Losing those 20 pounds that have crept up over the last 10 years in a way that gets you back into that bikini you wore on your honeymoon isn’t something that just happens. Your second honeymoon is fast approaching, and those two pieces of strawberry red fabric are the key to reliving waves around your ankles and the rough palm of your new husband’s hand holding yours. So how do you get from the one piece mom suit to the bikini? Be intentional about your weight loss.
Intentional weight loss isn’t something that just comes in a bottle or a smoothie. There is a lot of tracking and awareness of how many McDonald’s fries are creeping into your food choices. There is so much water you feel like you could float across the Atlantic to England. There is also the scale. It sits on your bathroom floor staring at you like that furnace in Home Alone. You can feel the tension in the air as it invites you to step on. You put one foot in front of the other on the cool glass, stand up straight, and stare right at the towel rack, trying not to breathe. You stand for what feels like half your morning before you here that beep. “Beep, beep,” it says. “Let me show you the number,” it says. You take a deep breath before looking between your feet at the glowing red numbers.
What the number is, be it higher or lower than last time, is the tool you need to lose that baby weight we never seem to have time to banish in the midst of changing dirty diapers, packing lunches, looking for lost shoes, and realizing you only have one sock on yourself as you usher kids out the door. The number itself isn’t relevant. It is the change in the number from one day to the next that matters. If the scale goes up, it shows that stop at Baskin Robbins last night. If it goes down, it validates the zoodles you ate with your pasta sauce while everyone else is eating pasta. It’s the small successes or indulgences every day that add up to long term sustainable weight loss. Here are the best ways to be intentional with your weight loss.
Write it down!
Numero Uno will always be tracking. It’s similar to the charting I do as a nurse. If you don’t chart it, it didn’t happen in the medical world. In eating, it did happen, and it added to your daily energy intake (i.e. calorie consumption), but you may not remember it, so it is a silent weight that is holding you back.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat that biscotti you got with your morning coffee. Just record it. Change can’t happen if you don’t see the strong and the weak points in your day, and tracking it is the only way to see that.
Use the Scale
The scale is your second form of intentionality. We talked about it a little bit above, but its a really important tool for intentionality. You can track until you are so tired of calories and that darn notebook and that one pen that seems the only one you can ever find, but if you don’t have a way to measure what’s working and what isn’t, it doesn’t do a lot of good.
Now, you are standing in front of your scale, shivering in your undies, wondering how much this piece of metal and plastic and glass is going to invade your life. It’s up to you. So many people have their opinions, but I find I get the most use out of weighing myself daily. It sets the tone for my day. If you are more comfortable with weekly, go for it. See what works for you and your life. This is a tool, not a prison term.
Water, Water, and More Water
Every weight loss resource you have ever read has harped on drinking water, am I right? So here I am, harping on it too. Know why? Because it works. Water intake effects every system we have, and best yet, it helps shed pounds. Our bodies are super amazing at holding on to resources in case the BIG FAMINE hits the world. To get it to release its death grip on water weight, you have to talk it out of the famine mentality. Water goes a long way in that direction. It tells your body “hey, I’m here now.” Let go of that old stuff and let me in!” Your body will sigh in relief and the water retention that has been hanging out and vexing your scale will begin to receed.
Food and the BIG FAMINE
Water isnt the only thing your body hangs on to. Fat cells are the favorite target of the reptile part of your brain. To convince it to shrink that cellulite on our butts, we have to eat. Good food in decent proportions is the “no famine here” sign you need. If you don’t consume enough calories, your body won’t give up any weight.
You probably know all of this, but the other side of the sign is less well known. Fast food will not prevent the
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
The thing about life is it has a way of messing up your plans. The minute you think you have given up fast food forever, you are running late for soccer practice, the two year old is screaming because he thinks he is starving, and that drive thru is the quickest option. You get a burger because who can eat a salad and drive? It’s okay. Not every day will be amazing. Love yourself anyway. Accept that it happened and move on. Yes, it might end up showing up as a pound or two on the scale, but unless you are eating that every meal, one fast food stop won’t ruin all your progress. The next morning, make your oatmeal with fruit and keep heading where you want to go.
Intentional weight loss is such a work in progress. Every day will bring new challenges and new opportunities. Pre-game your meals and try to avoid the pitfalls, but understand it will never be perfect. That’s okay. If you focus on perfection, you will fall short. That’s life. Aim for doing your best and then doing everything you can to be your best self, and you will make it where you want to go faster than you thought you could.