After reaching a new high score on the scale following the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight so I wouldn’t turn 40 in the worst shape of my life. I had roughly eight weeks to achieve my goal. My life was busy — as a business owner, volunteer board member, and mother of two active pre-teen children — so time was a precious resource. I felt I didn’t have space in my days to increase my gym time, so I decided to focus on my diet.
I successfully lost 15 pounds in six weeks, and turned 40 looking and feeling great. Here’s what worked for me:
- Being Conscious — The first step towards changing a situation is awareness. I don’t generally give much thought to my weight, so when I learned my 5′ 3″ body was now 150 pounds, I became conscious that my choices were not serving me.
- Being Positive — Instead of berating myself, I reminded myself how much I love and appreciate my body, my health and my vitality when I’m at my ideal weight, and I used these positive feelings to motivate myself every day.
- Being Open — I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, so I went online to research various approaches to diet, nutrition and losing weight healthfully.
- Being Objective — Understanding that my body is an accumulation of my choices, I reviewed my diet over the previous few weeks through the lens of an observer — no judgment, just the facts — and concluded I was taking in: Too many calories from beverages; alas, I love red wine and lattes; too many processed carbohydrates; I have a weakness for bread and pasta; too many dairy products; I don’t drink milk, but cheese is my favorite snack; too many servings of red meat; I live with three men…enough said; too many convenience meals. This was a biggie. As a busy family, we were eating at restaurants or getting takeout several nights a week.
- Being Creative — I needed to generate new alternatives, so when I encountered choices throughout my busy day, I already knew how to choose differently. For instance, I decided to choose soups and salads instead of sandwiches for lunch (even fast food joints have salads now), more seafood and chicken instead of beef and pork for dinner, and I cut dairy out of my diet completely by giving up cheese and substituting coconut milk for cream and sugar in my coffee.
- Being Prepared — I planned every meal for the coming week before I went grocery shopping to make sure I had appropriate foods that could be prepared quickly to avoid the lure of convenience meals. I set aside an hour on Sundays to make homemade soups for lunch and hardboiled eggs for breakfast that were easy to grab and go on busy weekday mornings, and I kept travel-friendly fruit and nuts in my purse in case I needed a snack.
- Being Committed — I weighed myself every morning and used an app to record what I ate throughout the day to remain conscious of my progress and support positive choices. And when I made the inevitable slip, I didn’t use it as an excuse to throw away the day. I gave myself a pep talk to get my head back in the game.
- Being Supported — Before I began, I took the time to explain to my family, friends and co-workers what my goal was, why it was important to me, and how they could support me. As I progressed toward my goal, I started receiving positive feedback, which further fueled my desire to continue making the choices I had committed to.
By investing less than 15 minutes per day on average, I was able to lose 10 percent of my body weight in just a few weeks. It wasn’t always convenient, but the Big 4-0 was a great source of inspiration. I’m still as busy as ever, but now I’m a healthier weight, too!