Weight loss is a mindboggling topic, especially if you sit down to google any aspect of it.
And why blame the Internet, one mention that you are working on losing weight is enough to unleash a flurry of unsolicited advice from everyone around.
This is why I decided to establish the basic rules I’d follow in my weight loss journey guided by my personal experiences and extensive research.
I started by writing down my expectations from this weight loss journey while being mindful of what I was willing to do and what not.
It was a measure to help me stay put and decide the route every time I lost my way or felt that the things were going haywire.
After noting my current weight and learning the ideal weight for my height, I decided to set a goal weight for myself.
A weight that I believe I should maintain to stay healthy for the rest of my life.
The one thing I was certain about was that I wanted to lose weight on a slow but steady pace.
No hurrying to get dramatic results.
I have spent a major part of my life being heavier than my ideal weight and have managed to stay healthy at every size. That’s why it was easy for me (or so I believed) to decide to not panic to lose weight like there’s no tomorrow.
I wanted to lose weight permanently. And to make that happen, it was necessary that I did it in a way, I could mould my lifestyle to something I’d happily follow for the rest of my life.
Such changes need time to adapt and get comfortable with.
This, in turn, implied that I have no set deadline to get to my goal weight.
However, this brought up a big red flag that allowing myself unlimited time could lead me to lose sight of my goal.
This was when planning started getting tricky.
How could I make things work without losing the motivation and pace while not pushing myself too hard?
After much thought and research, I came up with a plan.
A plan to keep track of every small lifestyle change. And to keep things as simple as possible.
In the long run, only the simple practices get followed. And that’s exactly what became the centre stone of my weight loss strategy.
In simpler terms, developing new habits that would serve me well, in the long run, was what I have been aiming at from the get-go.
* I want to pause for a moment to suggest an A M A Z I N G book I recently read on habit-building that I can’t recommend enough ~ Atomic Habits by James Clear . This book is a life-changing experience that I’m sure I’ll be returning to many times in my life.
Okay, let’s get back to where we stopped.
The next big hurdle in my path was ~ accountability.
How would I keep myself accountable and on the plan after the initial motivation and mojo fizzles out?
For someone who has been constantly battling procrastination, I know the importance of having a safety net for accountability in place.
That’s when my tried and time-tested journal writing came into play.
I did not wish to mix my weight loss plans with my daily journal writing.
I couldn’t afford to dilute my efforts in one of the biggest life challenges just because I couldn’t keep track of my progress or didn’t plan well (something which I already struggle with).
Therefore I started a fitness journal (a food and exercise journal to be precise).
Weight loss often spells a gym membership, though not in my case.
I might have a list of reasons why I didn’t want to go to the gym but I decided to tell myself the most obvious one of them all.
I was too broke to afford a gym membership.
With all the drama around a gym membership sorted in a snap, I had to chart out a home exercise plan that was effective and different from what I had been doing on autopilot for years. Simply because it hadn’t been serving me in terms of weight loss.
That seemed to have addressed all the major areas when my mind drifted for a hot second towards nutrition.
How could I possibly embark on a weight loss journey without any plan to watch what I ate?
But I don’t believe in dieting.
To me, dieting has always been synonymous with starvation, deprivation and eating disorders.
I have never tried any diet plan in my life and had no intention of doing it this time either.
I was also clear that I wasn’t going to give up any food group.
No carb diets, no carb low-fat diets and all others were completely out of consideration.
Neither was I aiming to eat unrealistic, bland meals that would feel like eating cardboard. I didn’t wish to make my life miserable. I didn’t want this weight loss to feel like a punishment.
One can’t live happily by constantly eating foods that aren’t tasty?
To be honest, how many meals could I eat that didn’t match my food preferences and that was something no one else in my family wanted to even try?
Maybe none or perhaps a few.
It was definitely not something that I could pull off for the rest of my life.
Since I was aiming at a permanent weight loss, it simply meant, I had to do things the way I could continue doing for the rest of my life.
That’s how my ground rules for weight loss emerged.
The Ground Rules of Weight Loss:
I founded my ground rules on the three Cs that made perfect sense to me on a lot of contemplation (did you see what I just did there?)
1. Be kind to yourself:
This is non-negotiable.
I have to have my back when things are going to get difficult and I would hit a plateau. I have to be my cheerleader every time I’d outperform my expectations or failed in achieving favourable results.
I wanted to make this life-changing transformation with self-compassion after years of shame and beating myself up.
I am sure that I’m not ready to risk my mental health or new-found peace for the sake of acquiring a thin body.
2. Journal every day:
Keeping track of exercise and food intake along with any other changes on a daily basis.
I planned on investing 5-10 minutes writing in my fitness journal every day to stay accountable.
Daily journaling has been providing me with the data I need to assess long-term progress and plan ahead.
3. Eat only when you are hungry:
This was something I learnt the hard way.
While working on my strategy around food, I felt that I needed evidence to help me chart out a food plan that would tweak my current eating habits.
To help me do so, I needed first-hand information on what exactly my diet was.
I needed to understand the source of the extra calories that my regular exercise routine couldn’t take care of.
At that time, the only way feasible to me was writing down everything I ate for the next 72 hours.
That’s exactly what I did for the next three days.
As expected, I was blown away with my findings.
On the positive side,
I was eating healthy, home-cooked meals at all times.
I did not drink carbonated beverages (at all).
I only drank one cup of green tea and no other form of beverages.
I was not into eating fried snacks or sweets or chocolates except occasionally.
I ate a balanced diet on most occasions.
There were things I had been overlooking all this while.
I was eating more than just the three meals I remembered myself eating.
There was evidence of episodes of mindless eating for no rhyme or reason. I was eating at times only because it was the time to eat or to give company to others.
On all these times, I was not even hungry, yet I went ahead and indulged myself.
4. Eat foods that make you feel good and help in achieving desired results:
This line of thinking has helped me skim through the diets and recipes that don’t feel good in my body.
I have been open to experimentation with flavours, textures, foods and recipe variations but in a controlled way.
Loving to cook has been a big help in letting me put my spin to recipes that were nowhere close to my eating habits.
5. Leave plenty of room for failure and mistakes:
I am just another overweight woman who is fumbling her way through heaps of information to chalk out an effective way of weight loss.
I cannot claim to have figured it all out.
I fail more times than I succeed.
Having left plenty of room for trial, error and failures keeps me reassured that all these setbacks are proof that I have been trying.
I have been working hard to make things work.
A failure is a form of progress when you compare it with inaction.
I choose to fail and make mistakes endlessly because quitting isn’t an option.
I put this plan into action mid-January 2019.
And I am happy to report that the simplicity of these actionable strategies has successfully managed to keep me on track thus far.
I have never been obsessed with the weighing scale but going by what it has been saying, I have finally reached halfway on my weight loss journey.
And mind you, I’m not counting the days in which I have achieved this, because I have come to love this journey of transformation enough to not be in any hurry to reach my goal weight.
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The song on my mind: Lakshya ko pana hai ~ Lakshya