Over the eight weeks of the Fat to Fit Weight Loss Challenge, community members shared advice and offered support to one another as they worked toward their individual weight-loss goals. Here's some of their wisdom about how to stay motivated, commit to regular exercise and find comfort that doesn't involve food. The Challenge is over, but you can still join the community and share your own tips with the group.
1. Take Control
Mjule: I find it easier to stay motivated and follow through with positive choices for food or exercise by reminding myself that I am the one in charge of me — not food, not other people, just me! If food beckons, I take note of why and tell myself that "French fries are not leaving the planet" or "chocolate chip cookies will be available the next day" and so on. At times, I have placed a dollar in a jar every time I win one of those mental battles.
2. Discover the Athlete Within
Ab123: Treat yourself as an athlete getting fit — not just a fat person with a lot of weight to lose. Although it has taken me a long time, I actually see myself as an athlete in training for the rest of my life.
3. Stay Motivated
Sheilamcn: "Getting started again" is something I expect to do for the rest of my life. Illnesses, surgeries, extended vacations — whatever shows up in life that slows me down as I move toward my 'optimal health' weight — are situations that have to be recovered from and addressed if I am to make my healthy lifestyle my normal lifestyle.
4. Find Other Sources of Comfort
Barb42048: I am definitely a food addict. It has provided comfort for me for years, and it has wreaked havoc with my health for years. I find a replacement for food when I feel the urge to grab a bite. I journal, take a walk, read, or grab a coloring book and crayons and color with my granddaughter. Whatever it takes.
5. Manage Your Appetite
QuilterinVA: Here's the acid test to distinguish between true hunger and mind hunger. Ask yourself what vegetables you want to eat. If you don't want vegetables, it's mind hunger. I keep a pretty jar with slips of activities that I enjoy doing, such as reading a book, watching a movie, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, quilting and so on. When I want to eat at inappropriate times I take an activity slip and do what is on it.
6. Take One Day At a Time
W00drose: It can be scary to look at the big picture (losing 100 pounds) and the possible health hazards of not doing so — not to mention the challenge of having to change the bad habits that got us in this place to begin with. But I try to fall back on the "one day at a time" way of thinking as best I can. (So far I have lost at least 10 pounds.) Yesterday I went out to lunch and splurged. But in my eating journal at the end of the day I wrote "Tomorrow is another day."
7. Change Bad Habits
Beknorr: I have found that I can't keep junk food in the house. I allow myself to buy only what is good for me. I limit treats for when I am visiting or out for the evening. I'm not on a diet but instead changing my lifelong eating habits.
8. Plan, Plan, Plan
Kathyldse: If I can plan, then I have a good day. My stress and energy level can make me snack crazy, so I also have to plan for healthy snacks. In addition, writing in my journal reinforces my sense of accomplishment, particularly if I also exercise.
9. Get Spiritual
Eliza03: I have a really good replacement for eating: I pray. Instead of feeding my face with more food, I pray out loud, and it takes up my time.
10. Make Exercise Intergenerational
Kimmcgrew: Believe it or not, my kids and grandkids motivate me. Not only do they encourage me, but they exercise with me. We have started Zumba for the Wii and Just Dance for the Wii. It makes exercise fun. It's not boring. It's not something I dread.