When we last left off, I was busy kvetching about the various bits of weight loss advice that I feel are not exactly making it easier for people to lose weight. When I decided it was finally time to lose weight, I did it through a combination of little things, none of which was extreme or unhealthy.
As far as I’m concerned, the first thing you need to do when you are ready to lose weight is to keep your goals reasonable and to literally give yourself permission to not think about the total number you are shooting for, at least not every day.
For me, I needed to lose 50 pounds. Fifty pounds. Man, that’s a huge amount of weight to take off, isn’t it? Just looking at the number made me feel like it was an impossible task. Granted, I knew of people who had done it—I read magazines and see Nutrisystem ads with Marie Osmond like everyone else does—but to me, just thinking about the number 50 made me feel overwhelmed, which in turn caused me to do absolutely nothing about it.
So do you know what I did? I told myself to just forget about the whole 50 pound weight loss thing. I agreed with the idea that losing 50 pounds was just too much to take on, but then—this is key—I asked myself what amount I could lose. After thinking about it for awhile, I decided that 10 pounds was a reasonable, totally attainable goal for me that didn’t make my hair frizz just thinking about it. So I set off to lose 10 pounds at the rate of one pound a week. When I reached my goal of 10 pounds, guess what? I decided to shoot for 10 more. But I never ever focused on the grand total—it was just too overwhelming for me. I kept the number 50 tucked back in my brain, but I didn’t think about it every day or even every week.
This brings up another important thing to keep in mind when losing weight. Those extra pounds you see in the mirror didn’t go on overnight. Women especially love to joke that just looking at a cheesecake will cause them to put on five pounds but of course in reality, that’s not the way it works. For me, I started really gaining weight after the birth of my first son 12 years ago.