7 Tricks to Kick Start Weight Loss
It’s no secret that I’m an emotional eater. Even when life is going great, which is most of the time, I still find it difficult to chose the broccoli over the bacon or the cauliflower over the cookie, because, let’s face it, junk food tastes fabulous. But when the going gets tough, I get chocolate chip muffins.
And now I have a muffin top over my jeans… The bigger size jeans I had to buy last month. Aside from the obvious downer of gaining weight and struggling to find clothes that make me feel decent, there is a more insidious side effect of emotional eating: loss of self confidence. I get so angry with myself for calming my nerves with a box of cookies. I should know better – I’m a fitness blogger for Pete’s sake!
Chemo days are the worst for me. Mom falls in and out of sleep and I sit in a chair next to her. Other patients with varying degrees of baldness file in and sit in the reclining chairs. The college kid curled under his favorite blanket. The old couple holding hands. The girl with Down Syndrome smiling and waving at everyone.
Sometimes people talk to me. One lady just needed to vent. She lives alone, is getting fired from her job for missing too much work, doesn’t know how she will pay the bills, and said she thinks her sister wishes she would die. What do you say to that? She spoke for four hours while I just listened. By the time my mother and I left my hands were shaking.
Once home, I tried taking a walk, reading a magazine to distract myself and eating some oatmeal. Nothing calmed me down. So I bought a three pack of chocolate chip muffins, devoured the whole thing and I finally relaxed. Then I felt guilty and weak-willed. Those emotions aren’t helpful.
So I brainstormed a little, and asked myself, “What worked for me in the past? How can I adapt these strategies to lose the extra weight I’ve gained, and get back on track?” Here are the answers I’ve come up with:
7 Tricks to Kick Start Weight Loss
- Get a goal. A goal gives you a purpose; something to look forward to. It helps if your goal is specific, attainable, and not more than a month or two away so you don’t get distracted. My goal is to get back into my normal clothing size in time for the family picture we are taking at the end of the month.
- Emotional Eating.
On chemo days I’m letting myself have a cheat meal. I’d rather just eat one chocolate chip muffin and be done with it than try to avoid it, end up eating one and then say, ‘I already messed up, I guess I’ll eat three.’ In a perfect world I guess I would just jog for 2 hours or see a therapist or something to handle the stress with something other than food, but I have to deal with myself realistically and that means acknowledging that sometimes food is a defense mechanism for me.
- Exercise. Usually I do a lot of strength training (5x per week) with a little cardio (20 minutes 3x per week) for endurance. Weight loss is the reverse. Between now and family photo day I plan to do about 50 minutes of cardio 6 days per week and strength training 3 times per week. My goal for cardio is to sweat a lot because sweat is fat crying.
- Eat Clean. This is, of course, the most important aspect of achieving a healthy weight. You can’t outrun a bad diet. I’ve been eating a lot of fish (tilapia), brown rice and green beans. I’ve made a big pot of vegetable soup to supplement my meals (I eat 5-6 times per day) because soup is filling and it also gets in extra servings of vegetables, which your body needs anyway.
- Drink Water. The rule of thumb is to drink 8 glasses of water per day, which is 1/2 gallon. With all the exercise I’m doing, I’m aiming to drink 1 gallon of water per day so I don’t get dehydrated. Also, if I’m drinking water that means I’m NOT drinking other things like Diet Coke or coffee with creamer.
- Motivation. I’ve pulled out the outfit I want to wear for the photo shoot. I’ll dry on the skirt every day to measure my progress. Let’s hope it zips on (or before!) the designated day.
- Limit TV Time. TV just keeps me awake, even when I’m tired, and eating, even when I’m not hungry. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my favorite shows, but my aim is to just watch TV once or twice a week while I’m working on my fitness goal.
So that’s my game plan. How about you? What steps do you take when you want to get back on track?
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