If you are anything like me while trying to lose weight, you probably feel like you are on a bit of a roller coaster, and not in that fun thrill ride kind of way, either. Emotional and psychological highs and lows coupled with the constant ups and downs of the number on the scale can drive a body a little bit nuts, can’t it? I’ve found few tips and tricks that might help alleviate some of the stress associated with trying to drop a few (or more) pounds and I’d like to share them with you.
#1. We Are Too Focused On Weight Loss
This is probably one of the first fundamental mistakes that we make. We focus on weight loss vs. getting our internal system functioning optimally to allow our bodies to respond to exercise, nutrition and rest effieciently.....which results in weight loss. Society has pushed weight loss on us so much that we've gotten it all turned around. You want an incredible metabolism to feel, look and live your best. Also, we are so focused on DIETING. We are regularly heard saying, “I’m staring my diet on Monday.” The word diet implies a temporary state of affairs when used in this context. We diet, get to our desired weight, stop the diet and before we know it? We are starting our diet on Monday. Again.
In order for feeling your best and weight loss to stick around after we have reached our goal weight is to continue the healthy habits we adopted. Consider this a lifestyle change, as opposed to a diet. I mean, if you want to and can sustain drinking meal replacement shakes for breakfast and lunch and then have dinner? By all means, go for it. Personally? I can’t do it, and I don’t think that is something most people will want to do long term. Many of us prefer chewing to drinking, I think. Adopting healthy habits early on can be a bit of a challenge, but once you find your groove, they will be so much easier to maintain in the long run.
#2. But, I’m So Hungry! (AKA Feeling Deprived)
Piggybacking on #1, creating healthy habits is something most of us want do dive into 100% right out of the gate. We exercise until we can’t move or we cut out all the foods we label as “bad” and before we know it? We are tired, probably sore, hangry and so frustrated that we quit before we see even a tiny drop on the scale. Weight loss isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Slow and steady wins the race, so start implementing healthy habits a little bit at a time.
Park further away to get extra steps in. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if you just start out doing one flight. Replace the white bread with multi-grain. Grab some fruit or crunchy veggies instead of that bag of chips between lunch and dinner. Add another healthy habit the following week. Replace one soda with a big glass of water. Use Stevia instead of sugar in your coffee. Go for a walk during your break. Lather, rinse, repeat.
#3. Weight Loss Isn’t Linear.
By that, I mean that the number on the scale is not going to regularly go down, as much as we would like it to. Our bodies have a lot of variables going on at any given time, which we’ll explore in a moment. When I look at my own pounds lost graph, the line looks like a zig-zag, and that’s ok. Those zig-zags drop a little bit each week, so I’m doing something right.
#4. Complete Elimination of the “Bad Foods.”
No. Just. No!
What is the first thing we, has humans, want to do as soon as we’re told we can’t have something? We naturally want it more than we would have previously. It’s like colonoscopy prep, in a way. No solid food for a day prior to the procedure. In my experience, as soon as solids were off the table all I could think about were burgers, Taco Bell and all the other things I couldn’t have. Unlike colonoscopy prep, our lifestyle change forbids nothing, as long as we can eat whatever it is we feel a craving for in moderation.
I’m a calorie counter, so I log what I eat accordingly, and if somebody brings a box of fresh, hot Krispy Kreme donuts in to work? I might eat one, but then I am really mindful to offset that treat with a lot of healthier options for the remainder of the day. Love chocolate? Me, too. Dark chocolate is a great replacement for a Hershey bar. We can get really creative when we need to be.
#5. The Number on the Scale.
While most of us rely on that number to give us an indication of where we are in our weight loss adventure, it is not the be all-end all and we shouldn’t let that number define us. There are other ways to track our progress; our clothes are fitting a little more loosely, we are taking our measurements with a tape measure and those numbers are going down, we feel better and maybe we are no longer winded after taking the stairs. All of these are wins!
In #3 I alluded to the variables our bodies go through daily. Let’s explore some of those now. Until recently, I only got on the scale once per week, thinking that a daily weigh-in would stress me out. Now I weigh daily, at the same time of day, on the same scale. Initially? Yeah, it wigged me out seeing the daily fluctuations, but after the first week I was able to notice trends.
If I started a new exercise? Weight went up a pound or two. The same thing would happen if I ate a lot of salty foods or didn’t drink enough water the day before, or even if I ate late. This is all very normal. If you happen to be a little constipated or (ladies) expecting your period, you can pretty much look forward to the numbers being up.
By way of math and science, daily fluctuations isn't “real" weight or what we call bodyfat. A pound equals 3,500 calories, so if you gain 3 lbs overnight, you didn't consume 10,500 calories the day before, or even the entire week before.
Weighing yourself daily can help you get used to what your body weights and help you understand you are so much more than the number on the scale. Scale weight only tells us a little piece of the whole puzzle. Weight daily can help you also watch for patterns and trends, and that keeps me more relaxed about scale-related issues.