This post is by OYS writer Alexis from Trading Cardio for Cosmos. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram sharing her awesome weight loss tips and motivation!! She’s lost over 100lbs so she has lots to share!
There’s always a lot of debate amongst those trying to lose weight about the word “diet.”
In the 1980s according to Slim Fast, “Deal a Meal” and the early Weight Watchers programs, a person was “on a diet” when they were trying to lose weight. I remember the infomercials, the shakes, the cabbage soup diets my mom would try. So I understand why so many people get upset or think the word “diet” means the extreme, very restrictive meal plan they remember.
As I’ve been blogging and on my own weight loss journey, I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who are trying to lose weight. Some are dieting in the extreme, restrictive sense of losing weight, while some are changing their lifestyle. In my experience, there are some very telltale characteristics exhibited by those who are not just in it to drop 20 pounds by their class reunion, or 50 pounds before their friends’ wedding, but rather to make lasting, sustainable change in their eating habits and lifestyle. And to me, these characteristics are the difference between making your diet, your lifestyle change or your journey successful long-term. Check ‘em out:
#1. They refuse to let the scale dictate their success.
Yes, we are all interested in the number of the scale moving downward, but those who are making a lifestyle change are interested in so much more. They take measurements and delight in watching the inches melt off their waists, their hips and even their necks! They experience joy when their jeans become too big and when they need to add another hole to their belt to tighten it around their smaller waist.
#2. They are interested in improving their physical fitness, not just restricting their diet to lose the weight.
You’ll notice them get excited (and a little terrified) to walk/run their first 5K or when they shave two minutes off their powerwalking time. They are the first timers looking shy in the back of your Zumba, Pilates or yoga class. They are the ones buying workout DVDs and looking a little confused as to why anyone would need so many different sizes of free weights. But they are also the ones who are pushing themselves a little harder, a little farther, each day.
#3. They are the ones asking the produce manager and the fishmonger and the butcher all the questions.
“Tell me about kale,” and “How do I cook quinoa?” “What’s the leanest cut of beef?” “What’s the least fishy-tasting fish and how the heck do I cook it at home?” They recognize that if they want to have a body unlike anything they’ve had before, they’re going to need to feed it differently than they always have.
By the way if you want to learn more about cooking quinoa check out Tammy’s video tutorial.
#4. They identify their trigger foods and figure out how to deal with them.
I cannot have cheese slices in the house. I have no idea why, but I feel like I need to eat them all the first day. With vegetables, with an apple, on crackers, in an omelette… You get my point! So I know I cannot have cheese slices in the house.
On the flip side, people who want a lifestyle change learn to develop strategies to still enjoy trigger foods. I really love Wheat Thins. I will gladly eat the reduced fat version, but I really like my Wheat Thins. How do I cope with really liking my Wheat Thins, and keeping myself from eating the entire box while binge watching Wayward Pines? I take my portion, weigh it and put it in a little bowl. Then I put the box back in the cupboard and go sit on the couch. I can’t overeat or mindlessly eat when I’m not hungry if I don’t have anything more to eat in front of me.
Not all trigger foods are created equal, and not all trigger foods need to be banned. But sustainable losers have figured out what their triggers are and how best to manage having them, or not having them, in their lives.
#5. They are the ones excitedly posting in Facebook groups, on Instagram and even stopping to share with others when they achieve a new milestone.
It might be a new pair of running shoes. It might be low-carb, high-fiber tortilla wraps. They’re just excited about them, and about the changes they’re making in their lives.
These people are not happy all the time, but they don’t spend their time focused on mourning or missing the unhealthy foods that got them to their starting point.
#6. They make whatever weight loss program they are on into their own.
I have seen sustainable losers who work a cookie into their daily menus, because that cookie is important to them and worth the intake. They *hate* a traditional gym but will walk with Leslie Sansone or try a Zumba class. I have seen some people who eat lighter dinners so they can enjoy full-fat cheese, peanut butter or even bagels during the day. Or others (like me) who balance a double cardio session in the gym with happy hour, so they can enjoy their life and their cocktails guilt free. The point is, they tailor the program to fit their lifestyle, rather than attempting a short-term change to fit their goals.
#7. They learn and actively practice moderation.
One cookie, one Cosmo, one french fry is not what made so many of us obese. The inability to accurately gauge a portion, mindless eating, overindulgence, eating for comfort/entertainment/out of boredom – these are the things that contributed to our obesity.
Truly sustainable losers figure out how to have their cake and eat it too. They’ve learned that a piece of cake every once in a while is not the end of the world, but three pieces of cake in one sitting or a piece of cake every night is probably not the best plan.
What do you think? What are some characteristics you associate with long term, sustainable weight loss?
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