These are the rules I’m following for losing over 100 lbs without surgery on this weight loss journey for myself, so I’d thought I’d share them in detail. These are just rules I decided would work for me, but they are not meant to be a one size fits all approach. Nevertheless, I thought I’d share them to give myself a starting point and also to help other people looking for advice on how to get started.
As time goes on I might add or adjust these rules, but I will come back to this page and edit them in with the date, as well as my current weight loss results.
Take baby steps to change my habits
I had tried so many times to start losing weight after I had my daughter, but I couldn’t even last a day before throwing in the towel and binging on my comfort foods.
So one day I woke up and decided I needed to start small. I wasn’t going to work out for an hour, drink only water and start counting calories all at once.
So first, I stopped drinking pop. During my pregnancy, I craved super-sweet foods, so I had fallen in the habit of drinking pop and slushies. I know, horrible. I kept telling myself after I had the baby I would stop, but it took a lot longer than that to give it up. So I decided that would be the first change I made. I stopped buying it to have at home, but I still ordered it occasionally if we went to a restaurant. Eventually, I only got water when we went out to eat.
After I stopped drinking pop for a while, I slowly started getting more active. I would take my daughter out for stroller rides more often, although it still wasn’t an everyday thing.
Then I started wearing a Fitbit to encourage me to walk more. I didn’t have a step goal, and some days I would only walk for 10-15 minutes, but it was better than nothing at all.
After about 6 weeks, I decided I was mentally ready to start getting more serious about changing my habits and losing weight. At this point, I had still not stepped on the scale, but I knew I had to do it in order to give me a starting point. I was scared because I knew I had gained a lot of weight and the number would be scary, but I forced myself to do it anyway.
So in October of 2018, I stepped on the scale and was 295.6 lbs. This was after I had already made some changes for several weeks, so my weight could have very well been over 300 lbs. But since I have no record of it, I am using 295.6 as my official starting point.
I believe that the key to being mentally prepared to start my journey was to take these initial baby steps.
Get more active and walk 10,000+ steps per day
For exercise, I’m going to make a habit out of just simply walking. I did start this as one of my baby steps, but I will be more serious about the consistency and my daily step count. I will do this by going for a walk each day either around my neighborhood, in the park or on my treadmill for about 45 minutes. In addition to this, I will try and work in more steps throughout the day. Now, I have a toddler and own a home, so that actually isn’t too difficult for me. Between housework and chasing her around all day I can easily get to 10,000 steps if I include a walk.
I am not going to worry about the intensity of my walking or even start any weight lifting or body toning right away. As time goes on this will change, but for now, it’s what I’m doing. (baby steps!)
Track my food intake
This is really important for me to know how much I am eating. I am using MyFitnessPal, and after I set my personal statistics and weight loss goals it tells me how much I should be eating on a daily basis. It also syncs to my Fitbit app to get more accurate data on my daily calorie burn.
MyFitnessPal has my calories set a 2,140 as a baseline, but because of my activity level, it adjusts to around 2,600 per day. I usually do not eat that many, but it’s nice for the days I want to eat more. (My average calorie burn is about 3,600)
I’m not doing low-carb, keto or any special diet. I’m not only eating whole foods or making anything off limits. Right now, I’m just tracking what I eat and aiming for under my calorie limit. Anything too drastic for me isn’t realistic right now so I just want to start with what I can handle. I will be slowly changing to healthier eating over time, but just eating less will make a big difference.
No eating after dinner (most nights)
After dinner time food is a no-no for me because night time snacking is where I can really go off the rails. This seriously helps greatly reduce my calories each day.
Now, I will still allow myself night time snacks a couple nights per week, but only if I have the extra calories and what I eat is fully planned out. This way my night time snacks are more of a treat than something that is routine.
Eat at home
Going out to eat used to be something I did a lot, but I need to learn to do it much less. Cooking meals at home allow me to know what exactly what goes into my food and I can more easily calculate the calories and nutrition. I am not cooking completely “healthy” meals, but I try to have protein, carbs, and veggies at each dinner. I also am learning to enjoy it more and get more into cooking.
I will still allow myself to go out to eat, but I just won’t have it be part of a regular routine. Instead of doing it several times a week, I’ll try to limit it to a few times each month and work the calories into my day.
Nothing is off limits, learn to work in the foods I want to eat
I don’t want to do anything that seems like a diet! I want this to be a lifestyle change and something I keep doing for the rest of my life. I just need to learn to work in the foods I want to eat and not cut myself off from anything entirely. Pizza and chocolate will definitely be worked into my diet since they are my favorite things to eat.
Don’t drink calories
Not only do I not drink pop, but I also don’t drink any sugary drinks (including orange juice) nor do I drink milk. This is actually one of the easiest things for me to do. I do use flavored water mixes sometimes because drinking solely water can get rather boring.
Exception: I will allow myself alcohol on special occasions
Hold myself accountable
For the last part, I need something to hold myself accountable and right now that is this blog, as well as my YouTube channel. I just need other people out there expecting me to do this as well because sometimes my own motivation isn’t strong enough to push through. It’s very easy to just give up when no one else is expecting anything from you.
In the past when I lost weight, I never had that accountability factor as part of the equation and I think it was one of the reasons I failed to keep it off long term.
These rules may change throughout my journey as I change and lose more weight, but these are the basics of how I’m starting. I believe that starting with small baby steps will greatly improve my chances of sticking to this long-term and that it is a great approach for anyone to try if they’re finding themselves struggling to even find the motivation or willpower to start losing weight on their own.
I will check back in and update if the rules change!