The holidays are harshing my mello, if you know what I am saying. Being someone who has had a large weight loss of over 150 pounds, it is still a struggle to not gain weight; especially through the holidays, when the temptation is even greater than the rest of the year.
I am not a special snowflake, let's get that straight. I have been a fat kid, a fat teen and a fat adult. I lost my weight in a contest for money, thinking that after I won, I would go to Vegas and pig out, buffet style.
But, a funny thing happened. The contest that my work put on was for a 6 month period of time. That, my friends, is a long time to "diet." I knew that I had to do something different than I had in the past-I mean, I could not do the cage soup diet for 6 months, I could die of cage poisoning, for God sakes!
I had to change some habits, trick my brain, and not die of hunger. Those were my goals; oh, and eat cake. I was so not giving up my cake ...
The long and short of it-I lost over 150 pounds. That was in 2009 when I started. I have kept off my weight now for 8 years, and I want to tell you how I have done that-and I am not a special snowflake.
I have no more "willpower" than I did when I was fat. I have no special pill or drink you can take. I have no really earth-shattering information that you probably do not already know. Here is what I have done:
I changed some pretty bad habits.
This is numero uno on my list of keeping off my weight. I think that willpower is total BS. That's mean for another article rant, but suffice it to say, when I started to change my habits, that's what made all the difference.
I eat mostly the same stuff, I workout hard at least 5 days a week and I just do not think about it. I am on autopilot. You do not have to have any special powers to be on autopilot, you just have habits that you have formed and really keep to. I am rather boring ...
I gave myself some grace. I made up the 49/51% rule because I was always handicapped by fear of failure. I would hold myself to such a high standard that I never could come close to meeting, then when I fell short, I dove into a whole cake and a ton of candy.
Hmmm ... can you say "self sabotage?"
I was so afraid to try again and fail that I never ever cut myself some slack. So, in an objective ruse, I tricked my brain into the 49/51% rule.
I would be on point with my diet for 4 days out of the week, and the other 3 days I would be "lax." No, it was not a free-for-all, it was lax. If we went out for dinner, I just had what I wanted, If I wanted desert I did it.
I still do this.
I find I meet my goals faster if I cut down to 1-2 days that I am a little more lax, but yes, this has been instrumental in keeping my weight off.
I write crap down-like all of it.
I need to write out what I am doing every day so that I can meet my goals. I do this for my business, and I do this for my diet and exercises. Having a plan really makes me accountable and also solidifies my habits.
If you are not a fan of writing stuff down, at least plan what you will be doing through the day in your own way.
If something is not working, then its time to change it up.
Now, I am not talking "I want to be a size 4 by next week" and you have to lose 50 pounds. No, I am talking about doing the same thing for weeks, and it not working for you.
For women, then temptation to change their diet to almost no calories is the norm.
Do not be the norm.
My goal now is to be able to eat a bunch and not gain weight. How I did this? I had to heal my metabolism. When I was running 40 miles a week and gaining weight on 1400 calories a day, I had to re-evaluate what would have been my best course of action.
The long and short of it:
Willpower has nothing to do with keeping weight off. It has everything to do with habit changes.
It can be tough through the holidays, but I can honestly say the 4 rules above I have lived for 8 years now, and they work. I am diligent, and formed habits that I try not to deviate from.
When I do deviate from them, because, lets face it, life happens, then I give myself some grace and get right back on the proverbial wagon.
Any one can do this.
Just because someone did it and you have not yet, does not mean they are a "special" snowflake. It means they are following rules you have not started following yet, that's pretty much it.
So, when you get frustrated, go back to these rules. There is no special "willpower" trick I have for you. I actually have very little self-control and love food, especially chocolate cake more than my children (well, it's a close second), and if I can keep off 150 plus pounds, so can you!