Ten years ago, I worked for an attorney and lived in New Jersey to work on a huge case we had there. It was amazing to be a part of such a huge operation (and OMG, I LOVE NEW JERSEY!!!), but the days were long, the work was intense, I was away from home, and I gained A LOT of weight. After months of sitting at a desk for 12+ hours 6 days a week and stress eating my way through it all, I was tipping the scales at a number I never thought I'd reach and I was totally uncomfortable with. After I moved back to Houston, I decided to do something about it and managed to loose most of that extra weight. But ever since then, I've yo-yo'd up and down and up and down and up with my weight. Not cool. Not cool at all. I'm sure you can relate.
The last six months of 2015, I stress ate my way through opening my own business (can you tell I have a horrible relationship with food?). Once again, I'm tipping the scales at a number I hoped to never see again (and only got up to when I was pregnant - WTF). So now it's time to do something about it. Again. Because that shit is not okay. I plan to loose 50 pounds by the end of 2016 - that's a little less than one pound per week (starting back at the beginning of January). Boom! Manageable goal!
How I'm Going to Loose 50 Pounds in 2016
I have a bad relationship with food. I stress eat. I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm sad. I eat to celebrate. I eat when I'm bored. I eat when it's meal time. All that eating adds up to a lot more calories than I need on any given day. My number one issue to tackle is to learn to only consume the number of calories I need in a day (and to be emotionally okay with that - but that's another issue entirely). There are lots of ways to track calories and the one I use is the MyFitnessPal app. There are plenty of free calorie/exercise tracking apps out there, MFP is just the one I decided to use (and I'm not affiliated with them). I downloaded the free app to my phone, plugged in my starting weight (178), my base activity level, and how many pounds I'd like to loose in each week. MyFitnessPal determined how many calories I need to have each day to loose (on average) one pound a week. All I have to do is log what I eat at each meal and the app keeps track of how many calories I've had and how many remain for the day. There are a lot of features (even in the free version of the app) and I usually have success when using MFP. You can follow me on the app here.
Weight loss really comes down to calories in versus calories out. The best way to burn calories is through exercise (duh). I'm making sure to workout at least three times a week. I've been running (off and on) for years, and at the beginning of January, Dennis and I joined the YMCA, so I have plenty of options to make sure I exercise at least three times a week. I just need to make sure I place exercise near or at the top of my priority list. I'm not going to reach my goal by diet changes alone.
Take it Slow
As much as I'd like to loose all this extra weight as fast as possible, I know that slow and steady wins the race over the long term. Quick weight loss isn't achieved easily or through sustainable means - extreme dieting and overexercising will give you results, but those results won't be long lasting (and they're not good for you). Who can live off of rice cakes and air indefinitely? No one, that's who. Taking things slowly will allow me to form and (hopefully) keep better habits when it comes to nutrition and exercise. I also realize that there will be plateaus in my weight loss and taking things slow reduces the urgency to see a particular number at a particular time.
Have a Support NetworkHaving a group of people to celebrate your accomplishments with and to help pick you up when you have a setback is an essential part of any goal you want to accomplish. I belong to a handful of Facebook groups geared toward health and weight loss. We cheer each other on, hold each other accountable, and pump each other up. It's hard to skip a workout or binge on your diet when you're holding yourself accountable to a group of people. I'm much more likely to let myself down than a group of people.
I know that loosing fifty pounds this year seems like a huge goal, but if it take it little bit by little bit, I know I'll reach that goal (or at least get close enough to be proud). Changing my relationship with food is going to be my biggest challenge and one that scares me (mental note - just say no to junk food!). Have you ever had a sizable weight loss goal? Did you reach it? What worked (or didn't) for you?