The way I lost 100 pounds worked for me. There’s no guarantee it’d work for you— or for anyone else, really.
That’s one of the big problems I have with the way many self-help teachers advertise: even though many of them have inspiring stories, they have a tendency to broadcast that the way THEY overcame THEIR obstacles will work for EVERYONE.
Then they charge you for the scoop on how THEY did it.
I’m a bad self-help guru, because giving it to you free on a blog post— but I’m also being realistic about the fact that may way may or may not resonate with you.
(I’m also being realistic about the fact that I’m not a nutritionist, dietitian, or otherwise qualified to tell anybody what to eat. I’m writing from the point of view of an authority on behavior change ONLY.)
There wasn’t any magic to it.
I adhered to a calorie budget designed for me by an app (MyFitnessPal).
For well over a year, I adhered to that calorie budget every day. No days off, no “cheat” days.
(Eventually, after hitting and maintaining my goal weight for the better part of another year, I did allow myself the odd cheat meal– but even now, after logging into the app for well over 1,000 consecutive days, I follow its calorie recommendations between 5 and 7 days a week.)
I chose to monitor just that one variable— calories in and calories out— instead of macros or the composition of my diet, because I knew that it was very likely that if I tried to monitor/restrict more than one variable, I’d get overwhelmed and use that as an excuse to quit.
All of that was important— but to me, the most important step was this:
Every single day, at the end of the day, I’d take a screen shot of my food and exercise log, and texted it to a good friend who had agreed to be my accountability buddy for this project.
She wasn’t there to shame or chastise me if I had a rough day with it. Nor was she necessarily there to encourage or reward me for having a good day.
She was just there as an extra set of eyes on my project, so it existed somewhere other than in my head.
That’s it. That’s the entire story.
I did that for a period of about two years or so before settling in at my current weight, which hovers about a hundred pounds below where my highest weight was.
See, this is the reason why my approach to behavior change is so straightforward.
This is why I’m constantly banging on about habits and patterns over time instead of INSTANT insight and LIGHTBULB moments.
I believe that the simple things we do every day, matter.
i believe accountability matters.
I believe self-kindness and self-compassion, matters.
I believe what we choose to submit to, matters.
In my case, I had to come to terms that there was no way I was losing this weight without learning to submit to a calorie budget.
I had to come to terms with the fact that I needed pair of eyes on this project that were not mine.
I had to come to terms with the fact that I needed an app to tell me how many calories I needed to consume to lose weight, instead of relying on my own instinct about what felt “right” to eat.
None of that was easy.
But over time, I got used to it.
We get used to changes we choose to make, in the service of goals we find important.
I wish there was some flashy, sexy behavior change trick that I could tell you would make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to make a change.
But there isn’t.
For me, it was math, an app, and a friend.
The most effective solutions are very often the simplest.
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