How long have you been on and off of diets and workout routines to lose a few pounds, but failed? I have to confess; I have done this too many times. Every few months I’ll get inspired by a particular 20 min exercise video I see on YouTube and I’ll desperately do it for a while, then stop when it doesn’t seem to be working.
Then I’ll resort to my usual routine of eating, sleep and repeat. I used to be this way until I practiced certain tricks; a unique combination I designed for myself. I have successfully lost 50 Pounds and in this article, I’ll be telling you how I did it.
Before going into the article, I want to tell you that this is not a Lose 10 pounds in 30 days story. It is never that way; it is unhealthy that way. Sudden weight loss can trigger alarming health problems. Here, we are looking at harmless methods to lose weight. It includes things you already know and things you don’t; what makes it special is that I’ve kept it as real as possible. Unrealistic goals can go to hell!
Step 1: Know Thyself
Know your own body, know its limits, its needs, and your cravings. Experiment a bit and find out more about your food and exercise habits. Find why you feel the need to quit; find what makes you less hungry, find the motivation that makes you want to keep going.
If you don’t do this, chances are so high that you’ll fall into the old loop of quitting and restarting all over again. Let’s get that over with. Every single person in this world has a unique body; with unique combinations of quirks, cravings, allergies, stamina, etc. Just like you need a map to explore a new place, you need to know your body before you begin to make changes to it.
Step 2: What’s Wrong?
Ask yourself this question; you already know the answers but think of them again. Think about what is wrong with your eating habits, your (non-existent) workout routine. To me, the major issue was my love for rice. If I could, I would eat rice for all three meals; and then I’ll go straight to sleep.
Another one of my drawbacks was the nap I took right after lunch, which would always leave me more tired and weary. Once I recognized my areas of conflict, I tried thinking about ways to resolve them. And since I can’t find the answer to every single obstacle, I will list some common areas to focus on in this article.
Step 4: Set Your Goals
It is important to have an idea about what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. Many people make the mistake of setting unrealistic goals and then obsessing over them. Take your time and do your research; I did. I read a lot of articles about different diet plans, exercise routines and I cross-referenced it with my goals and started reading specific articles only.
I made a plan about how I want to begin my weight loss journey and wrote it down. This made me feel like I was doing something important, like a scientific experiment or something, lol. But jokes aside, slowly progressing by gaining information and filtering it according to the knowledge you have about your body feels like a scientific approach, and let me tell you, it works!
Please don’t think that you’ll be able to transform your body to look like some model you saw on Instagram; those are unrealistic goals. The pictures you see on such platforms are presented to you only after hours of editing by professionals and are far from reality. Never compare your body with an edited picture you find online. Instead, learn to set yourself realistic goals. I began my journey with the trivial goal of following through thirty minutes of workout every day. Even though it may sound trivial, all of us know that it is easy to begin but hard to keep on doing it every day.
As I started with a small yet realistic goal, I felt like a winner when I accomplished the task. That was enough motivation to keep me going for the next few weeks. So, make your goals realistic and fit to suit your body and your needs.
Step 5: Diet Plan
This is where most people make mistakes; either they go overboard with the diet, or they don’t do it at all. To me, both are severe sins! If you go overboard with your diet and don’t give your body what it needs, you will fail to complete your daily tasks let alone do the workout routines. Diet works like a catalyst; all the working out would be doing things to your body already but with the help of a diet and its extra push, the results will appear quicker. And by quicker, I do not mean ‘flat tummy in 15 days’ or other clickbait titles. Like I said early, your target should always be realistic goals.
My second goal was to reduce my rice intake and you have to reduce whatever bad eating habit you are addicted to. I did not try to sacrifice rice for a while; but instead, I tried to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet, leaving only a little space for rice.
That way, I still had rice but the meal became a lot healthier than usual. What happens when you cut your favorite food off completely? You will start to crave it and then you’ll end up eating twice the amount of what you used to. But by this new way of mine, I still had rice included in my meal. So, I did not feel a craving for rice but I still succeeded in reducing its intake. These kinds of tricks could go a long way on a fitness journey and these tricks, you will only formulate by listening to your body and observing your habits.
Step 6: No Counting Calories
Counting Calories before food intake is one of the oldest and most toxic habits of harmful diet culture. And this habit should be gotten rid of if you want to make your weight loss journey a pleasant experience. Counting Calories robs the joy of eating. To me, eating is always a wonderful process, just like listening to music.
I like to eat my food slowly, enjoying its visual appeal, odor, and taste. But when the food is analyzed in terms of the calories, the joy is lost. Suddenly, the tasty meal looks like a danger in disguise; like baggage that will slow you down. It will only make you tired of the measures you have taken and suddenly the whole thing will start to seem like a trap from which you want to escape, and that is what you will do.
Another set of your workout and diet plans will end just like that. Counting Calories is a big mistake you should avoid at any cost. You already know that fast food and sugary drinks come rich in calories; just try to avoid the most obvious heavy items such as oily and fried food items.
I tried to eat less fried food and more healthy meals. I also reduced my caffeine intake because that is where most of my sugar intake comes from. These were small measures that helped my weight loss journey without having to go through the painful process of counting calories.
Step 7: Illusions
I read online about an interesting study about how an optical illusion known as the Delboeuf illusion, where a person will inaccurately estimate the content of their plate and feel that they’ve had a full meal. But in reality, they had no more than what they usually have.
This is just a means of portion control which can be easily exercised if you choose the right plate. The same amount of food would look so little on a large plate and so full on a small plate. This illusion can help us in not eating more than a particular amount of food every day without the feeling of starving. Science does help us in mysterious ways! This method worked so well with me. I switched to a smaller plate and just went for full-plate meals. Visually the meal looked like a small mountain and the sight alone satisfied half my hunger; I’m thinking of getting rid of all the large plates now!!
Step 7: Outdoor Fun
I decided to make it a habit to play outdoor games every day, or at the very least, take long walks every day. This wouldn’t be counted as working out but will keep you physically active.
Face it; you’ll have fun and you’ll be working out! I’d play games like tag or hide and seek with my siblings and in a few rounds, it’ll turn really fun and competitive. Hours later we finish the game, return home with tonnes of inside jokes, and sweating like a pig. This could be easily my favorite part of this weight loss journey.
Step 9: Mindful Eating
I am an avid reader; I like to read all the time. From my childhood, I had this habit of reading books while I’m eating. As I grew up, books got replaced by TV and smartphone. In a nutshell, I’m always multi-tasking when I’m eating. That was a very bad habit. Since my attention is elsewhere while I’m eating, I do not know if I had enough food or not. The tv and phone keep me going and I always get seconds, maybe ‘thirds’ and ‘fourths’. My family would often ask me to stop doing this and concentrate just on eating.
As soon as I started doing that, I stopped getting seconds. I did not need seconds anymore because now I’m aware of when I’m full. This is called mindful eating and I used to do it at times. I used to be aware of what I am eating, focusing solely on that experience, of its taste. But technology invaded my mindfulness and now I claimed it back. Mindful eating is a great way to recognize excessive and unwanted food intake; use it wisely!
Not focusing on unrealistic goals has helped me immensely. I worked out and followed a diet because I wanted to be healthier and I did not focus on losing a particular amount of weight. Because if I did that, I know I would check my weight now and then, wonder why the weight loss isn’t quicker.
But over time I noticed that I was losing weight and my arms looked toned than before. That’s when I went ahead and checked my weight; I’ve lost 10 pounds in two months! It was a very big accomplishment to me and I kept going. Within the next ten months, I lost 50 pounds!!! When I kickstarted 2020, I did not know that this would be the year when I would finally stick to healthy habits. I lost fifty pounds in twelve months from May 2020 to June 2021.
I never thought that it’ll happen to be honest; as I began working out, I thought that I’ll quit it in a while. But this time, I was in it to win it. I wanted to lose weight for health reasons and I set realistic goals because I didn’t want to complicate my health even more by starving myself to lose weight in a really small window of time.
Even though the transition was slow, it was rewarding. I not only lost weight but gained more stamina. I could never do even a single push-up earlier, but now I can do 10 perfect ones, and I can do pull-ups. I want to master the dreaded ‘burpees’; I’m challenging myself to keep my body fit and healthy as I move into my mid-20s.
So, if you want to make a change, make it now. Because if not now, when? I have provided you with the best and real tips ever; now all you need to do is start working. I wish you all the best!