"Real Weight Loss for Real People" by Mary Allen

Many people struggle with weight loss, it can be overwhelming and confusing.   Yet, dozens are losing weight in a variety of healthy ways.  What makes the difference between success or failure when it comes to weight loss?  Let’s take a closer look.

Recently, I’ve crossed paths with several people who

have done it. They’ve lost 11, 30, 41, 48 and 108 pounds in the last few months or year.  That’s inspiring.  About one third of the participants in my yearlong Success and Inner Peace Bootcamps are committed to losing weight and thus far, I’m seeing the pounds shedding…10 pounds here and there.  If they can do it, you can too.

While I am thoroughly compassionate with anyone who finds themselves with a few more pounds than they’d like,  I’m also here to rigorously support you in getting the results you want.  Each of the success stories I just mentioned faced a time when losing weight felt nearly impossible.  Yet, somehow they embraced the reality of their weight and embraced the simple strategies to take it off.  Once and for all.

Gaining Leverage…

As my friend and colleague Matthew Bennett would say, “The reality is losing weight isn’t a big mystery.”  It starts with a decision and resolve, and is coupled with a sound eating and exercise strategy.  In efforts to prove this point in Technicolor, my friend Matthew Bennett, wrote a book called Fat Matt, published this past Fall.  Last year, he purposely gained 36 pounds in six weeks — and documented EXACTLY how he did it. Then, he proceeded to lose it, sharing his simple four point strategy — 1) Eat healthy and balanced foods, 2) Opt for smaller portions,  3) Eat more frequently and, 4) Exercise regularly. Seems straightforward enough.

Fat Matt by Matthew Bennett

I love Matthew’s book because it is loaded full of inspiring statistics.  I’m a “reality” girl — and embracing the reality about the facts of weight gain and weight loss creates clarity and ease.  Did you know the average American gains 4 pounds per year?  Yikes!  This translates into .01 pound per day, or .33 pound per month.  Doesn’t seem like much, yet over time it’s easy to see how people slowly, but surely, gain weight.  I frequently talk about the Compounding Effect of Choice (click for article), and that little .33 pound a month translates to 40 pounds in just ten years!  Here’s what’s more startling:  “To achieve the feat of gaining 40 pounds in ten years, you simply have to consume a whopping 35 extra calories a day.  That’s equivalent of half a slice of bread, three Lifesavers, or two hefty French fries.”
(taken from Fat Matt)

If you love to be inspired by straightforward facts, or simply need an added kick-in-the-butt, buy Fat Matt. (only available through his website) His descriptions of actual meals eaten during his weight gain are hysterical, yet so many of us eat this way regularly.

Are you ready to lose it?

So, do you want to lose 25 pounds?  Or is it 10?  Or is it 50?  Each of the success stories I’ve mentioned integrate the following principles, not necessarily in order.  And, not always EVERY principle.  If you’re serious about achieving this goal, read on.

Tips for Releasing Weight

1.  Embrace Reality.  This is often the hardest step.  Admitting you’re not happy with the flab, or the extra 10, 25 or 50 pounds is the first step in embracing reality.  After the reality of your physical condition is recognized, the reality of health concerns associated with weight gain may add further leverage.  There is also the reality of caloric input and output.  If more goes in, than is burned in a day — that’s reality.  The next reality to embrace is that YOU CAN LOSE the weight, or tone those muscles.  You CAN reshape your body.  It’s doable.  Fat Matt is a great way to help you “embrace reality.”  Be honest.  Maybe you’re already there.

One of the participants in my Success and Inner Peace Bootcamp, Chaz Wendling, had a theme last year he called “Year of the Donkey.”  His goal, to ride a donkey down the Grand Canyon. Since there is a weight restriction of 200 pounds, that was his goal.  He lost 48 pounds — and just two weeks ago rode the donkey.  Chaz’s embraced the reality of his current situation, his desire to ride the donkey, and the reality of the focus that would be needed to meet this goal.

2.  Have a Clear Vision.  Knowing where you’re headed and setting a specific goal with a deadline is key.  Alice wanted to lose weight to be congruent with her newly published cookbook, prompting her 45 day juice fast and 30 pound loss.

Chaz Wendling summarizes:

“My Goal was to: Ride the Donkey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, spend the night at Phantom Ranch and ride out the next day. Forcing function: You have to weigh less than 200lbs to go on the donkey ride, hence my goal was to weigh 195.  This goal became galvanized when I paid for the trip in advance and booked my airfare.”

Your vision engages the senses and has emotional components.  What will your body look like in a year?  What will you be able to do in your new body?  How will you FEEL as others compliment you or as you try on a size or two smaller than normal?   What other emotions might you feel?  Excited.  Loving yourself.  Free.  Feel those emotions now.   Get associated with where you’re going.

3.  Have a clear strategy.  There are numerous programs that outline directive strategies that just plain work.  Chaz followed South Beach Diet.  Kristin used Weight Watchers.  Donna is using Body For Life.  Alice used a juice fast from www.fasting.com .  Tracy followed the Warrior Diet. A strategy should include:

Number of meals per day.  4-6 meals is typical.  That means eating every 2-3 hours.  This stimulates your metabolism, increasing the number of calories burned in a day.  Starving yourself doesn’t work.  Think of your body as a generator.  If you keep feeding it, it keeps burning calories.

Identify food options.  Knowing what you WILL and WON’T eat is essential.  The clearer you are, the easier it is.  Example:  No bread.   No potatoes.  No pasta.   Yes to Fish.  Yes to Vegetables.  Yes to Chicken.   You may also have limits per day, like Tracy did in her plan below: Two cups of coffee with two tablespoons of cream.  If you aren’t already familiar with fat, protein and carb content of many foods, get yourself educated with a book or website.  Knowing what you are putting into your body is also key.  It’s much easier to not eat a Double Whopper with Cheese from Burger King when you know it has 1060 calories and 69 grams of fat!!  Or how about a Krispy Kreme Chocolate Malted Crème Donut at 390 calories and 21 grams of fat.  www.foodfacts.com is one resource.  Sometimes a good food has more fat or carb grams than we realize.

Nothing tastes as good as feeling thin.

– Smaller portions.  Body for Life uses the rule of thumb of a “fistful of protein” and a “fistful of carbs” at every meal — and add a vegetable serving twice a day.   This makes sense.  And, it is plenty of food.  Being 100% present while eating helps you notice the moment when you’re full, and these “smaller” portions are filling.

Exercise Plan.  Number of workouts per week?  5-6 really makes a difference.  Cardio burns fat.  Lifting weight builds muscle (which burns more calories).  Bikram yoga is another one of my personal favorites.  Lots of options.  In Tracy’s situation below, she started with walking and only two 20 minute kettle ball workouts per week.  Whatever you do — do it consistently.  Learn to love your exercise, it’ll make it easier to do.

BONUS – Calories per Day.  I’m not a big one to count my calories, but this IS the biggest reality check.  If you are burning more calories than you’re taking in, you WILL lose weight.  One of my former clients had a device www.nutricounter.com that allowed him to track the calories, fat, carb and protein content of each meal, as he ate it.  It kept him honest.  Also a great tool to learn what is in food.  The numbers don’t lie.  Even if you don’t meticulously track calories, knowing what your ballpark is can be useful.

4.  Decide, Commit and Resolve.  Something happens the moment we truly commit from our soul.  When we’re sick and tired of the status quo.  When every ounce of your being gets behind a real decision…inspiration shows up, support shows up, and results show up.  Resolve means getting emotionally aligned with your goal 100%.  Not succeeding is no longer an option.  Commitment breeds action.

5.  Discipline is key. FOLLOW YOUR PLAN.  Years ago I followed the Body for Life program www.bodyforlife.com with great success.  I’ve also done a 10 Day Lemonade Fast (Master Cleanser).  I’ve come to LOVE a structured program for several reasons.  First, it simplifies my choices, and forces the good choices.  Secondly, I like cultivating the discipline for disciplines sake.  If I can be disciplined with food and/or exercise, how can I apply discipline in other areas of my life?  That’s power.  And, thirdly, when you’re doing a fast or structured program you can notice when you’re REALLY hungry versus the EMOTIONAL urge or need to eat out of frustration, boredom or just because it’s a chocolate chip cookie.  Distinguishing this sensation inside yourself is incredibly useful.

6.  Get over the hump and into the HABIT.   The second hardest part to releasing weight is GETTING STARTED and sticking with it long enough to become a habit – and get the result.  When I wanted to re-tone my arms and back, getting back into the gym wasn’t overly easy.  Ugh.  For 2 1/2 years, Bikram Yoga was it, no gym or weights.  But, when I wanted the definition in my back and arms,  I committed.

Believe me, I understand what it feels like to NOT want to workout.   To work through this hump, I had to get myself psyched up to go to the gym — the night before…mentally visualizing myself going, associating with how good I’ll feel all day AFTER the workout, and how good I’ll feel with five workouts for the week.  I visualize the results happening. I visualize to the point of being EXCITED jumping out of bed in the morning. Positive anticipation works for me.  Once the habit is formed, it becomes easier.

7.  Patience.  Remember The Compounding Effect of Choice?  It’s the little disciplines that don’t seem to make any difference in the moment, but the compounded effect makes all the differences.  The reality is — you stick with your program — and you’ll get the results.  Don’t assume you’ll see immediate results.  It can take 30-60 days of consistency to REALLY notice a difference.  After nearly TWO months, I ran into a friend who commented on my newly buffed arms.  I was surprised, “I’ve only been back in the gym for 8 weeks now…”  My compounded effect finally kicked back in!! Earlier than anticipated!

8.  Don’t let food be more powerful than you are.  Consciously choose the foods that support you out of a deep, genuine love for yourself.   Do you really HAVE to have the chocolate cake?  Do you really NEED that Coke or coffee?  Is saying no to a fat laden, carb-filled food out of your control?  Of course not.  The habits of thought with food can be overpowering when we’re not conscious of it.  Break the habits of thought.

In a past Soulfully Living issue, I mentioned giving up French fries for 365 days.  During a layover recently I ordered a burger from TGIFridays.  I didn’t realize it came with French fries.  Darn, they smelled delicious.  Yet, I had DECIDED “no French fries” this year.  I thought about trying one (TGIFridays have REALLY good ones!), but it’s much sweeter to go a whole year without deterring from the objective.  Makes a better story.  One French fry would’ve ruined it, don’t you agree?  I went to the line at the restaurant and finally found someone to accept my fresh, hot, delicious French fries.  Once you become powerful with ONE food, you can become ALL powerful with food.  It’s a mental game — and everyone who loses the big weight — can tell you they are clearly more powerful than food.  Anyone willing to give up French fries for the rest of the year with me?

Now let’s hear from Chaz who lost 48 pounds last year.

Chaz Wendling’s Tips
“The Year of the Donkey”
47 pounds

1.  Weightloss is nothing more than numbers  (calories out – calories in = weightloss).  This is why a diet alone will not get you there nor will exercise alone.  My goal was to burn 3500 calories a week , to lose 1 pound a week. (Matthew drives this point home, and outlines the numbers in his book.  Numbers don’t lie.  Just embrace the reality of the numbers, and add accurately.)

2. Focus on your destination when you work out.  Imagine yourself there.  What do you see?  Hear?  Taste?  Smell?  Get all of the senses involved in visualizing the end result.

3. Schedule your workouts and get them in the morning to increase success.   (I agree with Chaz, mornings increase the likelihood of success, and kickstarts your metabolism for the day).

4. Plan a head for peaks and valleys.  Decide what actions you will take when you fall off the horse or in my case the donkey.  I enlisted the help of several personal trainers, a dietitian, as well as friends and family.

5. Really want it and hold your goal tight. Others who may not have a goal will try to change yours to suit them and they mean well.  Just thank them for their advise, and stay the course. Have the resolve to reach your goal because the power lies within you to achieve it, don’t give it away to anyone (including your food).

6. Choose a plan.  The South Beach Diet was a momentum builder for me when I first got started.

7. Body Mass Index.  Weight alone is not the best measurement of healthy person. Get a Body Mass Index reading done every 2-3 months and track you progress (another great “reality check”).

8. Make the goal visible.  Put it on a huge poster board where you can see it everyday.

9. Use a heart rate monitor to stay in the fat burning zone during your workouts and to calculate calories.  It really doesn’t matter what activity you do.  The main thing is to get the heart rate in the fat burning zone for 30-60 minutes, 5-7 days a week.  (Another big one that I agree with.  Heart monitors are a phenomenal reality measurement tool.  You may be putting in the time on the exercise bike or walking, but it may not be enough.  Worse, is working out TOO hard, pushing you into an anaerobic state.  Also not good.)

10. Create a theme or a mantra for your transformation:   Mine was “Year Of The Donkey”.  Another friend of mine theme was “Year Of The Body.”  (Another powerful idea.  Another gal from the Bootcamp has “Lightness of Being” as a Theme.)

There are lots of ideas here to support you.  Decide what you really want, and go for it.  And, as always, feel free to share your success stories with us.

image source: http://bit.ly/gdAJw0

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