In my last blog, I briefly talked about the loss of my husband, grief, and my journey to self-love and weight loss. This blog is Part-Two of a Three-part blog series about my weight loss journey.
How often do you hear fitness and health experts say “to lose weight, and successfully keep it off, you must change your lifestyle?" You’re probably thinking to yourself “But I’m already on a diet, and I exercise at least five days a week.”
Well, being on a diet to lose weight and making lifestyle changes are two different things—although many of us mistakenly think they are the same. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes diet as food and drinks regularly provided or consumed; and, as a regimen of sparingly eating and drinking so as to reduce one’s weight. On the other hand, a lifestyle change (dietary lifestyle change) takes place when we make long-term habitual choices that ultimately positively affect our perspective on food, health, exercise, and self-worth.
A lifestyle change can be something as simple as loving yourself, saying no more often, avoiding sugary and salty foods/drinks, eating more fruits and vegetables, or walking 30 minutes a day. All of which are habits that you can put into practice now, and over the long-term—consistency is key. You see, it’s that simple! As humans, we tend to over analyze everything and make our lives more complicated than what it should be.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let's dive into some of the steps I implemented to lose weight.
Tip 1: Self-Love
Before I could move forward, I had to learn how to love myself—from the inside out. That meant accepting who God created me to be, my body, my failures, and successes. Every morning, I tell myself, while standing in front of a mirror, “I love you, Darla.” I no longer rely on other people to tell me that they love me. What matters most, is that I love me.
Tip 2: It’s a Lifestyle NOT a Diet
The power of a changed and refocused mind works wonders! I finally came to the realization that I was already set up to fail at “dieting” simply because “going on a diet” was a temporary fix. I needed a long-term solution to losing weight. I reevaluated what I was eating, how often, and how many times a week I was exercising. Then it hit me. Weight loss isn’t or shouldn’t be about constantly counting calories or spending countless hours at the gym. So, I changed my mindset and stopped dieting. I no longer use the word “diet” in my vocabulary (well, unless my doctor is asking me what types of food is in my diet--the other use of the word).
The key to losing and maintaining weight is by making lifestyle changes that affect your long-term success.
Don’t think of losing weight as a short-term fix. For example, avoid telling yourself that you need to lose weight for an upcoming event or to fit into a bikini/swimsuit by summertime. Start setting realistic weight loss goals such as losing 1-2 pounds per week (slow and steady pace). By doing so, you will have a better chance of losing those unwanted pounds while maintaining your ideal weight. You can and will do it!
Tip 3: You are What you Eat
Relevant: The Best Way to Boost Your Metabolism
Sadly, but true, you are what you eat. Yes, I was eating the wrong foods, and consequently, my metabolism slowed down while the weight continued to pile on. But wait, there was still hope. After learning that omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, lake trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring) help to increase the metabolism, I started eating more fish, especially salmon. According to the Mayo Clinic, omega-3 fatty acids in fish is also good for your heart. So be sure to eat your fish, at least two times a week.
I also eat a lot of poultry—chicken, turkey, hen—because it is high in protein, low in fat, and helps with weight maintenance and much more.
Relevant: Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Chicken
Get rid of the junk foods! I made it a habit of limiting my sugar and carb intake.
As you know, vegetables and fruits are low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients. I focus on eating vegetables and fruits that are either fresh or frozen. I love to eat green leafy vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, collard/mustard greens, and broccoli. Add a variety of fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Relevant: Get Something for Nothing: 25 Nearly Calorie-Free Foods
In my follow-up blog, I’ll share a tool I use, daily, that helps me consume more fruits and vegetables. It will help you, too!
What are your thoughts on self-love? What lifestyle changes will you implement today? I’d love to hear from you. Sharing is caring!