Last month I covered what I believe — and have experienced — it takes to make a serious weight loss and healthy lifestyle change.
After having Audrey more than a year ago, not only have I managed to lose 60 pounds, but I also have finally found the secret to losing weight, sustaining that weight loss and being the healthiest I’ve ever been.
I found that before doing anything else, you have a serious spiritual battle to fight continuously. Allow faith to play the number-one role in your weight loss by looking to God for strength, discipline and patience.
For me, trusting that God would provide success was the hardest part. Once I put my weight, no pun intended, on this faith, I conquered the weaknesses that caused every past diet to fail.
Well, actually I still constantly fight my weaknesses in making the right food choices, keeping proper portion sizes and continuing to exercise. I am human and sometimes a big hamburger lures me in. But I will never go back to the way I used to think and act toward food.
I started my reshaping journey by accepting that a quick fix of starvation or packaged food that had me saying, “I can’t wait to get back to normal food again!” was not going to help in long run. Instead, I opted for a lifestyle change with no “off” days, but also no days on which I feel deprived or hungry. I didn’t want to go fast, I wanted to go far.
Having discipline and patience is much tougher than some crash diet, but you’ll forever be changed by adopting those strengths, and it is faith that can provide them for you. After that, the physical parts of losing weight are a piece of cake. Really — I had a piece of cake yesterday.
Fueling for distance
Our minds play a huge role in what we do physically. Telling ourselves that we have to do a big workout so that we can eat chips later is the wrong attitude.
Food is for fuel. And boy, I love food, but I had to stop telling myself that in order to eat, I must work out. Instead, I have to eat so that I can have energy and lead a healthy life.
I try not to look at food as some prize, which has been my trick to smaller portion sizes.
Americans are so used to huge portion sizes that we break a sweat when we’ve been served some mini-meal at an expensive restaurant. We have this idea that we need to stuff ourselves into a food coma instead of stopping at satisfied.
Start with cutting your portions in half, placing the leftovers out of sight and then, if you are still hungry, go back for a little more. Take the time to listen to your body and see if you are satisfied without another bite.
In addition to portion control, wholesome food choices are key. I learned that I didn’t have to cut out carbohydrates, sugar or dairy. I just had to practice eating in moderation such as a sprinkle of cheese, a bite of cake, a piece of bread.
Eating wholesome food doesn’t mean you have to buy organic, never eat out or touch a slice of pizza. While my family stays away from fast food, we love to eat out. It just takes making a wise choice. Then ask the server to box half of the meal before bringing it out.
Last, but certainly not least, are water and exercise. Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. I tote around a water bottle the size of our child so that I always have it to continually sip. By the end of the day, it’s gone.
Exercise is what has really made me successful. Try and break a sweat every day. Find what you love to do and stick with it. I learned to take necessary breaks so I don’t get burned out. If I start getting bored, I will switch it up.
Once you start making these changes, you will start seeing how fueled you are for the long run. I always feel so good after eating properly and exercising that I don’t want a day off. When I started to see results, that success tasted better than any food.
My recipe for a new you: Start with faith, discipline and patience in adapting to lifestyle changes. Don’t expect to wake up tomorrow making a million changes. Take it slow. When you fall, because you will, get back up and analyze what went wrong. Then, apply daily wise food choices, smaller portions and exercise.
A lifestyle change opposed to a diet is not easy work. However, what I’ve gotten in return — a stronger spiritual life, a healthier body, more confidence, tools for a lifetime, and the good example I am setting for our daughter — makes every drip of sweat and every additional bite not eaten completely worth it.
By the numbers …
Red Robin Steak Fries =434 calories, 18 g fat & 60 carbohydrates in about 1 cup, not including dipping sauce
Applebee’s Spinach & Artichoke Dip = 1,500 calories, 2,440 g sodium & 123 g carbohydrates as served
Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad = 1,340 calories, 1,200 g sodium, 85 g carbohydrates
Quiznos Classic Italian Sub = 810 calories, 2,420 g sodium, 67 g carbohydrates regular size
Starbucks Carmel Frappuccino = 390 calories, 59 g sugar, 61 g carbohydrates