Here on The Stir, I talk often about health and fitness. I've told you all about my 70-pound weight loss and got personal when I put some of the weight back on a few months back. I've dished about my running tips for newbies and have tackled some wacky workouts (stilettos, anyone?). With that said, I have a soft spot for people who ask me for workout and diet advice. Not because I'm some registered dietitian (I'm not), but because I've been there.
Yesterday I was talking with a friend who told me she's just starting a weight loss journey of her own, and it made me nostalgic. I remember feeling trapped in my own overweight body. I remember how jealous I was that so many of my friends swapped clothes while I was stuck in my size 16 jeans. I remember how HARD it was to skip over French fries (FYI: that doesn't get easier after weight loss).
With all this said, I had some advice for her. Thus I present you with the 5 things I wish someone told me before I began my weight loss journey.
1. You need to make smaller goals. If you don't, your ultimate goal will feel unobtainable. Like I mentioned, I dropped 70 pounds. That's a lot to visualize when you're still walking around carrying that weight. I made an effort to set smaller goals for myself, and reward myself when I obtained them. When I lost a chunk of my weight, I was on Weight Watchers, and I made sure that every time I hit a body weight percentage milestone, I rewarded myself with a manicure and pedicure.
2. There are leggings that prevent that chaffing thing down there: How I never knew these existed until AFTER I trained for my first two half marathons astounds me. Buy yourself a pair of GREAT workout pants. Screw it, buy three pairs. If you need suggestions, you can look at our workout bottom roundup.
3. If you cut things out entirely, you'll regret it: I guess some people can do this. I could not, and that's why Weight Watchers worked so well for me. I needed to be able to have that occasional piece of chocolate, that latte on a cold winter afternoon. Those sweet indulgences every once in a while made me feel normal, they made me happy, and they didn't stop my progress.
4. Exercise doesn't have to suck: I used to go to the gym back in college and dread that 45-minute chunk of time on the elliptical. I was convinced, though, that if I didn't do it, I wouldn't lose weight. Newsflash: there are a bazillion different ways to get active. Don't waste your time doing one that makes you unhappy. My best tip? Try getting in the pool if high-intensity workouts hurt your joints to reduce tension. It's a good way to ease in to being active for someone who hasn't exactly been a star athlete.
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5. Just because you're dieting doesn't mean you have to put your social life on pause: I get it. Going out with your friends is a massive temptation, and if you're dieting, you're probably worried about overeating or drinking too much. Just because you want to lose weight doesn't mean that you have to hide tucked away in your room, though. Be easy on yourself. If you're someone who feels awkward without a drink in your hand at a bar or dinner party, grab a seltzer. Want it to look like an alcoholic drink? Throw in a splash of cranberry juice or a lime. Socialize, have fun, and don't let your weight loss stop you from living your life.
Do you have any tips for someone starting a long-term diet?