10 Lessons Learned From Losing Weight


This is the 3rd time in my life that I’ve lost over 10% of my body weight.  I’ve tried it with all exercise.  I’ve tried it with all diet changes.  And, this time, I think I’ve gotten smarter and am doing it with a combination of both thanks to technology which is helping me to track calories in and out.  I try to work towards a 500 calorie deficit every day.

With that in mind, here’s a few lessons learned.

  1. It doesn’t ever really get easier, but it can become a habit (e.g., running) and the norm (e.g., eating better).  It’s a lifestyle not an event.
  2. You eat more calories than you think.  It’s all about Eat This Not That.  (e.g., the blueberry bagel I ate the other day had more calories than a Dunkin Donuts donut.)  A lot of this happens with bread and rolls and to share a quote I heard the other day – “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.”
  3. Food is tied up in all our holidays and celebrations.  (e.g., celebrating with cake and ice cream, neighborhood BBQ, holiday dinner)  You need to learn to take part in these and then burn some extra calories or enjoy in moderation.  You will be very frustrated if everything is about denial and not having access to these foods.  As I heard a clinician address this question earlier this week, it’s better to be good 360 days a year than to feel like you’ve failed when you participate in these holiday events.
  4. Losing weight isn’t just about food and exercise…it’s mental about your attitude.  (e.g., do you stress eat and what will you do in the future?)
  5. It’s worth it, but it’s hard work.  I look back at my time doing the Insanity workout and their advertisements.  I think they make the point that you have to work hard to get results.  (and it’s one of the hardest workouts that I’ve ever tried…and couldn’t finish.)
  6. You can’t change if everyone around you isn’t changing.  Weight is tied into your social circle as many examples have shown.
  7. It takes a while for people to recognize your weight loss so keep yourself motivated with an end goal.  And, make sure to set reasonable goals (e.g., 1-2 lbs a week).  Unless you’re on the Biggest Loser and can work out 3 hours+ a day with a controlled diet, you’re not necessarily going to make huge drops each week.
  8. Technology can help whether it’s BodyMedia, FitBit, Nike Fuel, or one of the many other solutions that are out there.  I’d also add both the idea of a device with a tool for tracking calories (food diary).
  9. Weight loss is tied in with sleep so make sure you get your sleep on a regular basis or you’ll mess up all your efforts.
  10. Travel with healthy snacks since you’ll end up somewhere hungry and be stuck going to fast food or grabbing the candy bar if you don’t have something with you.



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