One of the intentions for this blog when I created it, was to every once in a while, share some motivating, encouraging weight-loss success stories. Often when people ask me for weight-loss advice they’re really hoping for an easy answer, a quick fix or a magic pill. I do know a few of those rare people who achieved their desired results by making only one or two changes that were not particularly challenging. But for most people, it’s hard work.
Whether it’s an easy process for you or difficult, there’s one very important key to weight-loss success… Having a healthy, realistic plan and sticking with it. That’s as close as I can come to a simple answer. Easier said than done though, and that’s the problem. I know someone who removed wheat from their diet and weight loss followed as a result. Another person found success by taking one hour bike rides, 4 to 5 times a week. These are the only things they changed and it did the trick. But they kept doing it—that’s the magic answer—if they stopped, their weight loss would stop.
Most people have to change more than just one thing to achieve weight loss, but once you discover what (for you) those things are and keep doing them, the results will follow. For some, weight loss will come by stopping in-between-meals eating, or changing the type of foods eaten between meals. Some people need to eat a proper meal at meal times to prevent cravings and to eliminate reckless and impulsive binge snacking. And almost everyone needs to cut out unhealthy, high calorie snacks completely.
Here’s what a few people I’ve come to know have recently done to lose weight:
Trevor, who lives in my neighborhood, left for university in another city two thousand miles away. When he returned at the end the school year, he was barely recognizable. He was about half the size. I’d only ever know him as being a certain size and having a certain look. He never really struck me as someone who was particularly heavy, but after losing a fair amount of his weight, it became obvious that he’d had plenty to spare. There was someone else under those layers who was now exposed and who looked different. What was the secret to his weight-loss success?
Trevor said the biggest change was that he stopped the boredom snacking. He stopped filling his face while watching TV or while studying. Next he became more careful to make healthier choices about what he ate at meal times. The challenge soon became ‘where to draw the line’, because you can start going overboard once you get on a really successful weight-loss roll. He had to watch that he didn’t become overly strict with calorie counting or food choices.
Kathleen, a middle-aged woman working full time as a nurse, had been significantly overweight for many years. I saw her occasionally and began to notice a change in her overall size. This continued over the months and finally when she had achieved a state of considerable slimness, I asked her what she’d done to get there. Her successful formula: Make smart food choices, eat less, and stick with it. She also went to the gym or out for a brisk walk a few times a week. At that time she’d been at it for about 6 months. She had to buy all new clothes. I could tell she felt pretty good about herself. She planned to keep with it indefinitely. She felt she still had a ways go with getting firmed up at the gym and was committed to continuing along that path.
Lisa, in her late 30’s had gained 25 pounds since she started taking antidepressant medication a few years prior. It was very difficult for her to lose weight while talking the medication so she planned to see if she could improve her state of mental health in other ways. In particular, by regularly exercising.
She knew someone who had greatly decreased their level of depression, decreased the amount of medication taken, and decreased their weight, by jogging great distances regularly. Before long they were able to stop taking the meds altogether and began training for a marathon. Any remaining extra weight was soon lost as a result. Lisa realized that everyone’s mental health situation is different, and what may work for one person may not necessarily work as well for another, but she thought it was certainly worth a try. She’s now well into her journey and her positive results are giving her the hope she’ll need to see it through.
Although everyone’s story is a little bit (or sometimes a lot) different, the two key factors that always stays the same, are perseverance and healthier choices overall. And if you slip up by eating something like a donut or French fries (as almost everyone does on occasion), that’s normal. Just don’t let it become a habit. Keep making those healthy choices overall and stick with them. It’s what will keep you moving forward towards weight-loss success.