Want to rid yourself of those last five pounds? Keep walking, nothing to see here. I’m talking to the ladies who want to lose forty pounds or more. I’ve huffed and puffed down that same road, most of the time with an mp3 player strapped to my arm and thoughts of cake in my head. Three years and nearly 100 pounds later, I want to make the journey a little bit easier for you. Hopefully when you reach your goal, you won’t have snapped in a McDonald’s while eating the umpteenth burger patty on the Atkins diet or yelled at a Wii Fitness program that its mother was a virus-ridden calculator.
Avoid the mirror
So you’ve been working out and sticking to your food plan for a couple of weeks, and you feel thinner. Your clothes are a little loose, and you’re feeling great! Keep that feeling, and don’t strip down naked to check it out in the full-length mirror. When you’re starting out for a major weight loss, no one’s going to look at your ass and wonder if five pounds should get some time on the back of a milk carton. Those pounds may be missing, but they need to take a lot of their friends with them before you’ll see the difference in the mirror. Right now, that sense of accomplishment is motivating, and you don’t need anyone, including yourself, bursting that bubble. I lost 40 pounds before anyone (besides my beleaguered family) said “Hey, have you lost some weight?”
And the scale
C’mon, admit it: the relationship you have with your scale is a twisted, dysfunctional one. You step on every morning, every night and sometimes when you skip lunch and have a big bowel movement in the middle of the day. Honey, that scale is no good for you, because it always tells you something different: you’re five pounds heavier than you were yesterday, yet nine pounds lighter than you were the day before. Of course you make excuses: “Oh, that’s the day I had Mexican food.” Then you get crazy: “What do you mean, I’ve gained three pounds overnight? I didn’t eat anything!” In your head, you know that your weight can fluctuate up to five pounds every day, but your heart just wants those numbers to go down. Resist the constant booty calls of the scale, and only weigh yourself once a week or even once a month.
Buy a padded bra
So you’ve lost a bit of weight but you’ve hit a plateau, or you’re just having a bad day. A padded bra provides you with a brief optical illusion: your chest will be bigger, so your waist appears smaller. It’s a cheap trick, I admit, but it’s nice for an occasional pick-me-up and often someone will toss a few compliments your way, which really perks up the self-esteem and keeps you from diving into a barrel of potato chips later. Also, it helps with another challenge of weight loss: when you lose a few dozen pounds, it will eventually reduce your rack, but not always at the same time. You may be a little lopsided for a while, or you may be like me (TMI Alert!) and lose boob fat first. A bra with a little extra in the cup can help you through the nippled Quasimodo stage until the girls even out again.
Get happy now
You won’t be a different person when you hit your weight goal. You’ll be the same person who happens to wear smaller pants. Sure, it’s smile-inducing when you can finally sit in any seat on any bus, plane or restaurant, but that won’t solve all your problems. Don’t pin all your hopes for self-confidence and happiness and inner peace on thinning thighs, they have enough to carry. Become the better person you want to be now. Release your baggage as you drop the pounds, and you’ll feel so much lighter by the time you’re done.
Keep a sense of humor
You have so many ups and downs ahead of you, and not all of them involve the scale. You’ll go off your diet, you’ll go back on it, you’ll be frustrated that there’s nothing you can eat at the company picnic, you’ll be ecstatic the first time you shop in the regular sizes instead of the Plus section. Your diet buddy may lose weight faster than you, and you think about hiding Twinkies in her salad. If you take yourself too seriously during all this, your weight loss journey feels like a forced march instead of a wild ride you can tell stories about later. Wink at someone giving you the evil eye while you eat a muffin on your cheat day. Have a swordfight with your breadstick instead of eating it. Laugh whenever you can; not only does it help you let go, it also burns a few calories. So does sex, but I don’t recommend combining the two unless your lover is a really good sport.
Lastly, be patient, grasshopper. Losing a lot of weight takes time, and a slow process is a healthier process. You’re going to have incredibly fantastic days where you feel sleek and sexy, and days when you could just stab someone with a carrot stick. Hang in there. You can do this, I believe in you.
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