It’s amazing how small changes in your life can cause a ripple effect. These ripples also touch other areas of your life, some in small ways, and others in big ways.
My journey to losing over 100 pounds did not happen overnight, and this isn’t a story about how I sprinted my way to losing all this weight. It has taken me close to 3 years to achieve my weight loss goals by making small, progressive changes overtime. The end result was that my mind, habits, and body are completely different than that of 3 years ago.
What I realized was that losing weight was not the only benefit of making these small changes. Other areas of my life reaped the benefits as well, which was both unexpected and welcomed! Below I would like to talk about 3 changes I feel had the biggest impact on my weight loss journey, and the positive “side effects” they had on my life.
1. Understanding the importance of nutrition
This may sound like a broken record to you, and you’ve probably read this a hundred times, but you have to ask yourself – do you truly know what you are eating? Do you really know how important nutrition is to your overall health? Nutrition is a whole field of study and profession in itself, and can be compared to the fields of physics, psychology, and engineering. I have to admit; I didn’t respect nutrition or treat it with importance until I got serious about changing my life.
Many fast weight loss products actually count on their customers not having any nutritional knowledge. If they did, they would never buy their “weight loss meals” based on nutritional content. It took me some time to learn and realize which ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid. Nutrition teaches us about sugar and salt levels, and how easy it is to consume large amounts of both (tip: look out – it’s everywhere!).
After knowing the basics of nutrition, I was beginning to change my mind, which in turn, changed my behavior. For example, trips to the burger and taco joints were less frequent and home cooked meals increased. This small change alone not only had the benefit of feeding my body real food, but also helped me save money and time by not making the trip to the restaurant and wait for the food. Understanding the importance of nutrition really helped me make other small changes that aided with my weight loss.
2. Setting aside a time to prepare meals
We live in such a fast-paced world today that it leaves very little time to cook meals. Personally, my work nights were filled with stress as my family and I would ask the daily question: what do we want for dinner? And every night, I would go out and buy a chicken dinner, or a pizza, or Chinese food. While driving to get dinner, I had this feeling in my gut that I could do better, and that having these dinners was not ideal for my weight loss efforts. Again, going back to learning about nutrition, I decided to make a change and figure out a way to cook. It was then that I learned about meal prep and cooking meals in advance.
I started out with simple crock-pot recipes and really experienced the benefits immediately. For starters, the daily stress of figuring out what was for dinner disappeared. This benefit carried over to my work lunches – I no longer had to eat at the lunch truck or fight with the lunch crowd to get lunch. The stress levels dropped down dramatically, and I no longer had to worry about what or where to eat next. Now, I set aside a few hours in a day (usually Sunday) and take my time cooking. Preparing meals has greatly contributed to my weight loss and better health, and I highly encourage you to do the same if long term weight loss is your goal.
3. Be flexible – not all is lost if you stray from the path
It happened – you had too many slices of pizza or you finished off that tub of popcorn while watching a TV show. The feelings that immediately follow are something we are all too familiar with: failure, defeat, and guilt. Every single time I gave in to my eating temptations, I felt terrible, that all was lost, and felt like I had gained all the weight back. Even though I fell, I stood back up on my feet, and kept going. I have been there, many times, and yet here I am to tell you that I still lost over 100 pounds.
After being in this journey for more than 3 years now, I can confidently say that you are still allowed to fall through the cracks and still get back to your plan. If you are good on following your plan most of the time, over the long term, you will succeed and meet your goals. Always remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint, and that if you fall today, tomorrow is a new day and you can continue with your weight loss goals. So don’t be too hard on yourself for enjoying a treat or favorite meal every now and then. I am not the most disciplined dieter myself and if I could achieve my goals, so can you!
If someone was to ask me how I lost most of my weight, this would definitely be my answer. These tips are not something new; you’ve probably heard them before. But it doesn’t really set in until you’ve actually done them. By doing these simple changes I managed to also save time, money and eliminate most of my daily stress in addition to losing weight. I am hoping you can use some of these tips as well to help you with your journey. Feel free to ask me any questions or share your story, I’d love to hear from you!