I'm kicking off 2018 thinking about all of the progress I've made throughout my life, and especially, over the past few years.
7 years ago, I lost about 15-20 pounds, and have kept the weight OFF since then.
Back in college, I ate way too much fast food and enjoyed way too many adult beverages. Mix those unhealthy habits in with a full course load of 19 credits and no time to exercise, it comes as no surprise that I gained more than a few pounds.
After graduating, I moved to Chicago and knew I needed to make a change. I was unhappy with how I looked and felt, and lacked the confidence to lead a happy, fulfilled life. However, I wasn't about to be miserable and follow some strict diet OR give up my favorite foods to become healthy.
Check out the 3 biggest lessons I learned about losing weight (and keeping it off for 7 years!):
1. You have to start with small, manageable changes.
When you decide to lose weight, you're going to want to try EVERYTHING at once... DON'T LET YOURSELF do this! You're setting yourself up to fail. Sure, you probably won't lose 20 pounds in 5 days, (which is never healthy anyways!) However, by focusing on ONE change at a time, you'll create a healthier life that leads to losing weight, and you'll gain the confidence to keep the weight off for good!
2. You have to be willing to put in the work AND be patient.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and *POOF* help others lose weight, but that's far from the truth. Losing weight takes WORK and PLANNING. You have to make time to grocery shop (or get your groceries delivered), and you have to put some time in to planning your meals. I'm not saying you need 7 hours to meal prep, but you DO need to look ahead at your calendar and find time to cook or prepare healthy meals and snacks for your week. Being prepared is the KEY to losing weight. If you struggle with finding time to cook healthy meals, invest in a crock pot. The crock pot has been my saving grace! You can throw chicken and veggies in it, leave it on low for a few hours with some sort of healthy seasonings and sauce, and BOOM, you have a few healthy meals cooked with only 5-10 minutes of actual prep time.
In the same way, real results CAN'T and WON'T happen overnight! You have to be consistent, and more importantly, patient. I know it can be frustrating, but I promise you that results WILL happen if you stick to your health and fitness plan. Give yourself at least 90-120 days to see some results before writing it off as "not working." Remember too,
3. If you completely give up entire food groups (think carbs) along with your favorite foods and drinks, you're setting yourself up to fail PLUS you'll just feel miserable.
NO--you can't eat pasta or ice cream for every meal throughout the week and expect to magically lose weight. However, enjoying pasta or ice cream ONCE every few weeks won't stop you from losing weight. I know this for a fact because I NEVER GAVE UP ANY OF MY FAVORITE FOODS when I lost weight. Life is simply too short to completely cut out your favorite foods and drinks!
Losing weight and keeping it off for 7+ years has taught me more lessons than I can count. Heck, I'm still learning new lessons about health, wellness, and fitness every single day! Whatever goals you have, whether you're trying to lose that stubborn 15 pounds, or trying to run a marathon, or trying to get a promotion at work, remember these 3 key points. I promise that if you apply them to your daily life, you WILL crush your goals sooner than you think!