About Healthy Hacks
As you may already know if you have been following me I made a decision that changed my life.
I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year. My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130 pounds in 15 months to-date.
The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!
Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?
While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.
Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey.
My 3-step Weight Loss Secret
Let’s start with an important fact… successful weight loss is not based on any “secret.”
I often tell people that my “secret” has been project management and data. I say this because weight loss is a process. It is a process that anybody can follow with a little bit of knowledge and the right motivation. It isn’t easy but it also isn’t complicated if you follow 3 steps.
Let’s call them the 3 Ds of successful weight loss…
Step 1: Decision
Make a decision to succeed!
Your successful weight loss journey begins with you deciding that you are going to do this and you are going to be successful. Tell yourself that you are ready to prioritize your weight loss.
Decide on a goal for yourself for what you want to accomplish because “I want to lose weight” is not specific enough. The key to a good goal is to make it SMART. This means that your goal needs to be: specific, motivating, attainable, relevant and trackable.
Also, figure out why this is important to you and make sure that your “why” is important enough to keep you going when times are tough. The reason that you want to achieve the goal needs to be stronger than your inertia to stay where you are.
Finally do your research and decide on a plan for how you are going to make this goal successful.
Step 2: Data
Next up is the data step. This step is inspired by the quote “if I can measure it I can manage it” and you are going to measure it all. That is until you figure out what is most important.
In this step you need to start measuring everything that is important to your goal. Log everything that you eat and drink. Record all of your exercise and physical activity. Note all of your other relevant health information. Establish an initial baseline for these metrics so you know where you are today so you can measure progress.
A small sample of the things I measure daily include:
- Calories consumed
- Nutrients consumed (protein, fiber, sodium)
- Calories burned through exercise
By tracking your data daily you can make better decisions and move yourself closer to your goal. In fact I found that the act of tracking the data alone impacted my decisions and behavior and results in progress. Use the data to keep you focused and motivated!
Step 3: Discipline
I said “daily” in the last section and I meant it.
This is not a quest that is done in a week this is a lifestyle change. That means your journey has to be top of mind at all times. It is very easy to slip back to old behaviors and that is why most weight loss projects fail.
Don’t let yourself skip logging a meal or give yourself a “cheat” day. Every day matters and this journey is about balance. That means you can do what you want to do and eat what you want to eat but you need to keep score. You need to know what you have put in your body and how much you burned of it.
It is important that you get very good at tracking and being focused early in your journey. It gets harder as you get further into losing weight so your discipline needs to carry you to your goal.
Even when you reach your goal the journey doesn’t stop there. You need to maintain your momentum and will want to set bigger and better goals for yourself. Success is addictive and once you achieve it you won’t want to stop.
In future healthy hacks I will share some of my secrets to motivation. But the stronger your “why” the more it will carry you forward.