Today I came across an article titled "7 Changes To Make If You Want To Lose 20 Pounds Or More".
While typically I don't endorse those kinds of articles, I thought this one in particular was quite good. Here's my summary of their 7 points. You can click on the link above if you want to read their exact verbiage.
1 - Think Long Term
Basically, this means rather than "fast fix" diets, shakes or exercise routines, you need to approach whatever you take on as a "new normal". Don't do anything new that you can't see yourself doing for the rest of your life, or eventually you'll stop doing it and the weight loss will not stick.
2 - Focus on the Big Stuff
Rather than nit picking your minor day to day habits (like using a healthier creamer option for your coffee), think bigger picture when you adopt lifestyle changes. For example, focus on adding more vegetables to your plate or drinking water over soda. You can worry about the little stuff later, after you have the more important points under control first.
3 - Forget the Scale
Everyone I know CONSTANTLY talks numbers. In reality, what the scale tells you doesn't matter if you are working out and getting healthy. Plus, seeing the scale make minor fluctuations from one day to the next can be frustrating and demotivating. Instead, force yourself to ignore the scale for a week or two at a time.
4 - Seize Opportunities
If you have a chance to do something simple like take the stairs, park further away and walk in, etc - take them! All those little things add up to big change over time.
5 - Progressively Cut Calories
This one I feel a little ... meh on. The article says shave more calories from your diet as you lose weight (IE 500 a day at first, and then maybe up to 600 a day after you lose 5-10 pounds). I understand their justification for what they're saying ... but at some point, rather than say you need to cut 600 a day, I'd rather just see people focus on lifestyle adaptations that are maintainable long term. So maybe once you've tweaked your lifestyle for big stuff like more vegetables and more exercise, you start to focus on smaller changes like using less dressing on your vegetables or going for a run instead of a walk ... stuff like that.
6 - LIFT
Yes! I know cardio burns calories. But ellipticals are not the answers to all life's woes. The more muscle mass you carry, the higher your metabolism operates. Get into a weight lifting routine that helps you build muscle as well as burn calories. (AHEM - TBC anyone?!)
7 - Love Yourself
You know? I really love that this is the final point in the article. So many people forget to appreciate their body for what it is when they start a weight loss program. The truth is, everyone out there has something they need to work on with their body - weight loss, muscle tone, whatever. There's nothing wrong with that. If you've made it this far, you've acknowledged you need to take steps towards making yourself healthier, so being OK with your body wherever it is today is exactly what you should be doing!