How to Lose Weight Even If You Feel Hopeless


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  125 comments   :  53,552 Views

I’ve gotten a lot of SparkMail asking about how I got started on my weight-loss journey and how I’ve come to lose so much weight without surgery. I've been reflecting a lot lately about what got me started and how I've stayed on track for so long.
First of all, I read a book called ''You on a Diet'' by Dr. Oz and it was a life-changer about how to trick your body into not being hungry. Then, I got on SparkPeople and kept up with SparkStreaks- a series of days of consistently doing something easy, but good for you. When each new behavior became natural, I took on a new one. I started out with standing instead of sitting for one minute a day, which eventually turned into moving for 10 minutes total per day. I also used SparkStreaks for my nutritional goals, which helped me stay consistent and on track with my eating.
To this day, I still use SparkStreaks to keep my success going. I pick 3 things each week to work on that are no-brainers, but still need work. Being able to succeed at your goals is crucial. When you make your own SparkStreak, don’t make one that says ''I’ll be perfect on my diet all week.'' Make one more along the lines of ''I’ll use the food tracker all week,'' or ''I’ll exercise 10 minutes a day total.'' Start small and dream big. When you get nervous, scared or tired, suck it up and hang on for another minute. You can do anything for a minute, and it will only build from there.
I've learned not to hide the truth.  In the past, guilt and shame made me want to eat.  Guilt and shame are like the evil twins of emotional eating.  Once we slip up, they are right there to berate us.  Then we feel so badly that we reach for food to comfort ourselves. So if I gain a pound, I fess up.  I weigh monthly so that the daily ups and downs don’t make me crazy.  If I go up, (and I do), I confess it on my ticker and then readjust my caloric needs. (To do this, go to the start menu and use the tool on the left side under ''weight progress''.)  I also keep an eye on my progress and try not to lose more than ½ pound to 1 pound a week.  Why?  I get hungry otherwise.  I hate being hungry and miserable, so I move more and eat at the top of my calorie range to keep my energy up.  I would rather lose weight slowly and happily than fast and miserably.  I now realize that the journey is maybe the best part because it is very challenging, engaging, and personal.
I've also learned along the way that food is not supposed to be a source of stress.  Lately, I keep my meals very simple. Fruit, tuna, or nut butters are all easy to incorporate into meals and are simple to use and prepare.  I make sure to give my body what it really needs so that it will stop craving junk.  Fruit and water will often stop my sugar cravings within a day or two, as will cinnamon.  Those things are also full of antioxidants, so they nurture your body after a bad binge.  I am not saying go on a fruit, water and cinnamon diet.  I am saying to add those things into your meal plan BEFORE you eat the other stuff.  You will have less room for junk. 
That is really my biggest secret--  I don't take food out of my diet.  I add more and more healthful food to my plan, leaving less room for other things that are not as good for me.I stay full by eating right, not eating light. 
One more little boost that helps me get through day to day are my mantras. D. A. S. is one of the strongest mantras I made for myself. Dress the part. Act the part. Suck it up. Basically, dress and act the part of your dream self bit by bit. Life is happening now, not ten pounds from now.
When I feel badly about myself, those are the things that I do.  I pick myself up.  I put something on that makes me want to move and move a bit and if I whine, I suck it up for that extra minute.  I fess up on my weight.  I recalibrate my caloric intake and move more.  I fill up on the good stuff so there's no room for the junk, and I come up with new mantras and ways of looking at life that keep me motivated. That's what's worked for me so far. Take what you like and leave the rest.
You can't hate yourself and do well by your body. It’s very hard. When you hate yourself, you want to lie around in sweats and not take care of yourself. Loving your body and taking care of yourself one day at a time will help reverse that hatred, and that's when the healing starts.
Have you ever lost weight despite feeling hopeless? What's helped you along your journey?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Spring: The Perfect Season for New Fitness Goals


  • 125
    Very well said, thank you! - 1/19/2018   6:57:30 AM
  • 124
    Very interesting article - 1/7/2018   6:41:17 AM
  • 123
    I love these motivating articles. I have to keep reading articles like this to help me stay that way. I just fizzle out quickly sometimes. - 7/19/2017   6:29:13 PM
  • 122
    Great info - 6/18/2017   12:53:53 AM
  • 121
    Feeling low today because the scale moved up again and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I know I'm doing everything right. Still depressing and think it's time to re evaluate my program. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings! Better now after morning walk and talking it over and praying about it. Thanks IG! - 1/7/2014   12:36:34 PM
  • 120
    I really loved this article!!
    my most favorite part is ...

    You can't hate yourself and do well by your body. Itís very hard. When you hate yourself, you want to lie around in sweats and not take care of yourself. Loving your body and taking care of yourself one day at a time will help reverse that hatred, and that's when the healing starts.

    I hate myself because I walk around in sweats ALL the time. - 1/19/2013   8:27:30 AM
    GREAT advice! Adding to my favorites! - 9/29/2012   7:29:04 AM
  • 118
    Thank you for sharing. I'm going to start using the spark streaks and start slow. One foot in front of the other! - 7/5/2012   10:59:24 PM
  • 117
    Thanks for the inspiration, its just what I needed to reassure me that I am not alone and I am the only one with the feelings of failure. But to also pick myself up and get back on the wagon! Thanks again!
    - 5/20/2012   9:23:53 PM
  • LSTEWART0418
    Thanks for sharing!! So inspirational! I had one of those days where I felt like crap after the weekend (Mother's Day lunch! Ahh!) and I didn't want to work out...but I pushed through!! Yay! - 5/15/2012   3:40:00 PM
    awesome mantra. I like the part about living life now, not 10 pounds away. - 4/15/2012   2:27:22 AM
    Thanks...really needed this to motivate me and to stay on my journey! - 4/13/2012   3:02:06 PM
  • 113
    I was doing so great and then I hit the wall. It's been months now and it's so hard to get back on the straight track that got me here. I'm so afraid of gaining all my hard work back. Thanks for the inspiration to move on. - 4/11/2012   8:37:58 PM
  • 112
    Thank you for sharing...I can use this advice for areas outside of my weight loss journey as well - 4/11/2012   8:24:42 PM
  • TRESA7
    Thank you for writing this! I felt discouraged because I binged on Easter candy and then again at a movie yesterday but your blog encourages me to get back up, dust myself off (so to speak) and start over, again. - 4/11/2012   6:34:40 PM
    I know many others have said it, but Thank you. Genuinely, thank you for your frank and uplifting words. I really needed to read this today. - 4/11/2012   3:09:22 PM
  • 109
    I needed to read this! This week I signed up for my 2nd 5K and I am determined to run well - to suck it up and do it. - 4/11/2012   2:23:57 PM
    I lost 7 lbs in January and gained back 9. It's now April and I'm back for another go. Despite my best intentions, despite having to begin again at a higher weight, despite feeling hopeless and helpless and angry, I have to try again because I refuse to give up on myself. Now it's not a 60lb loss, it's a 70lb loss that I have to aim for. It's very hard to accept that I will have to diet for the rest of my life, that I will have to exercise daily for the rest of my life, just to stay where I am. My mental goal is to go from "have to" to "get to" - I GET TO exercise every day! I GET TO eat healthy tasty foods every day! I GET TO choose what I eat in advance every day! Instead of making it a burden, my goal is to reframe it as a priviledge. - 4/11/2012   10:48:04 AM
    Thank you - gives me hope! Will DAS and see how I go - 4/11/2012   6:31:50 AM
  • 106
    Your honesty and grit are a gift to the rest of us--thank you for sharing your hard-won wisdom. - 4/10/2012   9:38:40 AM
  • 105
    Love your D.A.S. mantra! - 4/9/2012   9:51:00 PM
  • 104
    WOW !
    What a great attitude -
    LOVE the D.A.S. mantra

    BLESSINGS ! - 4/9/2012   9:09:56 PM
  • MARILYN1954
    Great Blog! I realize that one minute can get you started and keep you going when things get tough. Thanks! - 4/9/2012   5:50:15 PM
  • 102
    Very motivating ... I will keep this in mind for the times my "head" wants to tell me lies. - 4/9/2012   1:26:12 PM
  • 101
    Thank you for the wonderful article! - 4/9/2012   12:39:38 PM
  • 100
    You're so amazing! - 4/9/2012   9:59:52 AM
    One of my instructors ends her class by saying, "Thank you, and treat yoursef well." I like that. I like the poem #79 comment--how can I copy it? - 4/9/2012   7:40:44 AM
    Wonderful - such good advice! - 4/9/2012   6:59:59 AM
  • 97
  • 96
    Needed this! Thank you! - 4/8/2012   10:15:08 PM
  • 95
    I like your DAS mantra- I often find it helpful to "fake it 'til I make it." I then find myself with more progress towards my goals. - 4/8/2012   9:52:36 PM
  • 94
    Very timely as today I saw 4 more pounds on my scale. I have lots of excuses for why that happened, but I need to address what happens from this point forward. - 4/8/2012   6:56:38 PM
  • 93
    Excellent blog. This one I will go back and reread as needed. Thanks! - 4/8/2012   1:48:20 PM
  • 92
    Good blog- great mantra - 4/8/2012   10:55:36 AM
  • 91
    I really liked this post. Simple and practical. Great mantra too :) - 4/8/2012   9:52:42 AM
  • 90
    Thank you so much. Very inspiring and thought provoking - 4/8/2012   7:55:54 AM
  • 123ELAINE456
    Was going to tell everyone how not to lose 110 pounds like I did. Had a long blog going when it disappeared on me. So it is not the time to. Great blog. Very inspiring. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Have a Blessed Happy Easter to Everyone. - 4/8/2012   6:01:43 AM
  • 88
    Have you ever lost weight despite feeling hopeless?
    YES, I do, but it's tough emotionally.

    What's helped you along your journey?
    Hopeless feelings often hit me later in the day, at night, or when I'm home alone for a long time. What I WANT to do is eat for comfort; what gets me through is reminding myself, "it's only a few hours," or "it's only one night"...

    "I can hold on for ONE ~ !" (night - hour - whatever)

    So that's what gets me through: "One ~ at a Time."
    - 4/8/2012   2:09:51 AM
  • 87
    I remind myself to be my own best friend. - 4/8/2012   1:45:58 AM
  • 86
    Thanks for this Blog. I wish I could make my Kids read it. - 4/7/2012   11:09:55 PM
  • 85
    Great blog! I haven't tried the Spark Streks yet, so thanks for that tip. I lo appreciated your comment that life is now, not 10 pounds from now. I tend to get caught up in all the things I I'll be able to do when I lose weight and sometimes put my life on hold because of ll the things I think I can't do yet. I am one pound away from hitting my 50 pound weight loss mark and can't seem to break that next pound, but I am hanging in and reflecting on the things I couldn't do 49 pounds ago. Thank you for inspiring me! - 4/7/2012   10:11:41 PM
  • 84
    Thank you for your blog. I have Dr. Oz's book - I did start it but need to go back and check it out. - 4/7/2012   10:04:33 PM
  • 83
    Thank you so much for the great blog. I was having one of those days that I was at my worst and felt like a big fat failure. I have tried so many countless times to loose weight and I just keep getting heavier. Thank you for being such an inspiration. You have reminded me to do this in little chunks. God Bless you and I wish you all the best! - 4/7/2012   10:04:25 PM
  • 82
    Wonderful blog. Thanks! - 4/7/2012   9:49:10 PM
    This blog couldn't of come at a better time. Thanks soooooo much!! - 4/7/2012   8:29:57 PM
  • 80
    Thanks for the pick-me-up. Your blog is very inspirational and was what I needed after having a family member doubt my efforts to lose weight, and criticize my appearance. - 4/7/2012   3:00:35 PM
  • 79
    Hi Beth,
    It sounds like we have had similar journeys.
    I have been at this for nearly 16 months, I have lost about 120 pounds. Still have 80 to go.
    I am reposting a blog I wrote here, because I think it addresses the question you asked of us and how we keep moving forward:

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    I have failed this journey of weight loss so many times in the past.
    I began to wonder what I was doing differently this time,
    that I had not given up on myself yet, despite several setbacks and disappointments.
    I think this time has been different because I became more willing:

    to talk with God about everything
    to accept that I cannot always have things my way
    to understand my past ways of dieting did not work
    to accept that my family might not like the changes I am making
    to accept my husband will continue to make unhealthy choices
    to stand up to my own people pleasing needs
    to know I am not responsible for other people's problems
    to know I cannot make other people happy
    to hear what others have to say, take only what works, leave the rest
    to hear the occasional negative remark and not react
    to accept that surgery was not a good option for me
    to join a support group and remain active with it
    to hold myself accountable
    to hold others accountable for themselves
    to become disciplined and track all of my food
    to preplan meals
    to eat whole grains and unprocessed foods
    to pay more for the healthier choices when I can
    to give up many food items known to be unhealthy
    to get my trigger foods out of the house
    to exercise, if only for 10 minutes a day
    to blog my thoughts and feelings
    to know I will make some mistakes
    to accept setbacks without walking away
    to know that this is a life long process
    to accept and deal with the lonliness of this process
    to let myself enjoy sweets on occasion
    to learn more about the process of positive weight loss
    to take this one choice at a time
    to know that I am the only one responsible for my health
    to stop blaming others for choices I make
    to understand that no one has power over me except for me
    to remember that there are many things in daily life I am powerless over
    to accept I am never going to look like a beauty queen
    to know that good health is the better goal
    to be proactive in my own recovery, one day at a time.
    to keep my eye on my dreams for my future

    Hugs and best wishes to everyone,
    - 4/7/2012   2:06:32 PM
  • 78
    Thank you so much for your blog, very inspirational. Here lately I've been in a self hating, not caring how I look mood. Its been very hard trying to get out of it. Thanks again for posting this. - 4/7/2012   2:04:12 PM
    I love your comment on life is now not 10 lbs from now. You are a true inspiration. - 4/7/2012   12:36:12 PM
  • 76
    I've got Dr. Oz's book. I like him. Didn't really start making headway until I was led to Sparkpeople. Thank you for that Suebee42. - 4/7/2012   12:30:35 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›