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?