Everyday we are bombarded with articles and TV ads telling us how to lose weight. As someone that has struggled with her weight for years, I’ve tried just about everything. I would usually lose about 5 or 10 pounds but then I’d end up gaining it all back.
I actually didn’t try to lose weight in 2010 until May. That is pretty late in the year to get started but I marked the day I started on my calendar and I’ve been keeping track of my progress. As of writing this (Nov. 29, 2010) I’ve lost 25 pounds.
I can honestly say the best thing that has helped me lose weight is keeping track of my calories. I simply got a little note pad and started writing down my calories for the day. I have a pretty hectic work schedule, so I’ve been keeping track of how many calories I eat during an entire 24 hour period. (Because I never know how long I’ll be staying up at night.)
One of the biggest reasons doing that has helped me so much is because it helps eliminate the guilt of overeating. Many people (myself included) have tried to go on a very strict diet, but if we have an “off day” where we eat too much then we feel guilty about it. We tend to feel like we messed up so bad that there isn’t even any point to keep trying and we use that as an excuse to go back to overeating all the time. Of course, I’m not saying that you can overeat all the time, but no one is perfect. You have to accept the fact that you are going to overeat sometimes. If I have a day where I eat too much I don’t beat myself up over it. I just accept it for what it is and remind myself to stay on track tomorrow.
Most experts recommend eating between 1,200 — 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. Most experts agree that you should never eat below 1,200 calories. If you don’t eat enough your body will slow down its metabolism which will actually prevent weight loss. Of course, the amount of calories you need depends on many factors such as your activity level, age, current weight and sex. To safely determine how much you need to cut your calorie intake you should talk to your doctor.
If you are limiting how much you eat then what you eat becomes even more important. You need to eat as healthy as you can. But don’t cut out junk food entirely. Sure, there are some “health nuts” out there that never eat anything bad, and that is great. But most of us have grown up eating junk food and if we cut it out of our diet entirely then eventually we’ll end up binging on it. I have been eating more fruits and vegetables and not only have I lost weight, I have much more energy as well. But I still eat cookies and pizza occasionally. If I didn’t I would get burnt out on dieting very quickly.
I have not reached my goal weight yet. As of right now I am 175 pounds. My goal is to get down to 140 pounds. One of the most important things I’ve learned about losing weight is to keep it simple. You don’t need a big, complicated plan to make it work. Just watch your calories and eat healthier and the weight will simply come off. It won’t come off all at once and some months you will lose more than you do in other months, but it WILL come off.