The Weight Loss Project

Project: Weight Loss

With my health taking a sudden turn for the worst earlier this year, I was bed-ridden for several months and in that time, put on quite a bit of weight. I knew this was going to happen, as there wasn’t much I could do being severely anemic.  I simply didn’t have the energy to exercise, nor the will power to not turn to comfort food to get me through the psychological and physical symptoms of anemia.

Last Sunday, I finally worked up the courage to check my “numbers” and assess the damage.  Using my handy-dandy Fat/Muscle scale, I was astounded at how much fat I had gained in such a short amount of time. I even lost a lot of muscle!  Basically, I had packed on 30 lbs. over the course of 5 months of my illness.  I actually didn’t need a scale to tell me that, I could feel it in my clothes.

A gain of over 30 lbs. is a legit reason to get down and depressed about myself. And I did.  But not for long as I realized that I’ve had three babies and been much heavier after giving birth.  I lost that weight before and I can do it again.  All I need to do is draw upon my background as a Personal Trainer and project manager, and I will be back to fit in no time (well, actually it took me 5 months to put on that weight, it’s going to take about that long to lose it in a healthy way).

First, Some Background Information

I was seventeen when I discovered the gym and weightlifting. Inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, I fell in love with the whole idea of fitness, but back then, like most teen girls, I was highly conscious of my body image and I thought that the only way I could stay thin was to starve myself and work out a lot. I simply didn’t understand the value of nutrition or diet.

When I became a University student, I got a job as a personal trainer at the local gym.  I loved it as it gave me a good excuse to spend lots of time in the gym and meet other fitness freaks.  It was there that I started learning about “fad” diets from not only my manager but the patrons as well.  There was always some new and crazy fad diet out there and I think I tried most of them.

Years later, I worked with my second husband as a personal trainer in our health and fitness business for several years. Over the years I worked as a personal trainer, I have worked with hundreds of people and have seen a lot of fad diets, workout routines, pills, and other gimmicks and products promising weight loss. I even got caught up in the never-ending cycle of fad diet weight-loss/weight-gain.

Any diet will help you lose weight, but a lot of these fad diets won’t let you sustain it.  I’ve tried many forms of diet and exercise; from bodybuilding diet to keto, calorie restriction, Isagenix, and many more.  I’ve done all sorts of exercises; from Buns of steel to training for and running marathons. But the weight always comes back.  I’ve experimented with all sorts of diet and exercise programs, and like Edison and his journey towards inventing the light bulb, I know 10,000 ways how not to lose weight and keep it off.

The Secret to Weight Loss and Keeping it Off

It’s not really a secret.  Experts agree that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is only a matter of a lifestyle change.  Yup, you read that right.  Losing weight is easy once you’ve made a change in your lifestyle.  Making the lifestyle change is the hard part.  To make the change you need to understand three things:

  1. The key to losing weight and keeping it off is a slow and steady process.  Going the slow and steady approach will give your body a chance to adapt to the weight-loss gradually without putting undue pressure or strain on you physically or psychologically. Your chances of keeping the weight off permanently increases dramatically.
  2. Exercise is only a small part of weight-loss.  Weight-loss happens in the kitchen.
  3. Eating nutrient dense foods, such as vegetables and fruits, will help your body cope better with weight-loss and retain/grow muscle mass.

I’m not going to recommend any diet or workout plans for you.  What I will do is help you create your own plan that works for you. We’re going to do this together. I have 30 lbs. to lose to get back to the weight where I feel really good. However, I don’t need a scale to tell me when I’ve reached that mark, I just know when I’ve hit that mark by the way my clothes feel and how good I feel inside my body.  If you need a scale, then use one, but it really isn’t a good indicator of your health.  If you lift weights, you know that muscle weighs more than fat, so a scale is useless.  If you have to have a measuring device to track your progress, I would suggest you use a measuring tape and only measure yourself once a month.

Where Do We Start?

My project management training is kicking into gear.  I recognize this as just a project and nothing to get anxious or depressed about.  I simply turn to my project management framework to guide my planning.  I implement my Think. Plan. PRAY strategy.

This is how it works (it’s ridiculously simple).

Think: I’ve identified that my health is in great need of improvement. My diet is junk. My exercise routine is defunct. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired (I’m psyching myself up here to get myself ready to tackle this project).

Plan: My plan is to get down to my healthy weight again.  I write this down in my Project Journal or on my Project Board where I can see it everyday as a reminder of my priorities.

PRAY:  This is where I break my plan down into easy steps.

P=Prepare. As much as I’d love to jump into a weight loss project today, I know that my efforts would be useless if I don’t prepare first with figuring out my nutrition needs and exercise routine first.  I am not going to succumb to a “fad” diet to “lose weight quickly”.  This is going to take me 5 months to lose, just as it took 5 months to gain.  To prepare for this project, I need to sit down and write up a meal plan that I know I can stick to for the rest of my life.  Fortunately, I’ve already got a meal plan that I’ve developed over the years of experimenting, but for the sake of this project that you and I are doing together, I’m going to revamp my whole plan and share some recipes and information to help you develop your plan.  I prepare by brainstorming ideas of meals I like to eat, and exercise routines I know I enjoy.  I write all these down.

R=Refine.  After brainstorming ways I can improve my diet and identifying exercises I like doing, I start refining the ideas into detailed step-by-step items.  I organize the recipes and create weekly shopping lists.  I identify a time of day every day that I know I can workout consistently and I identify what kind of exercises I will do everyday.

A=Accountability/Act.  I commit to myself that I will be accountable for the success of this project. I also identify what kind of obstacles will impede my actions.   I know that I am 100% responsible for my weight-loss project and I won’t let myself sabotage my efforts when I get down and depressed about the struggles of losing weight.

Y=Yield.  As in yielding results. What results do I want to yield on a daily basis?  For some of my heavier clients, I would tell them to start slow; to just focus on one aspect of improving their health.  I often suggested they give up their daily candy bar or soda habit.  If they balked at that, then I would suggest they focus on just eating an apple a day.  Pretty soon, the desire for the daily candy bar was replaced with an apple.  At the end of the day, the results yielded was simply that an apple was consumed that day and a candy bar wasn’t.  That is a huge change in the long run.  I’ve read that just giving up a daily soda habit would result in an average weight loss of 12 pounds in a year.

That’s my basic formula.  If you’d like a more detailed, custom one designed for you, I do offer consultations to custom create a plan that fits your specific needs.  Feel free to contact me through email here.

The last thing I would recommend in accomplishing your weight loss project is to Pray. Prayer is an overlooked, but powerful tool.  There are many, many, books that talk about the power of prayer written by Ph.D’s and other medical and mental health professionals .  I will go more into this later.

Here’s to our success in losing weight!

“Think a good day; Plan a good day; Pray a good day.” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

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