of the weekly weigh-ins to see if you need to tweak your formula.
We don't want to keep repeating the same stupid mistakes, which is accomplished by analyzing that week's struggles and problem-solving for better solutions. If certain ice cream makes you want to binge, ask your family to purchase a different treat that is not a trigger food for you. Solving one problem at a time eventually makes a great food formula.
6) Be consistent with the process--every day, every week, every month.
This is the real deal, friends. If you follow this simple process for many days, then weeks, then months in a row, you will see yourself transform. It is the consistency of following the process--all of those little daily actions--over a long period of time that is the magical part.
You will love what you become. Consistently following a weight management process makes you the person you want to be--and it permeates other areas of your life. The process is about wanting something super good for yourself and being a big enough person to want it everyday, all day long.
This series of posts has ended! The 10 posts of this series include my total personal formula for long-term weight loss without stress and burnout. This is the exact formula that has me consistently losing weight every week since October 2, 2012. (And I'm still losing!) If you don't know what to do, just use my formula exactly as described in these 10 posts. If you missed reading some of these posts, you can find them on the right side of my blog. They were posted in December 2012, January 2013, and February 2013.) I hope you found this informative.
What do *you* think? How is your daily process working for you? Was there anything surprising or new to you about my formula, as described in these 10 posts? I'd really appreciate if you'd tell me any aspect of this weight loss/management series that you would like more posts about. And, of course, anything else you'd like to add.
Have a successful day full of little accomplishments!