I thought I'd share some things I've learned after finally getting over my long plateau. What have you learned that works?
Technically, I was lower back in 2007, but was on medications, so I am not counting that. Now, due to lifestyle changes/taking care of myself, I don't take any medicine, which is a success in itself! Six weeks into this reboot, I'm at 133 lbs. I think in the last 10 lbs every pound becomes a milestone!
You have to learn to deal with hunger. I now know what it means when I read about someone asking about being hungry on a diet and others responding, "You get used to it." When I see something that reads, "Effortless weightloss," or "Diet without hunger," I know for the most part, they are referring to people with a lot of weight to lose or just trying to sell a product. Let's face it, dieting is a calorie deficit. You're going to get hungry. Starving is not good. But a little hunger, well...
Here's an article from the Oprah magazine, "Think like a thin person." Basically the author talks about having to get over her fear of hunger. I had this fear but for different reasons. Many years ago I exercised to the max and hardly ate anything to try to lose weight. It was not healthy and led me to being on all sorts of medications from thyroid support to developing and taking medications for severe asthma/allergies and so on. So, I was scared of being hungry - at all. It made me think I'd slip back into that time.
But that's a fear we need to get over, especially because a lot of outside influences and emotions can "cause" hunger. Here is the article:
Another helpful comment I read is that it all depends on your attitude toward it (doesn't so many things in life?) The poster said they have learned to appreciate hunger, because it means their body is burning stored fat instead of excess eaten calories. So now, instead of thinking I am going through an agonizing, horrible experience because I've eaten and am not all_the_way_full or can't have truly all I can eat at the all-you-can-eat buffet (or I skip going altogether), I just realize that my body is signaling I'm on the right track. After literally years of being stalled on my diet by fitness devices telling me to eat more than I should have, I really appreciate the feeling that I am making progress!
Another thing that helps me, funny as it sounds, is chewing gum. They've actually done studies to show that this distracts you from the desire to eat, and people who chew gum lose more weight because of it! It actually burns 11 calories per hour, too! I've 'thought' I was hungry before and started to chew gum and a couple hours later realize that I wanted to eat before !
A note on fitness devices, etc. I don't care what fitness device you use, website that calculates your calorie burn or even nutritionist you go and see: You don't burn what they tell you you are burning. YOU BURN WHAT YOUR BODY TELLS YOU THAT YOU ARE BURNING. I had fits with this for literally years. I wore a Bodymedia device, which claimed 98% accuracy that had me eating much more than I should have been, I even gained weight with it. But at the same time I stood by it, thinking my metabolism had slowed because I wasn't eating enough... because IT said I was burning THAT MUCH. Again, too, I was scared to be hungry at all so going there was definitely BAD... LOL
I'd do calorie calculators online, meet with nutritionists, make spreadsheets, etc etc. But the fact is, if you're not making progress, the calories in vs out equation is just not working. I hate to generalize, but most likely you're eating too much. Even now, I realize that when my Mom cooks, she doesn't measure and her estimates on many things have been incorrect, including foods I frequently eat. And she is trying to help! So it might not be the calculators are incorrect, the measurements may be off as well. So take a close look at what you are doing.
It can take a while to find the right calorie level for you. My suggestion is to pick ONE method, and adjust it as you go. Don't use a Bodymedia armband, then move to the Spark calorie calculator when you don't see results, then move to a FitBit then MyFitnessPal and so on. They all use different scales to calculate things and you won't know what is going to work or not. Pick ONE, then stick with it, lowering or increasing calories from that ONE measuring stick, until you see results.
On that note, I would give a new diet 3-4 weeks to take hold and then re-evaluate. It really can take that long to see results, especially if your goal is slow weight loss.
You don't need to exercise like a mad-person to lose weight. Just enough to get your desired calorie deficit. In fact, I've pulled back on training because dieting is stressful on the body, and when you throw hard training into the mix, you are not in a good situation for recovery. Most books advise athletes to diet in the off-season due to this reason. Because I train in both winter and summer sports, I don't really have an "off-season." So... I'm creating one! My main goal right now is weight loss so I'm doing everything I can to reach my goal!
Now when I say just enough - as you get closer to goal you probably DO need to do daily exercise. Beyond the obvious benefits, you also are burning fewer calories in general. For example I am small so my BMR is around 1250 calories a day. If I am somewhat inactive, I will only burn around 1450-1500 calories a day. So if I even eat the minimum - just my BMR calories (which truly isn't a lot of food!), I would be losing under a half pound per week. Basically I need to do the equivalent of running at least 3 miles a day to lose a pound a week. Not a lot to a competitive runner, but to those who are more sedentary... something to think about.
BUY A FOOD SCALE. It's so easy to just say, "a bowl of cereal" and eyeball it. Or use a measuring cup and "loosely" say it's 1 cup. But the package will tell you how many calories are in the food, by weight, and 28 grams of something is always 28 grams. There's no going over. You may be surprised at what a cup of something actually is...
Stay Focused. If losing weight is a top goal and priority to you, realize you will probably have to give some other things up or put them second or on hold to achieving your goal. I'm not saying ignore your kids or anything like that. But it may mean getting up earlier to exercise. Limiting some of the foods you love. Whatever. Just keep your eye on the ball, so to speak, and don't let the chocolate cake get the best of you :).
Take responsibility. I can't emphasize this enough. I started reading the book, "The Success Principles," by Jack Canfield and recommend it. One of the first things he brings up is to take responsibility for your situation. Only then can you start to change it. For example, my Mom is a snack-a-holic and borderline food hoarder. I am staying with my Mom right now. So, I used to say, there's no way I can lose weight now, because SHE puts these snacks all over the place. Well the fact is, "I" was the one choosing to eat them. Yes, it makes it harder to have food/junk food all around, and if it gets too hard it would still be my responsibility to sit down and talk to her about what needs to be changed to help me accomplish my goal. Or, I'd need to find somewhere else to live even if it were that big of a deal. As it is, I've realized what I feed myself is ultimately MY responsibility. Yes, it's hard, but so are a lot of things, and I've learned to deal with it and lose the weight I need.
Routine is good. I personally dislike routine, but in my opinion, it's a good thing for weight loss. Having set times and places to workout, a food area stocked with foods that are healthy and you are familiar with, and so on really helps. Realize that if you are traveling a lot, going through a divorce or making a major career change, it will be more difficult for you to reach your goal. I'm not saying it is impossible, but sometimes it's more important to focus on trying to stay healthy and take care of yourself over weight loss until things are more stable. If you choose to pursue it during these times, be extra vigilant.
An occasional cheat day can break a plateau! Believe it or not... it does recharge the hormones... and mind!
Take extra care of yourself. Drink lots of water, take vitamins, and have a detox tea every so often. Losing fat can sometimes release toxins into the body. SLEEP ENOUGH!
Ok, enough blathering by me! I've got to get moving - I still have 9 lbs left to go!! From my top weight after I got off all the medications, I have now lost somewhere around 32 pounds!!
What tips have you learned that you can share???