Reflection upon meeting GW and 10 tips for success

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gosh it seems like forever since I've had a chance to really be on Spark and that I've had an opportunity to do a blog! Upon reaching my goal weight, however, I find it especially important to reflect upon the things I've learned along the way that have contributed to my success. It is my hope that these things will contribute to the happiness and success of other people, but that they will also remind me of how I've gotten where I am and what I need to do to ensure I stay where I am.

Here is my top ten list of tips for success:

10. Exercise regularly. You've read it on Sparkpeople, in fitness magazines, and on internet articles, now it's time to start believing it: exercising regularly gives one more energy, makes one feel good about oneself, and burns calories. If you want to lose the weight and you want to feel good about yourself, you have to do both cardio and strength training as part of your routine. Start small, and work your way up. 30 minutes/3X a week for cardio is enough to start a pattern. It takes three weeks or doing something or 21 times to make it a habit. Push through those three weeks to ensure that you will keep doing it! To start with, strength train at least twice a week and work your way up. Do more reps with less weight to ton and not bulk up.

9. Find healthy swaps. Eat your favorite foods, but find things that you can easily swap out to make it more healthy. Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Laughing Cow Light cheese instead of mayonnaise and cheese on a sandwich. Cut out salad dressings: use salsa or olive oil and vinegar instead. Eat carrots instead of chips for an extra crunch. Use hummus instead of ranch dressing. Find what works best for you, and stick with it!

8. Complete interval training two to three times a week. On the treadmill, for example, walk at a pace that you can still chat with your neighbor at while feeling slightly breathless. Every time you see an increment of 5, bump up the speed as high as you can (so that you could not talk to your neighbor because you are so breathless) for approximately 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat throughout your workout. This will keep your body guessing and burn tons of calories in the process. You can do this with any cardio workout (treadmill, stairstepper, ellipical, bike--inside or outside).

7. Share with others. When you find something that works, share it with those around you. In fact, even when something isn't working, share it with those around you. Camaraderie is one of the keys to success when doing anything goal oriented. Sparkpeople is AMAZING for this!

6. Find support. Share your goals with other people so they can support you. Even it's only one person (your significant other, best friend, doctor, or Sparkfriends), share your current weight with them and let them help figure out how they can support you while you are on your journey. I understand that sharing your highest weight with others is uncomfortable, I have been there before, but at least one person needs to know where you've been so they can build you up when you make the progress you are going to make. Take the time to find the support on your own, even if you are a shy person naturally (that's me!). Step out of your comfort zone and make it happen.

5. Limit your intake of some foods, but don't deny yourself. If you are an ice cream lover like me, don't deny yourself the foods you love the most. The Greeks are spot on with their well known saying "Everything in moderation." How do I handle this? I limit myself. I set goals and write them in a blog whenever I find I'm struggling. You all often see in my goals, "limit ice cream to once this week." I struggle with that, so I have to write it down so that others hold me accountable!

4. Measure out portion sizes. Get a food scale and measuring cups, and measure that stuff out. You will be amazed at how much you are overdoing it or at how much you are "underdoing" it. Portion sizes are hard to measure with the naked eye. You'll be surprised at how much more of something you can eat sometimes if you just measure! It's the little things in life that count, right?

3. Don't beat yourself up. When you eat too much of something or miss a 10 mile run (as I did this morning!), recognize that you screwed up, but get up, dust yourself off, and move on. Wallowing in self-pity only leads to emotional eating and that certainly doesn't solve the problem!

2. Set realistic goals and celebrate your success. If you have a significant amount to lose, break it down into smaller increments and celebrate when you reach those goals. Make a list of goal weights, then attach small prizes to them (go to a movie! get a pedicure! new song from iTunes! etc). GET YOUR PRIZES when you make your goals. They make you happy! If you've never run before, don't start out with a goal to do a half or full marathon. Make it a 5k and take a few months to build your endurance before. Start small and work your way up. Just as in the quote in my signature line, "...knowingly accept that baby steps is the most [you] can do some days." It works!

1. Be consistent and do it for you. This is the number one tip I have. Be consistent and persistent and you will find success. Some days or weeks you won't lose. Some days or weeks you will gain when you don't expect to. Stay the course--it works! Just keep on doing what you are doing, keep getting up when you fall down, and you will achieve all your goals and then some. Even when it doesn't seem like you have the time to get a workout in, do it anyway. The world will wait for you. Your family will still love you, and you will learn to love yourself which will lead to great things!

Thank you all so much for being my constant support and guidance throughout this journey. Your love and showering of encouragement is exactly what I need on most days to get me through. Sunny Gals, I cannot thank you enough for being my rocks when I've needed a place of refuge and rest.

If you have any questions about any of these things or need ideas/encouragement, please feel free to message or write on my sparkpage!

Many hugs, Sparkfriends!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great list! Congrats on your success! Being at Goal Weight and Maintaining there is such fun! Still a learning process. Rejoicing with you!
    3312 days ago
    I am so happy & proud of you too! You are totally amazing.
    Thank you Anne for taking the time & sharing your 10 tips, I will keep them & use them for my journey to my goal.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3332 days ago
    Good morning Anne :o) We haven't been Spark friends very long and I admit I hadn't looked very closely at your page. When we met at our team meet-up last month, Lou and I both later commented well she must be on Spark for the training! We'd never seen you near your start weight so we assumed you only had a few pounds to lose. Don't get me wrong, this is fine! I'm totally okay with the people that bemoan 5 or 10 extra pounds, because that's the world to them and it matters! Today when I saw that you'd reached your goal (and MASSIVE congrats for that!) I got curious what your total loss had been, so I looked at your page. You and I are the same height. My start weight is 15 pounds higher than yours. You've reached MY goal weight! And so now I can picture you with my physique and think 'look how far she's come'! If you can do it, surely I can! All the tips you've listed here are good ones, and we should be reminded of them often. I wish I'd read this before I had Doritos for breakfast...
    3333 days ago
    Congrats once again on reaching your goal weight! I love your blog and I'm sure I will visit often to head your words of advice! I'm so proud of you and all you have done!
    3333 days ago
  • AMBER281
    Congrats again on reaching your goal weight.
    You 10 tips are right on the mark!!
    Thanks for being a great support and inspiration!
    YOU ROCK!!!
    3334 days ago
    I am so proud of you I tear up reading this! I pledge to read this often and make your 10 steps my own, thank you for writing this and your support in the past and in the future! Love Ya Sunny!
    3334 days ago
    You rock!
    3334 days ago
  • NIC582
    Thank you for your tips! I'm still in week 3, but I love reading what people say works and including those into my daily life! Congrats on the goal weight!!!!
    3334 days ago
  • J2740LOU
    emoticon You have done great. Keep living your 10 steps for success and you will be able to maintain you GW. Proud of you! emoticon emoticon
    3334 days ago
    great advice! good luck on maintenance!
    3334 days ago
    YOu have done awesome Anne, I am so proud of you for reaching your GW!! and your tips for success are spot on!! Love you!
    3334 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.