Today is the Day One to end all Day Ones. It is the epitome of Day One-ness, only to be rivaled by January 2nd, when the real party animals put down the cocktail wieners on toothpicks and pick up the salad or cabbage soup, depending on whether they like their diets hot or cold. How about you? Is this a fresh start for you, too?
Everybody and their neighbor is swearing never to eat another potato chip or slice of cheesecake. Fed-up fatties everywhere are signing up for Gym memberships, ordering diet pills, reviewing their Phase One Food List from the South Beach Diet, and re-reading their Atkins guides. Message boards and diet websites all over the Internet are inundated with newbies pledging to drop the pounds. Google is flooded with searches for "lose weight fast" and "lose weight easy" as folks try to find the magic pill, secret diet, easy quick weight loss plan that will give them the body of their dreams. Even the realistic among us are determined to stay committed to a new way of life. "This will be the year!" they cry, as they chop veggies and lift weights. "I'm really going to do it this time!"
Sadly, by the end of January, the majority of these people have given up and gone back to their old ways. "I tried! I just can't lose weight!" And another year goes by, being fat, waking up every morning regretting what they ate yesterday, drinking a diet shake for breakfast, and then inhaling pizza, chips, and cake for lunch. It's a terrible cycle. One I know all too well.
What can we do to "make it stick" this time? What's the difference between those who succeed and those who fail at weight loss? Is it a special food? A magic exercise? A secret combination of spices? WHAT??
It's attitude. It's not giving up, even when you fall. It's continuing on your journey instead of waiting ANOTHER day, week, month or year to start again. You messed up? Start again this instant. Don't wait.
I listen to one of my favorite fitness people, Jillian Michaels, every week on live streaming Internet radio KFI AM 640 (scroll down, find her and click the podcast, or if it happens to be Sunday morning at 9AM Pacific time, click "Listen Live" at the top of the page.) Last week, she said something wise. If you're driving down the road and get a flat tire, what do you do? Do you get out and slash the other three tires? Uh, no... you fix the flat and go on. That's what we're dealing with here. You are on a journey. If you get a flat tire (screw up on your eating), do NOT say, "Oh well, I messed up, I may as well eat everything else I want and quit exercising" because that is like slashing your other tires. Just fix it and KEEP GOING to your destination. If you do that, YOU WILL GET THERE. You won't be one of the millions of people who, like cars with four flat tires, lay abandoned on the side of the road, rusting in place. Just keep driving. Okay?
Resolve to make today the very last Day One ever. You know why? Because you cannot have a Day One if you never give up. Think about it. If every single day you keep on going EVEN when you mess up, then the next day is another step on the journey. To have a Day One, you have to give up and quit for awhile. So quit quitting, and never have another Day One again.
Today isn't a Day One for me, even though I ate a slice of extremely salty Sbarro's pizza at the mall yesterday that caused me to bloat up like a drunken cat and gain 3 pounds of water weight overnight. That did not *end* my efforts, nor did I come home and say, "oh well, I may as well binge. I can start over again tomorrow." No. I just kept going. I looked at the 2 boxes of glazed donuts and the case of 24 Heath bars that my husband brought home and decided I don't need that junk. They can sit on the counter and petrify for all I care. And those 3 pounds of water will be gone by the end of the week, no problem. Today is just another day in a string of days where I eat (mostly) healthy, exercise, and DO NOT BINGE.
Today isn't any more magical than any other day, but it CAN be the fattest day of the rest of your life, if you want it to be.
If you're desperate for answers and at a loss as to exactly what to do to lose weight, I have a suggestion: count calories. It's easy, it's free, it works. Yes it takes time and effort, but nothing monumental. You can't get a healthy body for free. You have to invest your energy into yourself to get dividends. Any healthy, reasonable plan could work, but if you don't have a plan and need a starting point, give calorie counting a try. It's pretty easy these days, since most foods have labels on them telling you how many calories are in a serving, and there is the free and easy online calorie counter at Sparkpeople.com. They have lots of other nice features at that website, but the calorie counter is mostly what I use. Easy. Effective. But you can just write down everything you eat in a notebook and get the same results. Be sure and measure everything you eat and write it down and add it up at the end of the day. Don't know how many calories to eat? That's okay. You can look it up online or you can just spend the whole first week JUST writing down what you ate and adding it up. At the end of the week, if you lost weight, great! Stay at that calorie level for awhile. If not, drop your calories a bit the next week. I personally lose weight nicely when I average 1800 calories/day.
Adding some movement is a good thing, too. Do what you can. Take a short walk. Anything is better than nothing. I started by walking for about 3 minutes. Literally. At 278 pounds, everything is hard. But now I can walk for miles and I can ride my exercise bike 30 minutes every day. It feels great.
If you don't want to count calories, or if you need an extra edge, try going back to my Habit-A-Week Challenge and just doing one habit every week. If you stick with it, you'll drop the pounds. Here's last week's, with a list of links to all the healthy habits. But just try to do ONE per week so you don't get overwhelmed. It is effective and simple. Give it a try!
I am really happy with my progress over 2008, even though the weight loss slowed dramatically after summertime. I've never lost this much weight before in my life, and I have never KEPT off any weight I lost for this long. I know I have made life changes that will drive me on all four tires to my goal of a healthy, strong body. I am so excited to be on this journey!
And remember: Never give up. NEVER.
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