Brenda Johnston says she started out her life as a skinny kid but having spent many of her adult years chained to a desk and consuming refined foods and sugary drinks, she wasn't a skinny adult. By 2006, Johnston says she weighed 315 pounds and was saddled with a case of serious denial. Sound familiar?
She says, "I spent a lot of money trying diet after diet over a period of about 10 years. At that time, if you told me that standing on my head and barking like a dog would help me lose weight, I would have tried it." Again, sound familiar?
Finally, at 35, she decided that enough was enough. Not only did she know it was time
to lose weight, she was ready and willing to do it the right way. She says, "I hired a personal trainer, started working out, and changed the way I ate. It took me about three years to lose 145 pounds. I struggled throughout the process, but finally learned how to start making better choices."
But it wasn't always sunshine and roses. While she looked good on the outside, Johnston was struggling on the inside. Her 17 year relationship was falling apart and she struggled to hold herself together. Johnston says, "I had become a certified personal trainer and people looked up to me. I was teaching people how to lead healthy lives, but behind closed doors I spent the good part of the next eight months looking for the answers to life in the bottom of a vodka bottle and multiple bags of M&M's. I felt like a fraud and I knew that there were people just waiting for me to fall apart and gain it all back."
But despite all of this, she says she managed to beat back the darkness and maintain her weight loss by focusing on the rules that got her to her weight loss goal in the first place. Whether you are starting the journey or trying to maintain your losses, these 5 tips can help you stay focused, no matter the chaos that may surround you.
1. Get over your need for instant gratification.
The weight didn't go on overnight, it won't come off that way either. Johnston says, "Trust the process and accept that you will likely have some setbacks, and when they happen you should actually celebrate them! It means you’re making progress."
2. Remember that you are not defined by a number.
"Trust me when I say the best way to lose weight is actually NOT to keep jumping on the scale. As a society, we have an obsession with numbers, we let them define us. The numbers on a scale, on pant sizes, the calories we 'can’t' have," says Johnston. Placing too much importance in numbers will only stress you out and as Johnston notes, stress is not good for weight loss!
3. Surround yourself with the right people.
Include people in your life that understand what you are trying to do. You may lose friends but you have to be strong enough to walk away from people that drag you down. Johnston, for example, had an active social life. She'd spend her weekends partying, boozing and eating terrible foods. Once she started to make better choices, she found she didn't have much in common with those friends and she didn't really enjoy spending time with them. She says, "I started making friends at my work gym and realized that I had a lot more in common with people that were driven and had goals. I had become a more goal-oriented person and so those were the types of people coming into my life."
4. Don't beat yourself up.
The next time you find yourself engaged in negative self-talk, ask, "would I speak this way to another person?" Odds are pretty good that your answer will be no. If it is not acceptable to heap that negativity on someone else, it shouldn't be acceptable to heap it on yourself.
5. Make friends with (real) food.
Whether we know it our not, most of us are in a dysfunctional relationship with food. We define foods as "good" or "bad" and get ourselves spun around if we slip up. Johnston says, "recognize that food is your fuel. The better quality fuel you put in you, the better your body is going to function. But let’s say it’s one of those 'OMG I need a cookie' days. Great! Eat the cookie, enjoy the cookie and then move on. Don’t beat yourself up over the cookie, it's not worth it."
Very valuable tips and advice!
Which of these tips hits home for you?