Saturday, November 12, 2011
The idea of this blog came to me when I read a very similar blog by MRS_ROSS. I thought it was a very good idea of her to share her 8 tips for success, and since I have lost over 70 lbs since I started WW and have been maintaining for over a year now (nearly a year and a half) I thought you might appreciate to get a few tips of what worked for me in my weight-loss journey and maintenance.
First of all, a little disclaimer, exactly like Mrs Ross did: these tips worked for me. They might not work for you. Everyone is different :)
tip #1: KEEP CONTROL: TRACK, TRACK, TRACK AND DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED
if it goes into your mouth, it goes into your journal. Whether you're keeping a paper journal or an online journal, whether you're on WW or on Sparkpeople only or whatever diet you're following, track every bite. Even the little taste when you're cooking. All counts, all is calories your body needs to metabolise. I like being in control. Even now after years of being on the diet, I still weight EVERYTHING. I keep focus of my aim, I keep track of my performance compared to what I want to achieve. I'm very, very competitive and I like to compete with myself. When I slimmed with WW the second time, I resumed my old WW member card and reworked the dates from the weight I was starting to compare my second performance to the first. And second time round I reached goal much quicker, probably because I was focused and I had all the tools, and I kept tight control with also the help of Sparkpeople, which I didn't know before. Although I like the freedom of ProPoints (or PointsPlus for you americans!), having complete freedom on the fruit and veg intake always made me nervous. They might be high in fibre, but they ARE calories and they ARE carbs. Add to it the fact that I totally, UTTERLY LOOOOOVE fruit, I would easily eat after a meal 3 or 4 renetta apples (my favourite!) or the English equivalent Egremont Russett, 150g blackberries etc etc... I just love them, I need control! The Spark tracker just gives me much more control and the daily feedback allows me to have much of a wider spectrum of variables I'm checking. When I have all the boxes ticked with Sparks, even if I havent had all of my daily propoints, I feel satisfied.
tip #2: DON'T EAT IF YOU DON'T FEEL TO: the last point lead nicely into this one. I read so many people on the WW board saying to others that they HAVE to eat their 29pp, even if it means scoffing their face and have cakes and chocolate just because they have 2 or 3 points left over. I just say "no way!". I use the propoints during the day for convenience, it's easier to think in order of single and double figures than in hudreds, and the propoints are handy to think of rather than carbs, proteins, fat and fibre. But when I go hope, I put all my eating on Spark as well, and I check there whether I have hit all of the nutritions. If I did, 23, 24, 27 or 29pp... I don't care, I just stop. I suppose I'm following more Spark than WW... but it works for me!
tip #3: VARY YOUR DIET: well, I'm terrible at this tip also, I always tend to have the same at breakfast and almost the same all the time at lunch. However, my dinner is always different and I try to vary desserts and the likes. I don't have the same number of calories and nutrients two days in a row, I try to have similar amounts, but not the exact same. Keep my body guessing.
tip #4: DON'T BE AFRAID OF A NIGHT OUT: I remember as if it was yesterday. When I dieted with WW the first time, I was almost always on 15-16 old points, trying to eat less to lose more. I was doing a lot of walking (I would ask a friend of mine once a week to drop me at the local ASDA, which was around 6 miles from my home. I would have a big backpack to fit my shopping bags into and I would do my shopping and WALK back home. You might think it was brilliant and not mad, but you must consider that I was going there after work, so it was dark. Most of the road had no lights, stupid English tradition. AND part of the trip was on the motorway. Yes, I hear you, I'm mad. Anyway... I hit a plateau and although doing all that, I wasn't losing anything. Then, my job organised a do at the Chinese buffet restaurant and I went there dreading the day as I wouldn't have been able to control what I was eating. I ate very little points during the day and then tried to make wise choices, but I knew I had exaggerated... I couldn't help. The day after I only ate 13 points, to compensate, and I stayed at 14 points all the rest of the week to get the points back. When I hopped on the scales, I had LOST 2 lbs!!!! I was hooked. I went to the internet and looked at plateaux and found the Wendie Plan, which is basically a controlled way of having one day a week as a feast and alternate points during the week to recover, keeping your body guessing. It WORKED. I kept on losing and reached goal in 3 months. So... don't be afraid of having a slip, it could actually do you good, AS LONG AS you go back on track straight away!
tip #5: EXERCISE! As Mrs Ross said, find the type of exercise that works for YOU and stick to it. I love walking, so during the sumemr I often walk for miles and miles. Recently I have walked 10 Km in just over 2 hours. During the winter I don't fancy walkin g as much because I'm cold and I'm a cat when it comes of rain... so I use the stairs of my building (I live at the 4th floor of a building with no lift) and go up and down for 10 minutes as fast as I can. I also have my own exercise routine of 25 to 30 minutes and do it every single day in the morning. I have seen that gyms don't work for me: I hate going there and not be home, just the thougth of going out, walk up to the gym just for a couple of hours... no, I don't like it. I'm also very tight with money and the thought of spending £40 a month to do something I can do at home for free really doesn't appeal to me. Others might find it handy, but not me. I prefer doing my own, and also sometimes doing my shape and wii fit plus on the wii. You find the exercise that works for YOU, but you STICK at it and you do it constantly, at least 4 times a week.
tip #6: MONITOR YOUR WEIGHT: I weight myself every day. You will have been told not to do that by loads of people, and ideed the fluctuations can be discouraging if you are in the wrong frame of mind. The way I approach it is I keep track of the weight I am once a week, but I monitor the situation every morning. If I see for a day the weight going up I drink more, eat a bit less and do more exercise on the day and check the following morning. Usually it's gone, unless I haven't gone *ahem* "there", and if that's the case, I give it another couple of days, until the problem doesn't leave me, and usually, the weight is way down straight after. This helps, because sometimes I might be at my lowest weight for the week on the saturday and then instead on sunday (official WI) I might have put on because I had a late dinner or pizza or haven't gone "there" or the likes. At least I know it's nothing to worry about!
tip #7: DON'T DEMONISE FAT: Fat is good, or at least, GOOD fat is good. Sparkpeople suggests to eat 32g of fat every day. This doesn't mean that we can go and eat cakes, margarine and rubbish like that until we reach that 32g, because it wold just clog our arteries. We need to eat the RIGHT fats. I'm Italian and proud of the cuisine of my country. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is the oil I have been bred and fed on since birth, and it's a wonderful tool, contains the right fats and gives great flavour to your food. Dump away those rubbish sauces that you put in your salads. Just a spoonful of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a couple of lemon wedges squeezed and your salad is nice and tasty. Or you can use balsamic vinegar, also very good for you. Leave mayonnaise and other cr*p in the bin, thanks. Nuts are also great fat providers. I always have every single day 18g of mixed nuts at lunchtime. 3pp for WW or 108calories with a lot of great fats, proteins, fibres, vitamins, minerals... very little carbs. Full of goodness and well worth the calories and points. And beautifully tasty. What can you ask more from a food? Oily fish is also great supply of good fats. Don't demonise salmon, trouts and the likes. Yes, it's a lot of calories and points... BUT if a salmon fillet is 6pp and a mars bar is 6pp, you don't get the same quality of nutrition from a mars bar. Only a lot of trans-fats, hydrogenated fats and other cr*p like that. Nothing comparable! Eggs are also very, very good. I made a lot of research around them, and apparently they don't increae the bad cholesterol level, but they ARE a complete meal and they give you loads of great nutritions. I have 1 medium egg every morning and when I had my last blood test, my cholesterol's level was very low. Talking about eggs, I always try to have free range eggs. I buy the "Happy eggs" ones, because I live in the illusion that, stupid music aside, what they say in their ad is right and their hens are treated well. They might not really run around in adventures (LOL) but they shouldn't be caged and unhappy. It's important to me.
tip #8: READ THE LABELS, Know what you're eating. Don't just stop yourself to the number of calories or points, THINK what these calories and points are made of. Sure, 6 points are 6 points, BUT it's much better to have 6pp of salmon than a mars bar, as I said earlier. Not only because of the fat, but also because of the sugar. SUGAR is massively important while you're dieting and unfortunately WW doesn't focus on it as much as it should. For example, it's good to eat yogurts. It's good to eat 0% fat yogurts. However, most people don't realise that said 0% fat yogurts are full of sugar. Companies just compensate the absence of fat with an inflation of sugar. Now, if you think fat is the demon, you might think it's OK; but it's not. Sugar is MUCH more a demon than fat. Too much sugar creates in your body a chemical reaction that makes your pancreas produce more insulin. More insulin in your blood means that your body doesn't absorb sugar for a while and sugar is quickly stored as fat. Now I am no doctor so I dont know how to explain it better than this, but low GI diets also tell you that if you eat food with less sugar, you feel fuller for longer. An insulin peak would also stimulate your appetite making you feel hungry much quicker than if you didn't have the sugar. And worse than that, it makes you crave for bad food, sugary food, it's like a drug addiction. Please look at the sugar intake in what you eat, and not only if you're diabetic, in any case. Coing back to the yogurt example, I looked at EVERY SINGLE yogurt on the shelves here in the UK, and the ONLY yogurt that was natural, 0% fat AND with low sugar I found is Fage's Total 0%. It contains only 4g of sugar for 100g, 0g of fat and 9g of proteins, just like skimemd milk. I have 100g of it every morning, the evening before I cut a banana at half, crush it into it and put it to rest in the fridge for the night. The sugar of the banana gives a natural sweetness to the yogurt and it tastes great but I KNOW there's no added cr*p. Try it... it's worth it!
Wow... I didn't expect to write as much. I hope someone finds this lot useful. You CAN reach your goals. I thought I would never have seen the 5 as first figure of my weight in kilos... but I have and it feels amazing. I would never have thought I would fit into a size 12 (US 10), let alone a size 8 (US 6). Now I fit into a 6 (US 4)!!!!
You CAN do it! If you want, you will!!!!