Losing weight is not only a matter of aesthetics, it is also a matter of physical and emotional health. However, getting in shape is not always easy, it requires patience, effort, will, discipline and a lot of self-love so that we are not so hard on ourselves and that the process is more a transition than a war with our body.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to lose weight, you should read these 17 tips from people who went through the same struggle as you and are now healthier and happier than ever.
1. Don’t see exercise as punishment
I started with small changes to my diet (like replacing the cream and sugar in my coffee with skim milk and Splenda). Two months later I joined a local gym that does HIIT (high intensity interval training). I never thought I would like to exercise so much, but it made me feel strong and I saw my body change. It was not easy, but in a year I lost more than 20 kilos.
2. Use difficulties as an impulse
In four years I have lost 60 kilos. It all started with the unexpected death of my mom from a heart attack, that made me reconsider my own health decisions. I started making small changes, like removing soda (it was a big help) and walking when possible instead of driving.
3. It is not diet, it is a lifestyle
I have spent the last three years making small decisions every day to have a healthy lifestyle. I substituted fast food for prepared food, Netflix marathons for trail marathons. I have lost more than 55 kilos and have gained a whole new world! There are no fad diets, no supplements, no pills, no weird shakes – just improve diet and implement exercise. The key was that I never called it ‘diet’, but instead chose to find a sustainable lifestyle that would guarantee that I could follow it.
4. The right company will keep you motivated
I spent years making food the escape route from my depression and anxiety, and I hid behind my computer playing video games. Then I got a dog. He was crazy and couldn’t keep up with him. He deserved more and I knew it was time for a change. I started eating better and from there I took small steps. For a long time a mental illness controlled my life.
5. If you don’t recognize yourself anymore, take a step back
I used to be a very active teenager, but when I entered college I started to get very anxious. I didn’t have time to exercise and my eating habits were lousy. When I graduated I decided to go back to my old habits, I wanted to be healthy again because I no longer recognized myself. I started walking a little bit every day. When I felt comfortable and confident enough to do more, I tried other things like Pilates and boxing.
6. Eating out doesn’t mean eating junk food
I am a stewardess so I am always traveling and eating at fast food places. The WW app was the cornerstone of my success because it has the calories from every meal in every restaurant, and that led me in the right direction. Everyone thinks you have to prepare your own food to lose weight, but most restaurants have healthy options, making it easy to eat well when traveling.
7. Make technology your ally
I started 2019 with 140 kilos, the greatest weight of my life. It was time to change and I started with diet and little exercise, so I didn’t see many results. Then I found a program that taught me about my own habits, portion control, and how to set healthy, achievable goals. Since then, I have gradually introduced changes in my diet and exercise routines.
8. Social networks can be a stimulus
I was miserable, prediabetic, and insulin resistant, with horrible polycystic ovary symptoms. Then I started a ‘Keto’ diet (high in fat and low in carbohydrates). After almost a year I have lost 30 kilos, I left the prediabetic state and reversed my insulin resistance. Also, I hardly feel the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome. What really helped me was opening an Instagram account to document my journey. It helps me stay upbeat!
9. Cut your toxic relationships
I was in a manipulative relationship so I preferred to eat out after a long day at work in order not to get home, and when I was there I would just chew on anything that would help me ignore my depression, stress and anguish. I was ignoring the signs that something was wrong, but I had an unpleasant situation due to my overweight, my lack of shape, my lack of vital nutrients and my depression. It scared me enough and I looked for the root of the problem before it could kill me. Some people and circumstances were excessively toxic. I broke up with my ex-girlfriend, stopped eating out and started going to the gym. It took me two months to be consistent until finally everything fell into place. I have lost 50 kilos in one year.
10. It is possible to have fun with exercise
A year ago I started using the app ‘Lose It!’. I found a way to make exercise fun and now I like to do it. I’ve even started running, which I swore I’d never do! But is fun. The same with cycling and hiking. Now I have lost 30 kilos!
11. Be kind and patient with you
I lost weight and kept fit as a way to love and respect myself. Getting out of the closet, away from toxic people, away from negativity and finding what I wanted in life helped me no longer console myself with food. Going to the gym constantly, eating when my body asks me to and drinking plenty of water were habits that I slowly incorporated. Don’t push yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. Being patient, kind and loving to yourself can be the most important factor in becoming the best version you can be.
12. Remember where you come from
I wrote a letter to my future ‘me’ in case I ever needed a boost. I was as honest as I could be and the letter was heartbreaking, yet it was real. I needed to read it many times. It helped me through my most difficult days. Consequently I lost 43 kilos in 18 months.
13. Set short goals
I promised to eat well for 90 days, drink plenty of water, stop drinking alcohol, and exercise a few days a week. I also found ways to incorporate physical activities into my life: dance and volleyball classes. The first days were extremely hard and frustrating. After 45 days everything became like a habit. My body adapted to getting up earlier, my taste buds to eating less salt and sugar, I had less cravings for unhealthy things than I liked before. After 90 days it was easy to maintain my new routine. It became normal for me.
14. We will not always lose weight
I got a bracelet that monitors physical activity, food and weight. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. It taught me to count calories, to exercise, which improved my general health. The most important thing that helped me understand was that the weight is not always going to drop. There will be weeks when things will stay the same, weeks when the weight will increase and weeks when it will decrease, but focus on weight not in the short term, but in the long term.
15. Have the ideal partner by your side
I wasn’t even trying to lose weight, my wife started exercising before bed and I joined to spend time with her. I was still eating the same, but after a month I got on the scale and discovered that I had lost four kilos! I never thought I would lose weight, but that was very important and a great motivation. I started eating healthier and exercising more, I even got up early to swim. I have already lost almost 40 kilos.
16. Little wins are big wins
Instead of continuing my unhealthy relationship with food, I looked for healthy and sustainable eating options that fit my busy schedule, that avoided eating out of boredom or emotional reasons. As soon as food became an ally and not an enemy everything else fit perfectly. I also went from having unrealistic goals (like losing as many kilos in a year) to achievable changes (like wanting to exercise three times a week or substituting sugary drinks for water). Little hits lead to big hits at the end of the day.
17. You are your priority
In January 2018 I weighed more than at any other time in my adult life. I let the weight of the world and the pressure of work, family and my future take over my life. It was not healthy, both mentally and physically. I realized that I needed to prioritize and love myself. The first step was to remove the photo editing apps from my phone. In this way I would make peace with my image and find the true value of who I am inside and out. I put myself first because I am important and I deserve to be happy.