What Does It Take?

I have had several people ask me what my “secret” is to losing weight. So I’m going to reveal it to you, right here, right now. Are you ready? Here it is.

I exercise and count calories.

That’s it. No gimmicks, no pills, no special food delivered to my door, just good old fashioned cardio and nutrition. That’s all it takes.

Well, almost.

It actually takes a whole lot of mental resolve and commitment. If you’re not committed to losing the weight, you’ll let yourself skip workouts, you’ll choose donuts over fruit every time, and you’ll soon lose interest in counting calories. I have written before about the mental side to losing weight, so feel free to read that post if you missed it. Today I thought I would share with you some things that have been vitally important to me on my journey. I have these “keys to success” posted on my SparkPage (my profile on SparkPeople), but I wanted to share them here as well.

My Keys to Success

1. Make no excuses! I don’t skip exercising unless I am too ill to go to work or am severely sleep-deprived. I schedule exercise like any other appointment.

2. Plan! It’s true that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! I try to plan out in advance what dinners I will cook and serve each week, and I also log in my food a day in advance so I know what I’m going to eat. I allow myself some flexibility, but having a plan in place makes me less likely to blow it.

3. Use the tools you’ve been given! For me, this includes SparkPeople’s Nutrition and Fitness trackers and the countless articles on fitness, weight loss, and motivation (all of this is FREE); all of these tools are lifesavers, especially if you’re just starting the program or are struggling with motivation. Even if you don’t use SparkPeople, educate yourself by finding out what foods are best for your health, what types of exercises you can do at home, what opportunities for fitness are available in your community.

4. Make fitness fun! Walking on the treadmill or using the elliptical can be dreadfully dull, so spice it up with intervals and fast-paced music. I’m also a big fan of at-home DVDs, and when I first started exercising, dancing DVDs were a foolproof way to get me excited about working out. I may look like a fool dancing around my living room, but I am having fun and losing weight.

5. Be realistic! Don’t expect change to happen overnight. Slow and steady weight loss is the best, as those who lose weight slowly are more likely to keep it off. Losing weight the right way (with no magic pills or crash diets!) requires dedication, consistency, and hard work. Realize there will be weeks when the scale doesn’t give you the number you want, but that doesn’t mean you give up. It’s going to take time, but you’re worth it!

6. Don’t compare yourself to others! Many of you know I am guilty of this myself but am working on it. There are a LOT of people on SparkPeople and on the Internet who have lost a LOT of weight, and if you compare your progress with everyone else’s, that’s a surefire way to sabotage your own success! Don’t do it. Everyone’s body is different, everyone loses weight at a different pace, and all that matters is that you give it your best, day in and day out.

7. Seek support and accountability! The longer I am in this journey, the more important this has become. This can include support from friends, family members, spouses, and even an online community. I know I’ve been successful because I’ve made other people a part of the journey I’m on. It’s much easier to succeed when you have people cheering you on and encouraging you, and it’s much easier to motivate yourself to work out or eat healthy if you know that other people are going to hear about it if you don’t. Don’t isolate yourself!

One of my favorite quotes says it all: “You can either make excuses or get results, but you can’t do both!” Tom Venuto

What tips do you have for success at weight loss? I’d love to hear them!

5 thoughts on “What Does It Take?

  1. awesome post and things i needed to be reminded of today! i think sparkpeople is the best tool that i have! every time i go to the site i am inspired to make better choices.

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  2. so so so so true – it's all mental. The easy part is losing pounds. The hard part is busting through all the mental hold-ups we seem to have, all the excuses, all the things that we cannot get past! Great post!

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  3. for me it was making a choice every day to commit.
    to maintain? its making a choice every day to commit.
    to stay married? its making a choice every day to commit.

    for me? its all about choosing DAILY with all things.

    have a great weekend!

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  4. For me, the thing that made all of the difference was doing it for me because I wanted to change and not because I thought it would make other people like me bette. (It sounds so cliche, but I didnt know the difference until I was actually doing it for me!)

    Just last night, I saw a friend I hadnt seen since Halloween. One of the first things she said to me was that I looked great. She asked if I had lost weight. I told her yes and how much. She asked what I had been doing. When I told her I am exercising more and watching what I ate, her face kinda sank. I think people are always expecting some sort of miracle and something easy. But that doesnt work. What does work is making sure you are eating in a healthy way and keeping your body healthy with exercise!

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