How to Lose Weight Even If You Feel Hopeless

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?

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PATRICIAAK 10/7/2020
:) Report
Well said, Great article. Report
KHALIA2 2/23/2020
An AWESOME ARTICLE! Thanks for sharing!!!!!! Report
GEORGE815 12/29/2019
Thanks Report
Thanks Beth! You continue to inspire years later! Report
Thank you for the info. Report
To this I would add have a message board of motivational quotes that resonate with you. Add pictures or photos that you can look at when you just aren't feeling like exercising, or you want to go off plan, or did overeat & are discouraged & want to give up.
I too eat as much healthy food as I can, a lot of it raw & unprocessed. That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room & helps me want to stay with it & not undo all the past efforts. Slow & steady. Plus I also don't get on the scale much. When clothes get baggy, that's when I do. Report
Thank you for talking about cravings. My biggest fear is having cravings. Report
Thanks for the information. Report
I very much needed to read this! Thank you so much for always sharing what you have learned. Report
thanks. Report
Very real advice...I like it. Report
Well said! Report
Great info! Thank you! Report
This covers most questions that I have regarding diet terms and plans, thanks Report
A truly awesome blog Report
Good article. Report
Very well said, thank you! Report
Very interesting article Report
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. Report
Great info Report
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! Report
I really loved this article!!
my most favorite part is ...

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.

I hate myself because I walk around in sweats ALL the time. Report
GREAT advice! Adding to my favorites! Report
Thank you for sharing. I'm going to start using the spark streaks and start slow. One foot in front of the other! Report
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!
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! Report
awesome mantra. I like the part about living life now, not 10 pounds away. Report
Thanks...really needed this to motivate me and to stay on my journey! Report
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. Report
Thank you for sharing...I can use this advice for areas outside of my weight loss journey as well Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
Thank you - gives me hope! Will DAS and see how I go Report
Your honesty and grit are a gift to the rest of us--thank you for sharing your hard-won wisdom. Report
Love your D.A.S. mantra! Report
What a great attitude -
LOVE the D.A.S. mantra

Great Blog! I realize that one minute can get you started and keep you going when things get tough. Thanks! Report
Very motivating ... I will keep this in mind for the times my "head" wants to tell me lies. Report
Thank you for the wonderful article! Report
You're so amazing! Report
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? Report
Wonderful - such good advice! Report
Needed this! Thank you! Report
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. Report
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. Report
Excellent blog. This one I will go back and reread as needed. Thanks! Report