Weight Loss and finding a “Healthy Weight” is a touchy subject. Most people are not happy with their present weight and just do not know how to change it. Watching TV personalities and models may set goals that are not realistic for you or your body type, and the hardest thing to remember when struggling with weight loss is that there is no magic pill or fast diet to make you wake up looking like someone else, or automatically thin, even though we all know that is what we want!

As a big girl who has struggled it took me a long time to realize that being healthy is not just about my weight, and that being skinny isn’t as important as being at a weight that is right for me. It is hard to remember that it is not an overnight fix, and that weight management is a long term lifestyle change. I have tried pills, crash diets and fad diets to loose weight and well, in the long run it hurt me and my weight loss. Most people who lose weight doing crash diets gain it all back, and often gain back more because they have not learned to control their habits. I would lose 20 and gain 25, and feel like I had failed, when really it was not me it was what I was doing. Most of the diet pills or supplements I took helped curve cravings and appetitive for awhile but eventually they do not work, and you can not take them forever. I learned the hard way that taking them also messes with your metabolism by slowing it down, so long term you are really hurting yourself and your chances at losing weight. And fad diets like Atkins? Yes, they work, but you have to be willing to stick with them long term. Once you re add carbs to a diet like that you are going to gain again, and if you can not control how much you are reintroducing than you will gain a lot. So the main word here? Control!

You need to be in control! Learn more about what you are eating, and how much. Cutting out things that you love instead of learning to control what you eat is the biggest mistake people make. If you say no more pizza when you love pizza you will eventually give in and binge! Have a piece of pizza for dinner, just do not eat a whole pizza or eat it three times a day! Although all people are different, following a set daily calorie goal was what worked best for me.  I didn't have to cut out foods (although I am not a soda drinker or big sweets person to begin with), could still go out to eat and not worry as much about what to eat, and didn't ever binge eat because I never felt hungry.

Some great tips I have learned are:

Set realistic goals and start small. Small changes are a lot easier to stick with and adjust to. It will be easier to stick with it if you start by cutting out one thing first then another, or just cutting back instead of cutting anything out completely at first then gradually start eating less and less of that one thing, and adding healthier foods and workouts into your life. Someone who loves chicken will most likely not stick to a vegan diet. Take it one step at a time, same with your goals. Have a final goal in mind but set mini goals throughout your journey. I started at 314 and my goal weight is 150. My first goal was under 300, then under 200, then 100 pounds lost, being Under 200 pounds (ONEderland), and then my final goal! It is so much easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you have 30 pounds to lose then 165! And it keeps you from getting discouraged.

Watch what you drink. So many of our daily calories come from drinks, soda, sports drinks, juice. Cutting out one can of soda a day for a week cuts out 1050 weekly calories! Stick to water and other sugar free drinks, and switch to low fat or no fat milk, if you can. And drink lots of water. I try to drink at least half of my body weight in ounces a day, and it makes a huge difference!

Stop eating! I mean, quit eating when you are full, and be more aware of just how much you are eating. Hard I know. A bad habit people have is to eat then they are not hungry because they are bored, stressed, lonely, or they continue to eat after they are full. If you feel like eating cause you are bored or upset find something else to do, go for a walk, clean, take a shower. Also keeping a log or record of what you eat makes a HUGE difference! I usewww.myfitnesspal.com and I love it but there are lots of other ones (calorie count, spark people, and more) Just pay attention to your body, if you feel full, you probably are. Slowing down on how much you eat can help as well because it takes an average of 20 minutes for your bring to realize how much is in your stomach. something else to think about is portions. Portions are a lot bigger now than they used to be and that they should be. A normal adult meal in calories, etc, is a kids meal at a fat food restaurant. I have heard people say a good portion size is the size of your hand in a fist, but if you are still hungry after that, do not punish yourself and not eat a little more. And taking a drink or water between bites can help you fill up a little more while eating less as well.

East more often. Well this one I can go back and forth on. They say 5 small meals a day is better for you, but it depends on the person. I can not eat when I first get up in the morning, so I normally do not eat breakfast. But I will eat a small snack before lunch, lunch, a small snack after, dinner, and sometimes dessert depending on how my day went! Breakfast is an important meal as it jumpstarts your metabolism and gives you energy to go about your day. They also say people who eat breakfast eat less throughout the day. Keep healthy snacks on you, it will help avoid the snack machine or impulsively buying a bag of chips or cookies at the store. And sit down to eat if you can. It has been proven that people who are on the go, working, or busy doing something else while eating eat twice as much in one sitting. Take a break!

Get moving. The hardest thing for me was realize that I did not necessarily need to cut calories more than I needed to realize that I needed to get off my behind! I got stuck in the rut of thinking cause I couldn’t afford a gym, hated running, and was so out of shape that I couldn’t workout. So very wrong! Walk the dogs, do yard work, take the kid to the park, dance when you go out, clean, workout at home, there are lots of options!

Most important? Forgive yourself! Did you sit down with a bag of chips and all of a sudden they are all gone?? We have ALL been there! Drink a large glass of water, take a deep breathe, brush your teeth, and move forward with your day. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will tell you that it is not easy and that everyone makes mistakes. When you slip up, let it go, forget about it, and get right back on track. Dwelling on it or punishing yourself for it by not eating or by any other means will just make things harder to move forward again. It is just one day, things will be ok, promise!

Just remember that your weight does not define you, losing weight will not change who you are or make you a better person, and it will not change your life. You are you, be happy in your skin no matter what size you are. Lose weight for you and you only, and do it become a better you not a new you.