It’s the same every time you try to drop the unwanted pounds; you’re starving, exercise is tedious and worst of all – losing weight is such an agonizingly slow process!
Changing old habits and improving yourself is an uncomfortable process. Why bother?
I’ll answer that question for you. I’ll explain the incredible rewards of success, and I’ll do my best to convince you with concrete facts while showing you just how important achieving your healthy weight is to you and the people who love you.
Read on, and discover the reasons why you should persevere until you reach your ideal weight, some tips and tricks to prevent backsliding, and just what could happen to you if you fail.
Why is Losing Weight so Hard?
Everyone who’s ever dieted has asked themselves this question.
The first week goes by smoothly enough, but by the end of the first month, old habits start to reassert themselves as you’ve lost so little weight compared to how far you’ve yet to go to reach your target weight.
You start asking yourself: Why bother?
It really is hard to lose excess weight once you’ve put it on – let’s take a look at some of the reasons why, what you can do about it, and why you should do your best to succeed anyway.
Homeostasis is your body’s way to maintain internal stability regardless any external influence that disturbs its normal functioning; like dieting.
Essentially, your body wants to store fat “just in case” and will even move it to other areas of the body rather than burn it as energy – even if you’re exercising and eating right.
Homeostasis is our built in survival mechanism that helps us survive during times of famine; which is what your body thinks is happening when you start cutting calories.
Although there’s no way to fight your body’s tendency to hold on to its fat stores – habitually consuming fewer calories than you burn while keeping active, will gradually whittle away that extra padding.
Muscle Loss Slows Your Metabolism
Unfortunately, when we diet we lose muscle as well as fat; the critical muscle that helps us burn calories even when we’re sitting still. Add the natural tendency of our bodies to hold on to fat when our calories get reduced, and you have a perfect storm of frustration.
The best solution to this problem is to make some form of strength training an intrinsic part of your weight loss efforts, and stay away from ‘crash’ diets that will gradually shrivel your muscles and radically slow your metabolism.
You’ll keep the metabolic fires burning hot by also:
- Making sure you eat high-protein foods while going low-cal
- Short, intense training sessions rather than long, exhausting workouts
- Be patient – even under the best conditions; real fat loss happens at a snail’s pace
Contrary to what many people believe; all calories are not created equal.
Even when people consume the same number of calories every day, the ones who eat a greater amount of sugar calories are consistently fatter than those who eat more of their calories as fat and protein.
This is both the easiest and the most difficult dietary change you can make for fat loss.
Console yourself with the knowledge that low-carb dieters had a much easier time staying on course than people who tried a high-carb/low-fat calorie restricted meal plan.
It’s difficult to give up bread, pasta, cereal, and many other refined carbohydrate foods, so try slowly cutting back, and give your body a chance to acclimate to your new dietary habits while going into fat burning mode.
But, It’s Still Hard!
Any accomplishment worth achieving is going to be difficult – or it wouldn’t be much of an accomplishment!
See your weight loss journey all the way to your ideal weight and enjoy the benefits of:
Self-esteem: Let’s be brutally honest – no one enjoys being overweight. Being physically unattractive destroys your self-esteem and puts you at a disadvantage socially, romantically, and has grave consequences for your mental health.
Lose that weight and enjoy an incredible improvement in your emotional state, discover new social opportunities, and preen in the respect that your transformation will win you from family, friends, and coworkers. All that positive energy will make long-term success easy as you keep up health and diet habits that keep the compliments rolling in!
Money: According to a study conducted at Vanderbilt University; being as little as 13lbs overweight can cost a woman $9000 per year.
Fat discrimination is a real phenomenon in the workplace, and wishing it away won’t change human nature; it’s human nature to prefer to be around attractive people. Burn off that excess fat to reveal the beauty within you and enjoy career advancement, professional success, and the income that you’re worth.
Long-term Health: There’s a laundry list of diseases that are directly attributed to being overweight.
The complications from diabetes include; cardiovascular problems, stroke, blindness, amputation, and dementia. Your joints will wear until you suffer from painful and crippling osteoarthritis. Obesity is also directly correlated with cancers such as:
And many other forms of cancer; check out the list at the World Cancer Fund International website.
Few can win a battle with cancer, and the fight destroys the family and friends who love you as they watch you waste away under the ravages of both the disease and the treatment. Win your personal battle against obesity and look forward to a long life full of health and wonderful possibilities – rather than the prospect of painful disease and an early death.
It’s all in How You Look at It
The fact of the matter is: You won’t succeed (at least not long-term) if you think of your weight loss effort as a journey that ends when you reach your ideal weight. Without a continuous effort to maintain your new healthy habits; you’ll backslide and ride that yo-yo diet back to your old measurements.
Focus on the unbelievable benefits you’ll enjoy from your transformation, and remember that the trick isn’t to change your body, but to change how you think.
You need to make a concerted effort to force yourself to see food as something you need to stay alive – not something you have to eat to feel better when you’re bored, sad or frustrated.
Burst from Your Cocoon
Throughout human history, the butterfly has been our ultimate symbol of transformation. That lowly, unappealing worm suddenly wraps itself up into a mysterious package only to burst forth utterly transformed into one of the most beautiful creatures in nature.
Only when you succeed in changing yourself, will you be able to enjoy permanently going from chubby caterpillar to a gorgeous and inspiring butterfly that delights everyone who sees it.
Look at your weight loss journey the same way you see your journey through life; you don’t know anything about the end – but you know you’d better keep putting one foot in front of the other for as long as you’re on it.
Photo Credit: Kelsey V.
In order to understand my journey with Nutrisystem, you first need to understand how I got to the point where I really needed Nutrisystem in my life. I have been overweight my entire life.
I’ve always been the fat friend and have always dreamed that one day I would lose all of the extra weight and be one of the skinny girls. Unfortunately, the years flew by as I went through yo-yo diet after yo-yo diet. Before I knew it, I was starting my first post-college big-girl job. I was hired as an auditor for a manufacturing company and I’m pretty sure this was anyone’s, but especially my own, dream job. I was paid to travel all over the world for two weeks at a time to do audit work with people my age and on the weekends we got to explore exciting new places.
Every single meal was on the company’s dime so when I had the option to choose between a steak with a loaded baked potato or a salad, I was choosing the steak! And of course we always ordered appetizers, dessert, and wine with every meal because why not?! We would work all day long and then go out for dinner and drinks then head back to our hotel rooms to sleep. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. My weight ballooned. I was already a very overweight girl, but in the course of 3.5 years of this new job, I quickly gained about 60 pounds. I’d developed very bad habits to the point where I avoided going up any stairs, I never worked out, I was grabbing drive-thru ordering my usual two burritos and a bagel sandwich with a large sweet tea when I decided I needed to do something about the habits I have created for myself.
Checkout my videos on my youtube channel
Photo Credit: Kelsey V.
I had tried Nutrisystem while in college and had lost about 10 pounds in one month on the program, but I was a broke college kid and couldn’t afford it for any longer than that. Now that I had my big-girl job, I decided to give Nutrisystem a try again since I knew I did have success with it in the past.
That same day I ordered the Nutrisystem Lean 13 program and set a start date for myself of the day after the Super Bowl in 2016 (2.8.16). My order came and I spent an entire day organizing the food, reading the instructions, buying the food I would need to supplement with the Nutrisystem entrees, etc. so that I would be prepared when it was time for my Monday start date because of course diets always start on Mondays. Nutrisystem makes everything so easy and convenient for me. I’ve always been too lazy to meal prep and I also don’t really enjoy eating food that I made days beforehand. I also am a pizza fanatic and love sweets and carbs so there’s no way I could succeed with a restrictive diet. This is one of the many wonderful things about Nutrisystem as it allows me to still have pizza, pasta, chocolate, cinnamon rolls, waffles, everything I love to eat normally. The foods are delicious and they are even color-coded for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert/snack so they are easy to grab and go! You also supplement the entrees with mid-morning and afternoon snacks as well as 4 servings of vegetables per day so that you are getting fresh add-ins keeping your body fueled throughout the day. To help with achieving great success, they have even developed an app to track your food called NuMi, which I believe tracking is one of the biggest keys to success in weight loss.
Another great motivator that Nutrisystem does is for every 10 pounds you lose, you get a NutriBear which is a stuffed bear that’s monogrammed with the number you’ve lost (10, 20, 30, etc.) to help keep you on track. I’ve got quite the collection of NutriBears and am looking forward to getting more!
One of the many things I love about Nutrisystem is that it isn’t some diet that you start and then once you’re at your goal you go back to eating how you used to and end up gaining all of the weight back. Nutrisystem requires from the start that one lunch and one dinner per week are on your own which helps ease you into learning how to make healthy decisions for your meals on your own. They have guides to help you make the right choices for these meals.
They even have counseling support if you ever have any questions or even just to chat with by phone or by chat! As you begin to get closer to and reach your goal weight, they have programs you can switch to start transitioning off Nutrisystem and doing more and more meals on your own. I started Nutrisystem on 2.8.16 and have lost around 75 pounds in one year following the program*. I’m still not at my goal weight, but I am a lot farther than I every imagined I would be with the help of Nutrisystem! The way I think about food and the choices I make for my meals are completely different now than they were before I began the program. I am confident that I’ll be able to keep losing until my goal weight and keep the weight off, all thanks to Nutrisystem!
Checkout Kelsey’s Youtube and Instagram
Moderate Calorie Control or Crash Dieting for Lasting Weight Loss?
It happens to all of us at some point; you see a recent picture of yourself and have the horrific realization that you’ve gained a lot more weight than you had thought.
Before you know it you’re on the cabbage soup, grapefruit, boiled egg, etc. diet and combining a starvation level of food intake with hours of aerobic exercise to trim down as quickly as possible to your target weight. But is this the best way to lose weight and keep it off? Is extreme dieting even healthy?
Let’s take a look at some facts about weight loss, the long and short-term effects of extreme diet and exercise, and the effectiveness of intelligent calorie control and lifestyle changes to discover: which is the best way to lose excess body fat?
What is Your Basal Metabolic Rate?
Your basal metabolic rate is simply the amount of energy (calories) that you burn by simply being alive. It’s the energy you use to maintain normal bodily functions without any physical activity.
It’s common sense that eating fewer calories than you burn, will result in weight loss and it is also true that reducing the amount of food you eat will decrease your weight over time. But is it as simple as that?
The USDA recommends that a typical adult male consumes between 2,000 and 2,800 calories per day depending on how active he is. The estimate for a woman is somewhere between 1,600 and 2,400 calories daily.
Baylor College of Medicine has kindly made available this handy calorie calculator to determine both your body mass index and approximately how many calories you personally need to eat just to maintain your current weight.
Did you use the calorie calculator? If you haven’t, go there now and come back with your maintenance calories information, I’ll wait…
Great! Now take that number and cut it down to 800 calories, because that’s what most very low-calorie diets (VLC) are going to expect you to live on until you reach your target weight.
I’m willing to bet that 800 calories are between one-half to one-quarter of what you need to maintain your weight according to the Baylor College of Medicine calculator. Yes, you’ll lose weight fast, but what else will happen?
Health Effects of Extremely Low-Calorie Diets
- You’ll go into starvation mode. Drastically cutting calories will tell your body to slow down its metabolism to survive a period of starvation. This, of course, slows the weight loss process and makes you lethargic to boot.
- Gallstones. Your liver will produce excess cholesterol on a VLC diet which can lead to developing (extremely painful) gallstones.
- Muscle Loss. VLC diets will result in much higher muscle loss (including heart mass!( than moderate diets, and less muscle means a slower metabolism – which means you’ll have to eat less (sometimes much less) to maintain your weight loss.
- VLC diets will make you dumber.
Finally, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the risks associated with a VLC diet are too high for the average individual. The JADA states that only people who aren’t pregnant and don’t have cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, sever psychological problems, or active heart problems and who have a body mass index (BMI) over 32 can consider going very low-calorie.
Finally, have you considered what happens afterward? Do you think that it’s possible to live the rest of your life on a low-calorie diet?
Very low-calorie diets inevitably result in yo-yo weight gain; you’ll go back to old habits – only this time with a much lower metabolism from an extended period of starvation level eating – so you’ll likely regain the weight plus a few more pounds.
Can You Exercise Too Much?
Here is the other half of the weight loss equation; burning up all those excess calories by endless hours of aerobics. Is this feasible?
We’ll start with science: according to this research study, people who attempted to lose weight by exercising were sorely disappointed by the small to non-existent reduction in weight compared to the effort they expended.
But you’re determined to go for it anyway! Alright then, let’s assume you start a routine that includes hours of aerobics and weight lifting every day – that has to make me look better, right?
These are the results you can expect from starting a truly heroic fitness regime (after being relatively sedentary):
- Cardiac Problems. Hours of steady cardio workouts have been shown to cause heart damage.
- Rhabdomyolysis. Your muscles can begin to break down, and you may experience kidney failure.
- Injury. If you suddenly and drastically increase your activity level the odds are very good that you’ll experience an activity ending injury.
It’s painfully obvious neither extreme dieting nor extreme exercise is the healthy and long-term solution to your weight loss problem.
What is the best way to lose weight and keep it off?
Lose Weight with Math Instead
Remember that calculator from Baylor that we looked at earlier? Let’s look at the number of calories it takes to maintain your current weight again.
Research has shown that if you just cut 500 calories from that number every day you’ll see a steady weight loss of about one to two pounds per week (depending on your activity levels) – that can be four to eight pounds per month! If you divide that between three meals, it comes out to just 167 calories less per meal. In other words: you’ll barely miss it.
Add a moderate increase in physical activity (think long walks, relaxing bike rides) to the mix, and you can magnify the weight loss effect without the risk of injury.
The combination of moderately cutting back on calories and becoming more active is healthy, easily sustainable long-term, and once you’ve reached your target weight, you’ll have a lifestyle that will ensure you stay there effortlessly. It’s just like the story of the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady wins the race!
With so many different choices for weight loss plans, how do you choose?
Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers are both highly recommended and successful plans. To help make your decision a bit easier, we have put together a list of key factors that make both plans the best. Then it’s up for you to decide.
First of all, what is Nutrisystem and what is Weight Watchers? Nutrisystem is a meal plan delivery system, sending healthy and tasty meals to your door that are portioned and balanced with the perfect amounts of protein, fiber and smart carbs to help you shed those pounds and stay full. Weight Watchers is a weight loss plan and diet program that helps you learn how to make better decisions and better eating choices. Giving you points to regulate how many calories, saturated fats, sugar and protein you consume for optimal weight loss.
When it comes to not knowing how to eat properly, or how to cook healthy meals, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers are very different. Weight Watchers gives you the freedom to eat whatever you want as long as it’s within the points range. They offer healthy recipes and healthy food choices to add to your grocery list. Nutrisystem cuts out all the questions and confusion by giving you already prepared meals. From breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks, Nutrisystem gives you a wide variety of choices too.
When it comes to support, these two plans also differ tremendously. If you like having a support system and losing weight with the motivation of others then Weight Watchers is for you. But if you don’t care for public weigh ins, the pressure of being on your game and want to lose weight alone in the comfort of your own home and at your own speed, Nutrisystem is your plan. Weight Watchers has plenty of help and counseling options and so does Nutrisystem.
Guaranteed weight loss. Nutrisystem guarantees you will lose up to 13 lbs. and 7 inches in the first month on the Lean 13 program (avg. weight loss was 11.6 lbs. and 8 inches, expect to lose an avg. of 1-2 lbs. per week.) Weight Watchers does not have a guarantee. Weight Watchers does state that members have lost 15% more in their first 2 months on the Beyond the Scale program.
Prices. Everyone always wants to know which is the better deal. Yes, Weight Watchers is cheaper, but you have to pay for groceries on top of that. Nutrisystem is pricey but you get everything you need, just have to buy a few fruits and vegetables.
Here’s a breakdown of prices per month.
Everyone is different, some like the face to face support, some like to work alone. Some like to cook and some like convenience of on the go meals. If you weigh all the pros and cons of each program you will be able to make the best weight loss decision for yourself.
Can’t decide? For more information on Nutrisystem click here to check out why we think Nutrisystem is a great choice, followed by this link which explains the Pros and Cons of Nutrisystem.
If you think neither of these plans will work for you, here are a few more options you can check out. Something for everyone!
Photo Credit: AdobeStock
The most frustrating feeling is when there never is enough time to lose the weight you have been dying to lose.
Has life become too busy and crazy for you to take the time to get an hour of exercise, pack a lunch, cook a healthy dinner, etc? That’s normal. Most of us have full-time jobs, more than one job, children and other commitments that make losing weight impossible.
But there’s hope, here are a few ways to shed those pounds without becoming overwhelmed.
Portion Size, Food Choices.
That’s the most important thing. Don’t over-eat. Stop eating at the first sings of feeling full, embrace leftovers. Listen to serving sizes, fill your plate with veggies, meats and fish instead of potatoes and noodles. Which I now is hard to do, I love pasta.) Don’t wait till your famished. If you’re hungry…eat. Don’t wait too long. If you have dinner reservations or scheduled meals and you are hungry early then eat a small snack, few nuts or an apple. Starvation is the easiest way to over-eat. Going to a restaurant that doesn’t have the best healthy choices? Go for as many veggies as you can get, eat half and take the rest to-go. Makes a great lunch for tomorrow. Drink a lot of water before you eat, will fill you up so you eat less.
Be Active as Much as Possible.
Take the long walk to the bathroom, walk to lunch instead of drive or take lunchtime walks. Park farther away from the office or grocery store. Throw dinner in the crock pot and go take a quick walk outside or do a few jumping jacks. Get your heart rate going as many times as you can. Get a Fitbit. It tracks my activities for me which saves me time. If I get home and notice I have about 3,000 steps left to accomplish I’ll jog around my house just to get to my 10,000 step goal. It’s a great motivator. One thing I started doing was standing more. At the bar or out with friends, instead of sitting, I stand. It’s great for your circulation.
Think Healthy at the Grocery Store.
I always eat a granola bar and grab a water before I go to the store because if I am hungry I make bad choices. The prepared food section draws me in with the lazy, easy meals. Go to the veggie section first. Fill up your cart. Then meats/protein. Once you realize how much food is in your cart you will be less interested in filling it up. Skip the cookie aisle. Don’t even tempt yourself to look. For snacks get fruits or oatmeal. If you’re craving that carbonated fix get seltzer water. Buy lemons, a lemon in your water is the greatest thing, hydrating and tasty.
Utilize Your Days Off.
Get proper sleep, wake up refreshed and get moving. Make coffee, get dressed (don’t stay in your pajamas or you are destined to be lazy.) Go outside get some yard work done or go for a run or walk. Enjoy as much time in the sunshine as possible. We all want to be lazy on weekends but it’s not healthy. Stay active while watching TV, few sit-ups, jog in place, stretch. Make plans that involve some kind of activity. Meal plan, crock pots are great for that. Spend Sunday nights cooking up healthy meals for the week. It will save you time cooking on weeknights.
Have a Support System.
I always have friends who want to lose weight or work-out with me. Whether it’s girls who want to eat better and go to the gym or guys who show me workout tips. It’s always nice to have a support system. Snapchat is great for motivation. We send each other photos of ourselves every morning as confidence boosters and then send photos of what we are eating as reminders to eat healthy. We keep each other in check. If I want to eat fast food I tell them so they will convince me to back away. Set a goal, wedding or even just bathing suit season. Make a goal date or a goal outfit to fit into and keep reminders everywhere that this is what you are striving to accomplish.
Relax. Be Happy, Don’t be Hard on Yourself.
The biggest cause of weight gain is stress and depression. You wake up unhappy, the rest of your day is unhappy and you get nothing accomplished. If I have a bad day at work, the only thing I want to do is go home eat something that makes me happy and go watch TV in the comfort of my bed. That is not good. Go to bed happy, wake up with a positive outlook. Keep your mood stable. If you’re feeling stressed out, back away and go take a walk, listen to your favorite song, just shake the feeling. Breath.
If All Else Fails, Go on a Diet Meal Plan.
Nutrisystem is my personal favorite. I am on it and am feeling great. Takes the time and stress out of meal preparation the night before. I eat Nutrisystem for Breakfast, Lunch and then a snack, then Dinner I prepare myself. There are many meal plans that work so go for the one that suits your needs best. I have energy at the end of the day, I don’t feel bloated or horrible, I end the day feeling good about myself for staying on track.
You don’t have to go hard every day. If you can’t work-out every day, that’s ok. If you don’t eat a strict diet every day, that’s ok too. It’s impossible for you to be on-point every single day. Just do the best you can. Be mindful about what you eat but don’t obsess. If you can’t make it to the gym, take a longer walk to your car, take a 5-minute break at work and walk around the office. Do the best you can.
At 6’2, I’ve always been the tallest out of all my friends. I was under the assumption that I was just meant to be plus-sized and there was nothing I could do about it.
Photo Credit: Melody Mae
I dropped out of college in 2015 and started working full time and that’s when the major weight gain set in. I would work until 2am then pick up a burger, fries and a shake on my way home. I don’t even remember what the food I was eating tasted like, because I was just eating everything in sight. I used food as an escape from my anxiety, my depression, from anything I didn’t want to deal with. Looking back, I realize I had a binge eating disorder.
In January 2016 I quit my job and decided I needed to make a change. I never weigh myself, you could say I liked living in a state of denial, but during my annual checkup I forced myself to look down. I was devastated by the number glaring back up at me. My mom and dad have diabetes and I knew if I didn’t do something drastic I would end up with diabetes too. That day was my first day back at the gym.
Photo Credit: Melody Mae
I absolutely hated P.E. in school and never really played any sports. But I had heard so many good things about weightlifting that I decided to try it out. I was instantly hooked and I’ve been lifting weights since day one. If you are having trouble figuring out what kind of program to try, I really recommend checking out videos on YouTube, or searching for fitness accounts on Instagram to get motivation. Even Pinterest has a ton of workout plans available! And if you feel like you need someone to give you a plan, finding a good trainer is a great option!
My week starts off with a rest day on Sunday. It’s a day I relax and let my body heal. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are leg days! I like to target specific muscle groups each day, so Monday is for quads, Wednesday is for glutes and Friday is for hips. Then Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are upper body days. Tuesday is shoulders & chest and Thursday is arms & back. I’ll throw in an ab workout on an upper body day. Then Saturday is reserved for cardio. I have a love/hate relationship with cardio, but then again, who doesn’t! I do some form of cardio every day. I really like walking on the treadmill at a high incline and the stair master is a real challenge.
As far as nutrition goes, there was a video I watched a long time ago and something the woman said has stuck with me, “if you can’t read it, don’t eat it.” I legit read the ingredients on everything and if I can’t pronounce the ingredients I won’t buy it. So stick to natural foods like lean meats, fruits, veggies and complex carbs like sweet potatoes and rice. Carbs are shrouded in a cloud of negativity, but they give you energy and help you through your workouts! And don’t forget about healthy fats, like nuts, cheese and oils. I also have a “cheat meal” once a week. Cheat meals really help your mental state during this journey – you never want to feel like you’re restricting yourself. If you do, you’ll feel like giving up and eat a whole bag of cookies (I know from experience…).
Photo Credit: Melody Mae
Right now, I am 122 pounds down and back in school working on getting my degree. I have so many goals and I’m not planning on slowing down one bit! I’ve still got some weight I want to loose and I’m so excited to see what my body will look like once I’ve reached my goal. Just remember, it’s not all about the scale. Make sure you’re doing this for you. If you’re trying to do this for any other reason you won’t succeed. Make an inspiration board: put up inspirational quotes, put up your before pictures, and write down your goals and when you want to achieve them by. Don’t let your weight define you. I know it’s cliché, but if I can do it, anyone can.