My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned along the way. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

Archive for the ‘encouragement’ Category

How does your day start?

cat-1584543_640I know not everyone is a morning person, but I wanted to share a few ideas to make your mornings get off to a great start. For the non-morning people, maybe they will make morning bearable.

Morning Routines that will Rock Your Happiness

We live in a crazy busy world where the modern person is stretched too thin, particularly those who juggle family, kids and work. Between taking care of the family and achieving a fulfilling career, people run the risk of not getting enough sleep, exercise, proper nutrition or even a satisfying sex life. Lacking in nutrition in each of these areas can lead to health and psychological issues, such as malnutrition, fatigue, poor body image and stress. In the long run, it’s a recipe for becoming increasingly dissatisfied with life resulting in unhappiness.

More often than not, it is the day-to-day that bogs us down, and to master the daily, it is important to get a good start in the morning. Research shows that morning routines and habits (even quick ones) are beneficial to the mind as it shifts focus to matters that require immediate attention. Here are some morning habits that have proven to not only increase happiness levels, but long term positive health too!

Prayer

I am a man of faith and not ashamed to be so, therefore prayer is part of my daily routine as much as possible. You may not be a person of faith, and that’s OK. I have a little something for everyone today.  I remember reading something once called the morning prayer that went something like this…

Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossipped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.

I’m really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.

It is a good idea, especially if we have a busy day ahead, to start with some a simple prayer. Just a “Hi Lord. It’s going to be a busy day. I am so glad you will be there with me. Please remind me of that now and then. Thank you”

Meditation

Meditation helps to reduce stress responses in the body. Multiple studies have shown girl-2176513_640that meditation leads to lowered blood cortisol levels. Cortisol is commonly known as the stress hormone, as it is released during periods of stress and low blood sugar. Sustained high cortisol levels in the body has detrimental effects on the immune system , which can lead to poor general health with the risk of disease.

While meditation is known to be practised among monks and yogis, meditation is not a daunting practice; anyone can learn to meditate. The core to meditation is to be comfortable, but not too comfortable that you fall asleep. Meditation can be done in any room of your home, and you can start with a short session of around 5 minutes in length each morning. They key is to calm the mind in preparation for the day.

While meditating you should always maintain a good posture, regular breathing, and awareness of your body and the space in order to start to clear the mind and come to terms with yourself. For beginners, you may consider joining a guided meditation session to learn the basics and get you started.

Yoga

yoga-241609_640Many people choose to do yoga in the morning as a stretching routine to prepare the body and mind for the day ahead. Yoga goes hand-in-hand with meditation, so you might want to consider taking up both by adding in a 5 minute meditation after your stretching session.

There are many forms of yoga that can be performed in the morning, ranging from yin yoga that focuses on deep stretching, to more vigorous and aerobic vinyasayoga that goes through a set of poses in quick succession. Yoga overall helps to increase flexibility and strength of the body.

If doing a formal yoga session isn’t your thing, then simply spend 5-10 minutes in the morning stretching your body in a way that feels right for you.

Exercise

couple walkingWe all know we need to exercise, but did you know that getting exercise done in the morning can boost blood circulation and respiration rate to help jump start the day on a positive note?It’s been noted on many research studies that consistent morning exercise aids in getting better quality sleep at night.

You could start with 20 minutes of walking or conditioning workouts in your own home to save time. There are plenty of fast and effective workout videos on YouTube you could get started on to kick start your morning exercise routine.

Breakfast

cereal-898073_640I have written on the importance of breakfast many times. Breakfast is necessary to refuel the body after an overnight fast, and gives you energy for the first half of the day for your daily pursuits.

Having a healthy, protein-rich breakfast will keep you fuller for longer compared to carbohydrate-heavy food like breads and pastries. Consider this: every meal in a day is an opportunity to introduce essential nutrients to the body, and if you are able to get you’re a large portion of your vitamin and mineral requirements sorted out at the beginning of the day, why not? You’ll be able to face the day brighter and happier and on a more positive note.

A balanced breakfast could be a good whole grain cereal with milk and a sliced banana or a boiled egg with fruits and vegetables or wholemeal avocado toast with a pot of Greek Yogurt. For those who cannot work up an appetite in the morning, a quick protein smoothie could be better for you. 

Establishing a morning routine doesn’t need to be complicated or intense. The key is incorporating activities one at a time, and to aim for consistency. Soon enough, seeing the positive effects of these routines on the physical and mental well being will be motivation to keep at them, and eventually turn them into lifelong habits.

What morning routine are you going to start with tomorrow?

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

Celebrating moments along the way

balls-1786430_1280Today I want to talk about celebration moments. Not the ones where we stuff our faces with food. Not the ones where we over indulge in drinking. I am talking about enjoying or celebrating our successes along the way. This is a weight loss journey. You can not just celebrate when you get to your goal. You have to celebrate along the way.

I have said this to you before but the scale is not and can not be the only measurement of success on you weight loss journey. It is just one tool in the toolbox to utilize on the journey.

There are other benchmarks like how do your clothes fit, are your measurements going down, do you have more energy etc. You have to learn to look at the bigger picture.

I just had one of those celebration moments and I wanted to share it with you to show you how you have to celebrate all the successful moments.

I was getting dressed one morning recently, and I pulled a pair of jeans out of my dresser. I had bought these recently as a lot of my pants had been getting too big. Well, I put them on and after I did up the belt, I noticed they were baggy and the top looked like a sack of spuds bunched up.

“Great,” I thought “I must have put on a pair of my old ones.” I checked but no – this was a different pair I bought recently. These were what I called my next step jeans. These would be the next level down. These were size 40. My 42’s were now way too big.

You have to understand that the significance here is that I haven’t worn a size 40 since high school. I realized I have come down from a size 56 waist at my highest to a 40. I was so happy I almost cried, but didn’t want to lose my man card. (Just kidding. There were a few tears shed)horizontal-162952_1280

I am not sharing to brag (ok maybe a little) but it is to let you know it is not all about the  scale. We get too hung up on THAT ONE TOOL like it is the only measure of success.

Besides looking back at changes in how my body looks or what it’s numbers are, I look back at how far I have come in terms of what I can do now that I couldn’t do then. I look at the energy level I have and the excitement I have when I hit a new milestone.

I am also thrilled that so many people I have met online tell me that I encourage them. That’s why I took the Weight Management Specialist course – to be able to help people better.

I try to encourage clients to look at ALL their successes along the way.

What are your benchmarks? How do you gauge for success? When was the last time you gave yourself an attaboy? I am not saying to go around bragging. I am just saying you have to take the time to acknowledge your successes.

I like to walk, but I am not one who can walk on a track. I have to have a destination. When my wife and I go for a walk, we will often go to a local 7-11 about 3 or 4 blocks away.(Don’t judge me) It used to be a struggle to do that and required several rest stops along the way.

Now we enjoy the walk and it is not a problem. That’s a measure of success.

Every once in a rare while we will order pizza. There was a time when I could eat a large pizza by myself. Now I eat 2 or on occasion 3 slices. That’s a measure of success.

You go into a clothing store and the sizes you used to buy are now way too big for you. That’s a measure of success.

Do you bypass the big buffets when you eat out, or order more carefully from the menu? That’s a measure of success.

It is important to have a network of people who support and encourage you but don’t forget to encourage yourself.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day.

 

 

 

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

turkey-trotAs I write this, it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. First let me say I am sorry I have not posted in a while. I have had some health issues and with some other stuff going on, time got away on me, but I am back.

Back to Thanksgiving, I have 2 things I want to talk about today. The first is to ask you a question. What are you thankful for? I have a very long list of things I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for my wife, my kids and their spouses, my grand kids, as well as my friends around the world.fat

I am thankful I found TOPS and the friends I have made through TOPS. I am thankful I am not “that guy” anymore, and I am especially thankful how good I feel now and the progress I have made.

I am thankful that there are folks out there who read this blog (hey – that’s you!) and that I am able to help people on their own weight loss journey.

Wearing my other hat, I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to make people laugh for a living.

Some of you may be uncomfortable with this, but I am thankful for my church, my relationship with Jesus Christ and the freedom I have to worship Him where I want and how I want, because people in many parts of the world don’t have that.

What are you thankful for? It is so easy to find things to find fault with (Sadly I still struggle with that on a daily basis) but not so easy to be thankful. There is an old hymn that says Count Your Blessings. Here is the chorus

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Whatever your thoughts (or lack of) regarding God, just count your blessing and you will see they far outweigh the bad stuff.

If we get into that habit, it becomes easier to see the good things going on in our lives.

stuffedOn to my second topic today. Read the title of this post again.

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

Not only is it Thanksgiving here in Canada, but this also signifies the start of stuff your face season.

There is Thanksgiving (here now and November for my American friends), then Halloween and all that candy, then comes Christmas with all it’s goodies, banquets and parties. We finish up the year (and start it) with New Year’s celebration.

It’s the time of year for excess. Does anyone really need a deep fried turkey? For Thanksgiving dinner, do you need mashed potatoes AND yams AND sweet potatoes AND dinner rolls?

Do you need to try every single baked goody that is brought to the party?

Am I saying not to partake? No I am saying use some restraint. Some people at this time of year seem to be trying to set a record of how much they eat, right down to the tablecloth.

At this time of year, I will even go back to my portion plate if I think I am getting off track. The big secret I have learned is to have a little of most things. Prioritize! What goodies do you really like? Which ones are you kind of “meh” about? Have a little of the things you really like, and leave the “meh” items. Allow yourself SMALL indulgences.portion-control-plate

Remember I mentioned the portion plate I mentioned? These are great. They visually reinforce the idea  that your plate should be 50% vegetables, 25% starch like bread OR potatoes, and 25% protein (meat or meat substitutes).

These plates are available online from a number of sources. I use one because it really helps me. If you can do this mentally, keeping the 50/25/25 idea, good on ya (As my Australian friends would say)

Seasonal parties are a minefield of temptation. You go to the office party or a party at a friends house and it is really easy to throw self-control right out the window.

Here’s a tip for you. Look over the whole buffet before you eat ANYTHING. Pick some carefully chosen items. Load up on your veggies. Skip the dip or at least use a minimum of dips.

Don’t hang out near the buffet table. It is too easy to graze standing there, and what animals are knowing for grazing? Here’s a hint…Moooooooo.

food-pusherI have another tips for you. Watch out for the food pushers. You know, the people who say “Oh it’s a holiday. Go ahead. Go ahead. Have some more.” They will try to convince you Aunt Martha will be crushed if you don’t eat her fudge, or that you personally will be responsible for tons of food wastage. And don’t fall for the starving children in “wherever” line. That was my mom’s favourite.

There is a small phrase that could save your waist line and possible your life. That phrase is “No thank you”. You don’t have to make a big deal about it but when the potatoes come around for the third time, or that big plate of Aunt Martha’s fudge, just say No Thank You and pass it along.

I assume you are all grown ups. That means you are no longer obliged to clean your plate, and please don’t pass that obligation down to the children.

Let children take small amounts. They can always go back for more if they are still hungry.

So those are my two topics for today – take the time to learn to be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day, and two, you can survive the coming food season.

I want to leave you will a little something to make you smile. Click on this link for a really cute song by a DJ named Bob Rivers and another guy you might recognize. In the meantime, have a healthy and happy holiday season!

 

Focus.

focusWhy is it so hard to maintain focus? There are a few reasons. I will tell you up front that this is going to be a personal blog post because lately I have been very unfocused in a number of areas and I got thinking about WHY?

Lately I have been unfocused about my weight loss, my food plan, my exercise, this blog, and a few other things.

I will try to give you a few reasons I think I have been unfocused, and maybe you can relate. Together we might even find some answers and steps to refocus.

First, I suffer from a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder. At this time of year in the area I live, it is very dark and grey for days on end. Loads of rain and gloom. SAD makes you feel tired all the time. If it gets bad enough, some people have to use what is called light therapy- sitting under special lights to make up for the lack of sunlight, and the resulting lack of vitamin D.

Because of my lack of energy, I have only been getting out to the gym once a week instead of the 3 times I had planned to do. I have fallen behind on my food diary because I just didn’t feel like filling it out one day, and I would blink and a week had gone by.

I have started taking my vitamin D again and have been feeling a bit better. I am not a doctor and not saying this is what you should do. Always check with your doctor first.

The sun is coming back slowly but surely, and the days are getting longer and that is helping too.

Secondly I have to admit to a tendency towards being lazy. I can drift off my plans and just need to pull myself back on track. This is why I have always been bad at journalling.

Thirdly, like so many, I can become discouraged at a lack of results. I should know better. I should know that this takes time, but it is especially hard when you hit a plateau. That discouragement at a lack of results becomes a slippery slope, but I have a good support network. My wife pointed out to me how I had gone off track with my food plan, and has been helping me get back on track.

I have to confess something now that is kind of difficult. I have been discouraged by the results of my blog. I know there are a few folks following me, but I just can’t seem to grow this blog and I have even been thinking “What’s the point if no one is reading. Maybe no one cares.”

That same feeling has been creeping into my efforts at becoming a motivational speaker. I have been thinking Maybe no one wants to hear what I have to say? Maybe people are still looking the quick fix, and that’s not what I offer.

My work as an entertainer has dropped off as well, though as I speak to other performers they tell me the economy is effecting them too.

This realization leads me to number four – plain old self pity. I have come to realize that a large part of my problem lately has been a good old fashioned pity party. Part of that is from focusing on others instead of myself, which is something else I should know is not the way to be.

So what is the solution?

First there are a few things I can do about the SAD. I am taking my vitamin D with my multi vitamin, I am back on track with eating more fruits and veggies and I am taking time to get relaxation as well as proper sleep.

Second thing is what do I do about leaning to the lazy side? It is up to me to pull it together. Part of that is setting a time every day to make sure I log my food. I set it in my calendar like an appointment.

Third I will stop focusing on others- at the gym, other bloggers and other performers. I will acknowledge my own accomplishments and achievements, and even start giving me non-food rewards. This is something I had done before but for some reason had stopped.

Number four is the hardest. I just have to tell myself (as you have to tell yourself) ENOUGH! Stop the pity party and get on with it.

So why have I written all this? One is to get it off my chest, if only for myself, but the other is that I hope by sharing some of these things about myself, that you may recognize them in yourself and start to refocus yourself.

Here is my plan to refocus. You can take from it what works, and leave what doesn’t work for you.

I need to refocus in three ways – first spiritually. For me that means more time in my Bible, and more time in prayer. Second – mentally. For me that means stop the pity party and as the jocks would say, get my head (and heart) back in the game. Thirdly – physically. For me this means to refocus on my food plan and on my physical plan.

It is never a bad thing to stop once in a while if we feel we need to regroup. It is not wrong to acknowledge what has gone right.

I am proud of my 190 pound loss and I know I will get to goal. I know that the closer I get to my goal the more challenging it becomes. I hope you will all be along for the ride because I plan to continue sharing.

I want to ask a huge favour. If you have ever gotten anything from my blog – a tip, an idea or even a chuckle or two, please tell others and get them to follow my blog. Not “like” when it posted to Facebook, but actually follow me.

Until next time, have a happy and healthy day!

refocus

News Year’s Resolution or New Year’s PLAN?

new years I have never liked the term New Year’s Resolution because to me it was always too vague and seemed doomed to failure even as they were being written.

Why do I think they are doomed to failure? It is simply because we make the resolutions like we make goals – too general and therefor too hard to measure our success, which often leads us to give them up.

I prefer to use the term New Year’s Plans. What’s the difference? The difference is specificity. A resolution is I want to lose weight. A plan is I will track my food and exercise and plan to lose 20 pounds by June.

It’s been said many times that goals should be SMART ; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. This is what makes the difference between a resolution and a plan.

I’d like to give you a few tips on how to make your New Year’s Resolutions into concrete New Year’s Plans.

  1. Once you have made specific plans, don’t keep it a secret. Tell everyone. Tell your friends and family, and (if you dare) put it out on social media.It is not that you want to nag you or keep track of you, it is is simply that you are hoping for their encouragement.
  2. Get Your Friends and Family Involved. Similar to tip one but more than just telling them your plans; recruit their help. If you are planning on going to the gym more, encourage one of them to go with you. If you plan to eat healthier, maybe take a cooking class with someone or share healthy recipes with them.
  3. Write everything down, and use other media like photos. Write down the plans, but also your progress (with photos if appropriate), how you are feeling, and even your challenges. I suck at writing things down (as you can tell from my sporadic postings) but one of my plans is to not only track my food but also my exercise by keeping a food/exercise journal. When it comes to food, we have a say in TOPS “If you bite it, write it.”
  4. Actually make a plan. Planning ahead will help you stay on track. Again, going to my plan of continued healthy eating and exercise, I have planned out a schedule of gym attendance. I have booked appointments with myself as it were. Days I am to be at the gym. Even planning what types of exercise to do on what days. I also want to try planning out my meals and especially my snacks (a weak area I must confess)
  5. Don’t quit. Did you know that generally speaking, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. The main reason people don’t achieve them is they simply give up. People moan “It’s too hard” or “I didn’t know it would be this hard”. Did you know the number one resolution people make is to get more exercise or lose weight. Did you also know that most people quit going to the gym within 6 weeks? Change is always hard. As my kids are fond of saying Suck it up, Princess.
  6. Keep the list short. Don’t make it too hard on yourself. As I said, change is hard so maybe just make one change at a time.
  7. Don’t think in absolutes. If you say “I am never having chocolate again” for example, you are setting yourself up for failure. I can almost guarantee you will have a piece of chocolate, and when you do you will go to the “I blew it” mindset. The rest of your plans will soon go by the wayside because you will think you can’t do this.
  8. Take advantage of mobile technology. There are tons of apps out there that can remind you to do the things on your plan. Set appointments on your calendar for the gym, check out places like the App Store for reminder apps. There is one called Healthy Habits. It is free but limited to tracking 3 habits (like drinking more water etc) but you can upgrade to track more.
  9. Find substitute activities. Do you watch too much TV and your plan is to watch less? Then plan a different activity. Maybe plan to read more this year. Find books you really want to read or re-read an old favourite.
  10. Lastly, reward yourself (no food rewards) for “good behaviour”. When you reach a certain milestone or goal, take yourself to a movie, buy a book or DVD, or some other reward that makes you happy.

In keeping with my own advice, I am going to share with you my New Year’s Plans.

  1. Go to the gym 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday ideally)
  2. Journal my workouts in a workout diary
  3. Journal my food in a food diary
  4. Lose another 20 pounds by my trip in July
  5. Take my certification course as a Weight Loss Specialist

That’s it. Short and sweet. Now, it doesn’t mean I can’t revise this list or add other things but this is a start.

When I get to July, and hopefully have achieved my 20 pound loss, I can plan my final loss to goal. I still have 35 pounds to my goal, and I want to be there by the end of 2016. By breaking it into chunks, it will be easier and less discouraging. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.start something

I know not all of you are on a weight loss journey, and you have to make your New Year’s Plans your own. Maybe it is learn a new language, or take a night school class, or even change jobs or careers.

Your list and your plans are yours. Don’t think you have to do all the usual things everyone else does.

Don’t think of it as resolutions. Think of it as an action plan.

I have something for you to add to your list. Please share this blog with others. Blogs live and die by their followers and I have a loyal group of followers but a very small group.

I think I have a lot to offer and a lot of people would enjoy it and benefit.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy New Year!

I did it and I didn’t die!

What was it I did? Well, as you know, I belong to a group for TOPS. For those who don’t. TOPS stands for Taking OffTOPS_logo Pounds Sensibly. It is a weight loss support group. Each year, they have a fundraising walk. It is a way for each chapter in a given area to raise money to carry on the work of their chapter.

Today we had ours. I have done these in the past. For those who know the area, we do the path around Como Lake, in Como Lake Park. It is a 1 km trail. Don’t laugh or judge. Doing 1km for a lot of overweight people is a huge accomplishment.

So what did I do differently? I ran (well I jogged) the 1 km. I had to take a couple of short walk-breaks but I kept going and ran the trail.

Why is this such a big deal? Well when I was – shall we say – a lot heavier, I tried running to catch a bus once and it was much like someone knocked my legs out from under me. I don’t if it was my knees or my hips, but something gave out and I did a full face plant.

I lived with the memory not only of the pain, but the embarrassment, for years and swore I would never run again. In my last blog post I talk about joining a gym, and when I have been doing my cardio, I had been doing short runs, and that’s when it hit me. I was still scared.

That’s when I decided it was time to give it a run. It was not easy. I was still scared of falling but the only way I knew I could do this was to just do it (to coin a phrase).

As I came full circle back to the starting point, I was sweaty, breathing heavily and my heart was pounding, but I was also very proud of myself. I also realized I didn’t fall down and embarrass myself, I didn’t have to be perfect, it was ok to walk when I need to do so, and best of all I DIDN’T DIE!

Then to show what a real masochist I am, I then went off to the gym.

I learn a lot when I go to the gym. I am a great people watcher and the gym is an interesting place to do that. For example I watched a guy today who had a very creative routine.

textingHe went to a machine, did 3 reps, then took out his phone and sent a text or checked his mail. He then moved to the next machine and repeated this new routine.

I know I am not a gym rat. I am not one of those guys who can bench press a Volkswagen, but come on…one set of 3 reps?

As I looked around the gym, I realized he was far from alone in this. I understand using music to motivate when working out, especially with cardio which I find deadly dull.

That being said, I was stunned to see how many people had their texting-in-the-gymphones with them during their workout. My thought was “Can you not even go for a one hour workout without checking your phone?”

I think the phrase that kept coming up in my mind was “FOCUS PEOPLE!”.

When I go to the gym, it is to workout. Not to socialize, not to text or call my friends. That can wait. I am focused on my workout and what I am trying to accomplish.

There is also the interesting trend of groups of people socializing on the gym floor or tying up machines and benches while they chat with friends.

The reason I am sharing these observations is that there is a need for focus in this journey. There are so many things that can take our focus away from our healthy lifestyle including our modern technology.

It is easy to get distracted by the mundane day to day of life and before you know it, we have fallen completely off the healthy path we have worked so hard to stay on. By focusing when doing my workouts, I have started to see progress, like setting the weights higher instead of lower from the last user. I am seeing clothes that I recently bought to replace clothes that were too big, are now also too big.

To paraphrase a popular commercial “Stay focus my friends”

To change channels for a second, I am going to ask a big favour from my readers. If you are a follower of this blog, thank you. The favour? Please spread the word. Blogs live and die by their followers. That is how we bloggers know you want us to continue.

follow meIf you are a casual reader who came here because I mentioned the blog on other social media, please click the follow button and join me on this journey.

Let me know what you would like to know about on my weight loss journey. What challenges are you facing? Maybe I have been there and could provide some ideas for you.

I thank you all for being with me on this journey.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

Things no one tells you about the weight loss journey.

  1. It is not easy.  I know this is a shock but the weight loss journey is not easy. How do we get the idea it is? By shows that show people losing hundreds of pounds in a matter of weeks or even a few months. We get the idea from TV pitches that say “Just take this pill and the weight will fall off” We get this idea from people flogging the latest diet book or diet shake or other “magic bullet”. The truth is that it is NOT easy but it is certainly worth it.
  2. There will be setbacks. You will have periods where the weight will fluctuate. You will even have periods where you just say “Forget all this” and you find yourself face down in a big bowl of ice-cream. It happens. I have been there. As soon as you realize you have fallen off the path, just get back on. Don’t use it as an excuse. Don’t say “Well, I made bad choices for that meal, so I guess it is all over”. Suck it up, acknowledge where you went wrong, and get back on the path.
  3. There will be plateaus. There will be times the scale seems to be stuck. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It could mean you are losing inches if not pounds. Remember, fat does NOT weigh more than muscle. A pound is a pound, but when you trade fat for muscle, that muscle takes up less space. It can also be that you body has adjusted to the food intake and exercise output. Maybe you need to shake things up a bit – either by tweaking your food plan or finding a different exercise plan. Remember it is not all about the numbers on the scale.
  4. You don’t have to do this alone. Most people are lucky enough to have family or friends to encourage them on this journey, but not everyone is so lucky. If you can’t find the support you need among family or friends, try looking to groups like TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) http://www.tops.org . There are lots of weight loss groups online – groups on Facebook etc but nothing beats being able to talk to real people in person which is where groups like TOPS come in. If you can’t find a group (or groups aren’t your thing) find a weight loss buddy. Find that accountability partner who you can meet with now and then and encourage each other. Don’t go it alone.
  5. There will be saboteurs.  This goes with number 4. I mentioned those people who do not support you. They are easy enough to avoid. If they don’t support you and go out of their way to hinder you, you just avoid them. The subtle saboteurs are the ones who aren’t blatant about it but sabotage in small ways. “Oh go ahead and have more.” “I made this especially for you” “You can’t be good all the time” and it can become more aggressive “You really think you’re special with your weight loss” “Well we aren’t all as perfect as you”. Recognize the saboteurs as you encounter them. Stick to your guns. I find for me I sometimes have to be firm, but I will simply say “No thank you. I have had enough” or “I’m good thanks”. I don’t even mention weight loss or diet. Just a polite but firm no thank you works. If they are really working at sabotaging your weight loss, you may need to go as far as to cut them out of your life.
  6. The mental battle is the toughest part. The greatest part of the weight loss battle is what goes on in our head. It is our relationship with food. When I coach people, I always say the biggest thing we have to get to is the why. Why do we over eat? Why do we make bad food choices? The big one to ask yourself is Am I really hungry? Am I really hungry or am I …fill in the blank – angry, bored, happy, frustrated, sad etc. For those of us (like myself) who deal with emotional eating, this can be the hardest part and the easiest pit to fall in. Being honest with ourselves in asking these questions will go a long way. But now I have some good things that people don’t know are part of the weight loss journey.
  7. You are going to feel better. I remember how I used to drag myself out of bed in the morning, or how I would be just plain old tired all the time. No wonder. My body had to work so hard just to do ANYTHING. As the weigh came off, my energy level got better day by day. I wake up most days feeling great and ready to tackle my day. Most of the time if I am sore when I get up, it is from exercising so it is a good sore. You will feel better, you will have energy and you will want to do things.
  8. You are going to look better. I am by no means an underwear model, but I look at photos now, and I can honestly say I have made progress and look pretty good. I avoided cameras for years because I hated how I looked, but now I am getting used to how I look now. I am trying to evict that mental image I have had stuck in my head for years.
  9. You will make new discoveries every day. I have discovered new foods, new cooking methods, new exercises and great new people all along this journey.
  10. You will discover you can do this. This will be the biggest shock, but you will learn something that some people will not have told you. You can and will do this. You will find an inner strength that no one told you you had – including yourself.

I hope you have found a little encouragement in these items, and realize you can do this.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day.