How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

by Anna D

When I embarked on a journey to losing the belly flab and living a healthier lifestyle, I didn’t really know what I was in for. I knew I wanted the weight off completely and permanently. I knew that I had to put in the work to get there. By the time, I reached my goals, something amazing happened. I was a completely different person – inside and out.

healthy_skin_healthy_lifestyle[This picture reminds me of how I feel when I exercise and when I feel at my best.]

You see, I wasn’t born skinny and I definitely didn’t have the genetics to stay skinny. To top it off, my cultural background had me eating rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m not saying rice is bad but it’s definitely not the food of choice if you’re trying to eat less. Just like many people, I had to carefully watch what I ate and find the best workouts out there to help me lose weight and keep it off. I had (and still have sometimes) the same miseries, dilemmas, and confusion just like many people do when it comes to losing weight.

While all those things are a part of everyone’s journey, I am thankful because I’m a better person for experiencing them. Having finally conquered my battle against unwanted weight which has plagued me for the longest time, something changed in my mind as well. My first ever (and hopefully last) “win” in the battle of the bulge made me realize that I can do anything that I set my mind to do. I know it may sound like a cliche but believe me when I say that during my physical transformation, I also transformed my mind in the process. I felt powerful! I felt unstoppable! You know when they say, “you can be whatever you want to be,”? I did that when I lost the weight and I still follow this philosophy everyday in my life.

Ending the Quest for the Quick Fix

Many of us are still looking for the “quick fix” or immediate gratification when it comes to weight loss or other areas of our lives. Believe me, I’ve also looked for these quick fixes in the past. But, once we realize that they do not exist, the sooner we will get closer to our fitness goals. The only way we can reach them is to let go of all our excuses and make the commitment to living a healthier lifestyle. To tell you the truth, finding a great nutrition plan and an effective exercise program is actually the easiest of all the steps that you’re going to take. The most difficult things happen inside your head once it’s time to execute them. But, paying attention to all the “chit-chat” you have with yourself and finding strategies to effectively deal with them will be the attitude that will lead you to the success and results that you’re looking for.

Let me give you a clear example of someone who went for the quick fix when she tried to lose weight. This example comes for the very first episode of Jillian Micheal’s new show, “Losing It with Jillian.” In this episode, the young daugther of an obese family went through gastric bypass surgery. I forgot her name but basically she’s the only “skinny” looking person in the family because she had the surgery done. She lost the weight without much exercise and she heavily relied on the surgery to help her lose the weight. There was a clip in that episode where she confessed that she still sees herself as an overweight person and she still does not believe that she’s finally at a normal weight. This type of belief comes from someone who did not put in the effort to deal with the issues that are happening in her mind. She didn’t feel as if she deserved her new body since she didn’t really do much to get there.

The Secret to Keeping the Weight Off

What I’ve been telling you throughout this post is this, the only time you will truly keep the weight off is when you undergo a mental transformation along with your physical transformation. The sooner you stop believing in short cuts, the sooner you will find the way to permanent weight loss, better health, and long lasting fitness. Instead of thinking of the word “diet,” think more along the lines of nutrition. Diets are short-term which is why their results are also short-term. Adapting a healthy nutrition plan that you follow daily will make lasting changes to your waist line and give you a better outlook in life. The same way of thinking goes for exercise. Including regular exercise in your routine will make it a habit that is hard to break. This is what it means to “live a healthy lifestyle.”

Final Thoughts

Many people have this idea that living a healthy lifestyle is boring. For me, the oppsite is true and it should be for you as well. I always find ways to make my workouts fun and my foods flavorful. You’d have to find out what kind of exercises you enjoy and try out healthy recipes before you start enjoying them but it’s definitely worth the journey. Of course, I occasionally enjoy eating “unhealthy” foods but I no longer rely on them to satisfy my soul.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Britton June 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm

You have it it right on the head or should I say right “in” the head.

The key to all significant changes we make is making the decision and commitment, in your head, to make the change.

As someone who has made some major life’s changes but has not yet fully committed to loosing the weight I need to loose I am speaking to myself with this comment as much if not more so than anyone else.

Thank you for the reminder of what I already knew but was not fully practicing.

Peace,
-Ron-

Anna_d June 14, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Ron, you’re right. The decision starts in our head. I hope you finally make the commitment.

Anna

Louise Edington June 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Just the kick start I needed. I recently lost 23lbs by eating right and exercising but I’ve let that stinkin’ thinkin’ come back into my life and have put 6lbs back on. Must get back to it as I felt so much healthier doing the right thing.

Stephanie Feldman June 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I already know this, implementing it is something else like Ron said. I have many health issues , not to mention middle age that makes it an uphill battle to loose weight, nearly impossible as a matter of fact, but one thing I have decided to do is NOT diet, not try quick fixes, and just live as healthy as I can, eat what I love, but control how much of it I eat and even if the scale does not budge, walk, walk, walk…it is the one thing I can still do and so I try to get 3-5 miles each and every day…that too had to start in my head, as it was so easy to stay on the couch and do nothing.
Thanks for the great read!

Irene Turner June 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm

You are absolutely right Anna…our mind is an amazing and powerful tool. If we CHOOSE to see the changes we make as fun and exciting they will be…if we choose not to, they won’t be…It’s like Henry Ford said “If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’ll be right!” Thanks for the reminder to choose what’s good for us and have fun doing it!

Julia M Lindsey June 14, 2010 at 7:34 pm

You are right that there is no quick fix to being thin or healthy. There are many people that diet to get thin but still are not healthy. You have to make exercise part of your life. It can be hard to work an exercise program into your life but once it is a habit it will feel great. If you feel good about your body you are more likely to stick to the healthy eating.

Donna McCord June 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Thank you for the reminders about the power of making the commitment for change and embracing it for your own. At 62 years of age, I have had more than one experience with weight gain, making the decision to lose and accomplishing the goal. The problem though is “more than one”! Now I am going through that challenge again and determined to win. Your article has encouraged me! Thank you!

heidi & atticus June 15, 2010 at 7:36 am

Nice post, Anna. I agree that the road to fitness (and weight loss) is really a mind game. I have always been a fairly fit person of average weight, until a bad marriage (and subsequent divorce) put me in the mindset of not caring about myself. The result; 50 additional pounds on this 5’5” frame!
Good news is that after leaving the bad relationship, it became easier to care about myself again, and I was down to my “fighting weight” again in about 6 months. For me, it all came down to the simple question; “do I deserve to be happy and healthy again?”. When the answer becomes a determined “Yes!”, the weight loss & fitness is automatic. With the right mindset, I find, it’s effortless to get to the gym, find a tennis partner, walk the dog or jump on my bike.

ChrisLWagner June 15, 2010 at 9:13 am

Anna, it’s so wonderful to hear you talking about your mental transformation after losing weight. You don’t hear that enough in weight loss programs. I’m a total believer that you can do anything you want once you believe you can. I’m so happy for you and keep up the good work!

Anna_d June 15, 2010 at 9:23 am

Louise, talking yourself into the right mindset takes some effort the first several times. It does come back every now and then but it does get easier.

Stephanie, it seems like you have already transformed your mind. Keep doing what you do to move forward.

Irene, I love that quote. It rings true for me too.

Julia, it does feel good to make the healthy changes. I hope more people know about how good that feels.

Donna, we all succeed at different times and getting the right mindset takes several tries. I hope you win this time.

Heidi, good for you that you were able to get back to your fighting weight. That is highly commendable especially for someone who has gone through those hardships.

Chris, a lot of weight loss programs out there focus on the number on the scale. But, long-term success highly depends on whether you have accepted long-lasting healthy lifestyle changes.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

Kerry Hargraves June 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm

You nailed it – all the diets and exercise programs in the world won’t make a lasting change. The biggest contributor to a fit, healthy body is a fit, healthy mind. Also recognizing that you have to be able to live with and enjoy your choices..

Lee Lonitz June 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Hi Anna, I see a new blog here and, even more exciting, words I can definitely identify with. Although I’m nowhere near in the semi-muscular shape I used to be (I’m working on it), I totally agree that the secret to losing weight is not dieting. It’s a change in your lifestyle — something more permanent. Only then will it last longer (have longevity), versus diets which are often quick fixes and even then without maintaining the diet, people wind up putting back on the weight.

I’m working on getting myself back into the state of mind and I know when I do, I’ll be transformed in mind once again to feeling great over the accomplishment!

Thanks for sharing! I definitely intend to re-read your post again and again to remind myself what it takes!

Anna_d June 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Lee, this is actually my blog for my local bootcamp. I do hope you’re able to get that mind transformation you’re looking for. It is amazing what a change in mindset can do to our lives – not just in weight loss 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer Duchene June 19, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Hello Anna,
I love your point about setting your mind to change your lifestyle.
Its making the decision that changes who you are, whatever that may be. Shortcuts don’t work in dieting, exercise or life because one is not committed to change, whether you are doing it to feel better or live better in your space. My clients who want change in their spaces, are ready to make sacrifices to live better and I think that is the key to it all. Being willing to give up the easy way to become more in tune with you. I salute you for doing this. It takes commitment and discipline.

Jen
The Home Makeover Mixtress blending cool and cozy style.

Anna_d June 20, 2010 at 10:07 am

Jen, we can really draw a parallel in designing people’s spaces to live better and making a change to a healthier lifestyle. Most of the time, we have to step out of our comfort zone to achieve the things that we want and yes, it takes a LOT of commitment and discipline.

Anna

Anna_d June 20, 2010 at 10:12 am

Kerry, you made a great point about recognizing that you have to live with and enjoy your choices. We all have choices and most of the time, the right choice is not always the easiest way to go.

Anna

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