Monthly Archives: February 2012

How do I find a weight loss plan that will work for me?

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Some psychology basics

OK I’m no therapist so get off of my couch! But I do almost have a master’s degree in psychology so here are some basics of human behavior. In psychology, punishment and reward are key for your behavior change. If you are doing something that you hate, it feels like a punishment to you. Continuing to do it will be something you dread and eventually stop doing because you dislike it so much. In order to make a change, you need to reinforce your behavior by either rewarding yourself or making the behavior a pleasant experience so that you will want to keep doing it.

 

Find your bliss! Learning to love exercise

In order for your weight loss plan to work, you need to find what works for you.

“How do I find out what will work for me for weight loss?” you’re asking. Know yourself is the answer! Do you like green beans? If not, then eating them for 3 weeks to lose 10 lbs will never work for you. Do you like running? If not, then strapping on your running shoes is the furthest thing from your mind.

 

A self-survey for best weight loss practices

Get out some paper and a pen (or your nearest electronic device notepad) and take a moment to answer the following questions.

Of all the exercise activities you have tried in your life, what did you like most?

Which exercise did you like least?

What were your favorite and least favorite PE activities in school?

Do you like any sports?

What music gets you energized?

How long have you stuck with your previous attempts to lose weight?

How much time do you honestly have to commit to exercise in a day?

What type of environment do you most enjoy being in?

Would you like being with a workout partner or do you prefer to be alone?

Do you like sweating?

Do you like consistency or variety?

I could keep going, but you get the point.

 

Now use that information to build your own reward system for your workout program. Make your exercise regimen a rewarding experience with your favorite music, favorite activities, favorite friend, favorite environment, the appropriate amount of time for you, etc., etc. For me this was listening to Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter,” being alone, doing activity that doesn’t involve a lot of sweating or pounding of my joints, doing it for maybe 30-45 minutes so I don’t lose interest, keeping a variety of activities in my workout routine and working out at home so it’s convenient.

 

You can apply this technique to your diet too but it is more difficult since food is by nature a reward for us. A better technique for food is to not deny your cravings and give in to them. Just a little. For me, I love bread. If I had to follow a diet that said I could never have bread, I know at the start that I’m going to fail. I’ll crave it and binge on Olive Garden breadsticks one day and hate myself. But if I tell myself that I can have 2 breadsticks as long as I stick to one bowl of soup and endless salad AND workout that day, then I can feel satisfied by having eaten what I crave and not having overdone it.

 

Making these kinds of “bargains” with yourself with “if then” rules are also helpful. For example, “If I finish this 45 minute workout, I can have 2 Dove dark chocolate squares.” I’ll have more on diet psychological techniques in future posts, including a visualization tip to help prevent setbacks and pitfalls around the holidays and workplace potlucks. Thank you for reading and good luck to you in your quest for a healthier you. Here’s hoping you’ll soon be able to write your own weight loss success story for women just like yourself!

 

A weight loss success story for women over 30

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Over 30 and losing it: How I lost weight

 

At the time that I lost 60 pounds, I was a 37 year old woman and I had accomplished almost all of that weight loss in a 6 month timeframe. I wanted to write this story to share my weight loss success with you in the hopes that you will be able to write your own success story and share that with other 30-plus women. I promise to be honest with you about my setbacks and challenges, and will share more of my weight loss tips in future posts as well as more details about my exercise habits.

 

Timeframe for my weight loss

Although several factors helped me to lose the weight, the main one that helped me was a “Biggest Loser” contest that my workplace had created. With a $20 buy in per person and an initial weigh in starting in January and an ending weigh in scheduled for June, enough people had participated that the first place prize would be $750! That was a big motivator for me to lose weight. The winner would be determined based on the percentage of weight lost, not pounds lost. My starting weight was 255 and I was 5’ 6,” grossly obese according to BMI charts.

 

Setting a weight loss goal 

I had a coworker who was tall (5’ 9”), beautiful and lean 20-something compared to me. She wanted to participate too and we decided to support each other in our efforts to lose weight for the contest. When she weighed in she was over 200 pounds and I hate to say it but that number was just so satisfying for me to see. She looked healthy to me and had a figure that I wished for. Her number seemed attainable to me and so now I had a goal to shoot for. I know that this is not necessarily rational, but it meant something important to me. This mental shift was key for me.   

 

My diet success story

My diet consisted of the following:

Breakfast: Either Special K and skim milk for breakfast or a light Yoplait yogurt, frozen fruit (blueberry, strawberry or banana) and skim milk smoothie

AM Snack: Yoplait light yogurt

Lunch: Campbell’s soup: Either Italian wedding, tomato or creamy chicken. No crackers. Or tuna: Plain Starkist albacore can tuna, the Starkist tuna salad packs with crackers or the Bumblebee tuna packs in spicy Thai flavor

PM Snack: V8 veggie juice either the small can or the 12 oz one and a light cheese stick

Dinner: Varied but a grilled cheese was a frequent player along with more tomato soup, a McDonald’s Asian chicken salad without dressing, or Wendy’s chili and baked potato without the butter and sour cream.

 

Exercise plan for my lazy bones

Knowing what would work for me was important. The exercise had to be something that I wouldn’t dislike and could do without feeling self-conscious in workout clothes at the gym. I was almost 40 years old and looked like a whale in Spandex. I started using the recumbent exercise bike that had become a clothing rack in my bedroom. I moved it into the living room where I could sit and watch TV. The best part of this was being able to wear comfortable clothing (even going braless) and not having to worry about going to a gym and being judged by other people (read: skinny women) in the parade of thinner-than-me bodies.

 

I worked out once a day either in the morning or the evening, setting a goal of burning 500 calories each time. After I had done this for about 2 months, I ramped up my workouts to 1000 calories at a time or 500 calories burned twice a day. I also tried to work exercise into my daily activity by sucking in my stomach as often as I could remember throughout the day, doing leg lifts while brushing my teeth, push ups against the counter in the kitchen, anywhere I could find time to move, I did. I’ll write more on this topic later so you know which muscles I focused on more often than others and how I worked in other exercises like belly dancing.

 

Pounds lost

My weight loss started slowly but had built to about 10 pounds lost by the second month. This was when I ramped things up with my workouts to compete with my friend. By the end of the 6 month contest, I had lost 22% of my body weight and almost 60 pounds total. And I was thrilled with my new leaner, more healthy body!

 

I hope that you will find this weight loss success story useful, especially if you are a woman who is over 30 or nearing 40 and has started to notice that your metabolism is slowing down. There’s more to my story and I’ll be posting and blogging more about my journey because I’m still working to lose weight and keep it off.  

Hello losers!

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OK that was totally meant as a cheeky comment, not an insult. I hope that you all can achieve your weight loss goals and become very happy losers too.

Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone wants the magic pill for it. They spend thousands looking for it. But ultimately they never find that “one thing” that works.

I think you already know what works. And it’s up to you to make it happen and put it into action.

I’m typing this from my recumbent bike. Move with me! Let’s all become fabulous losers and create a community of women who help each other at herweightlossblog.com!