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In this week’s Podcast, I share some “amazing hacks” for losing weight and keeping it off. We all know that losing weight is difficult. We are tempted to give up. But take it from me–it can be done! I lost 95 lbs. and have kept it off for several years. I’m not a weight loss expert, a doctor, or a nutritionist. But, I am living proof.

Ten Amazing “Hacks” for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off, That Have Worked for Me.

The Mindset for Life podcast is focused on tools for healthy, happy living so you can show up with confidence and live the best version of you. One of those areas is health and well-being.

Today, I’d like to talk about hacks for losing weight and keeping it off. These are not based on research, and I am not a medical practitioner, a diet therapist, or a nutritionist. So, I don’t have actual expertise in this field. My expertise comes from the fact that about four years ago, I lost 95 pounds. And, I have maintained my weight loss since that time.

So, my expertise is personal, and not everything that works for me will work for you. But I do want to share with you what I’ve learned in hopes that it will bless your life.

Hack #1: Take “Selfies,” All the Time

The first hack for losing weight and keeping it off, unbelievably, is the art of the “selfie.”

A you are on a weight loss program, it is critical to take selfies all the time, especially when beginning your weight loss, and before you have really lost any weight at all.

If you use an app like “My Fitness Pal,” there’s an option in there where you can put a beginning photo next to a current photo. And, almost on a daily basis, you could go in there, see your initial weight and  your face (or your entire profile if you choose to photograph yourself that way) next to your face and your profile you (however you choose to photograph that) now.

You can see a picture I took on My Fitness Pal on my website. If you go to DrBCoach.Com and click on the “About page,” you are going to see a face-shot of me before I lost weight, and me pretty recently.

Before and After Weight Loss Image Image from the My Fitness Pal app.

So, that’s what the selfies look like when you do them in My Fitness Pal. And, I choose to take face shots. Every once in a while, I’ll take a full-length photo of myself so I can really compare and check that out.

Those are super motivating when I’m tempted to give up on maintaining weight loss. I can look at the difference between 95-pound-larger me, and now. And, I can say, “Okay, it’s worth maintaining that.” And I can realize that I do appreciate where I’m at, and I want to stay there.

Hack #2: Be Firm with Limits, and Plan Ahead

Another amazing hack for losing weight and keeping it off is to be firm about setting and keeping your own limits. Never, ever waiver until you plan for it.

If you let yourself give in on a moment’s notice, you’re going to keep giving in. And, soon, you have no diet plan at all.

One of the best ways to avoid doing this is to plan the day before.

When I was in the biggest weight-loss phase of my own dieting, I would buy a lot of chicken, cook it all, measure it out in 4 oz. or 3 ½ oz. segments, and freeze it in these little bags. Then, on those days that I was making a family meal and I couldn’t eat that meal, I would just pop that chicken in a frying pan to warm it up with some veggies, and I was set.

Chicken in Frying Pan

So, preparing ahead of time will help you to be firm about setting and keeping your own limits, so that you can never waiver until you plan for it.

Now, if you plan for it, totally okay, right?

But, if you don’t plan for it, and you get off the diet and eat something that doesn’t really help you, it might cause some psychological drama for you, because it is going cause you gain weight, it might cause inflammation that actually makes you look puffier than the weight you have gained, and it can make you stop believing in your ability to do this.

And, maybe you will start thinking the diet plan is not to work for you.

So, don’t let yourself down. Be firm.

Hack #3: Don’t “Should” Yourself About Exercise

The third amazing hack for losing weight and keeping it off I’m sharing today is a mental game: Don’t “should” about exercise. If you’re going to exercise, do it because it becomes motivating, not to lose weight.

We know that exercise can help us lose weight. Especially if we are doing a lot of calorie-burning activities, like strength training, aerobics, a lot of cardiovascular… things like that.

We all have different kinds of bodies though, and certain kinds of exercises will work for some of us to lose weight, and for others not so much. Now, I did one of those DNA kits from Ancestry.com, and then I went on some other website and put my data in there, so I could find out about my health level on my DNA. And, one of these was a profile about all the different health and wellness areas (these are not intended to be a medical diagnostic tool).

I was surprised to learn that this website suggested that my genetics meant that I could exercise for my well-being, but I was very unlikely to ever lose weight from exercise.

And how could this possibly be? I didn’t know that was a genetic thing. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But I didn’t like reading that. And, I’m not sure that it’s a healthy way to approach exercise–thinking it’s never going to help you lose weight.

Either way, don’t “should” on yourself about exercise. If you do, you’ll be mentally beating yourself up, constantly, when you don’t exercise, if you miss a day, or if you just don’t spend very much time on it, If you want to exercise, do it because it becomes motivating.

Image of two women running Photo by Brett Sayles

Hack #4: Like and Love Yourself NOW.

Let’s go to number four of the amazing hacks for losing weight and keeping it off. This one, I think, is probably the most important one. I probably should have mentioned it first.

Like and love yourself right now, as you are.

Image of woman smiling Photo by Matthias Cooper

If you don’t like yourself now, you will not like yourself any better when you are lean and lighter.

Weight loss is not a journey towards feeling differently (unless you participate in coaching and/or counseling during the process).

If you believe you’ll be happier when you lose weight, you are wrong. If you are not happy now, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be happy when you’ve lost weight.

That may surprise a lot of people and really surprised me.

I actually kind of thought that I’d be like my younger self, 25 years ago. I was a bit ridiculous. Yes, I did have a little more energy, and I did see the world a little better. But in general, I liked myself about the same as I did when I started.

So, the best thing to do is really put the time into liking and loving yourself right now, as you are.

Hack #5: Do Many Good Things.

The next hack for losing weight and keeping it off is: Choose to do many good things (also known as: “step into your power.”)

Do not wait for the heavens to open and give you all the answers. Don’t wait for some magical phenomenon to happen and tell you who you are meant to be in the world. Do your best now.

Act on what you know. Reflect. Begin authoring your story the best you can, and make it a great one! Don’t wait for permission to act in your own life.

So, if there are dreams you have right now, things you’d like to achieve, a person you just want to be, start being that person right now.

Step into your power, now.

Do many good things.

Don’t wait for later.

Image of mug with adventure begins noted Photo by Simon Migaj

Hack #6: Learn About and Focus on Your Strengths.

The next hack for losing weight and keeping it off is to learn about and focus on your strengths.

You are enough. Just show up as you are.

You have some pretty amazing strengths, and I would guarantee that your strengths are very different from my strengths.

That’s a good thing.

We all need to be in this world. Right? I need you to be in this world, and you need me to be in this world. We all have to be here, because we benefit each other with the strengths that we bring.

So, learn about and focus on your strengths, and then you can bring them out a lot more and feel more confident.

Image of woman painting Photo by bridgesward

Hack #7: Manage Your Own Feelings

The next amazing hack for losing weight and keeping it off is to manage your own feelings. It is so easy to project feelings onto other people, such as thinking someone made us happy, someone made us angry, someone made us sad.

But the truth is: WE are the people who make us feel anything. Our thoughts lead to our feelings. Others can certainly have an impact on us. They can invite us to feel a certain way. They can influence us. But really, we are the person in charge of our feelings.

Image of emojis Photo by AbsolutVision

Right now, manage and own your feelings. Understand them. Learn about them. That will help you learn to not give in to emotional eating or return to old habits once you have maintained your weight loss or attain the goal that you’re aiming for.

Hack #8: Let Go of Managing Others’ Feelings

The next hack for losing weight and keeping it off is to let go of others’ feelings.

How many times have we really tried to help someone else feel happy? Make someone else happy? Make someone else feel excited, or vulnerable, or open, or willing, or interested, or something?

Have you ever tried to motivate a child? You know what I’m talking about here.

Okay, we cannot actually make someone else feel something. We can definitely invite, influence, and so forth, just as I mentioned with managing our own feelings. But, if you let go of managing others’ feelings, you are going to be free to focus on what you need to do to lose the weight and keep it off.

So, it’s critical that we let go of that.

Hack #9: Meticulously Track Details.

The next hack for losing weight and keeping it off is to meticulously plan ahead, track your eating, get lots of sleep, measure your body fat percentage (with one of those little handheld tools you can buy on Amazon), measure your weight all the time, and be really in charge of inflammation.

Inflammation is something I learned about during this lengthy weight-loss process. Inflammation is like when your body has something that doesn’t work for it, and your body reacts by retaining water. So maybe your face gets puffy. You feel sluggish. Things all over your body just sort of swell up a little bit.

This could be like if you eat a lot of bread, and if you have sort of an intolerance for lots of floury foods. You could be inflamed, but maybe it’s not an allergy.

I have this problem myself, so I really can’t eat a lot of flour or refined sugar without causing inflammation. There can be some foods that may be cause sensitivity for you. Or, if you fail to drink enough water, inflammation again can happen.

Again, be meticulous. You must think it out, even if you’re not normally a planner. Otherwise, it’s difficult to be successful long-term at losing weight and keeping it off.

My Fitness Pal is really an awesome app for that. I highly recommend it. You can jot down your food. It’s got a scanner where you can scan the barcode on a piece of packaged food you have bought at the store. You can put meals from restaurants into it. It’s very easy to use.

Sleep. I noticed, myself, that I actually gain weight at times when I don’t get enough sleep.

Why does this happen? It’s because cortisol turns on in the brain, so our body reacts in all these crazy ways. And, even if you are really counting calories, exercising, and doing all these great things, it can be very difficult to make the scale budge and make any weight go down at all if you’re depriving yourself of sleep.

The body fat percentage thing is helpful. This tool is great for checking your body fat percentage and your BMI. If you monitor these and keep them in a journal–if you have a Fitbit device or something like that, a lot of times the apps will ask for body fat percentage when you enter your weight on them—you can log them together, or keep it in a little notebook.

But, if you’re really making an effort to lose weight, and you’re frustrated because maybe you’re weighing the same several days in a row and there’s no change on the scale, you might be surprised if you start checking your body fat percentage.

Even if you are not losing weight consistently, you might be losing body fat. This is a helpful consolation. And, just more information to help you stay on track.

Hack #10: Exercise Faith and Hope. Believe Your Efforts Will Work Now, and In the Future.

And the last one. This is number 10 on my 10 amazing hacks for losing weight and keeping it off list.

Exercise faith and hope.

Faith is the belief that things are going to work out now. That things are going to go well now.

Sweatshirt with phrase Photo by Rangga Aditya Armien

And, hope is the belief that things will go well in the future.

Faith would be believing that if you are consistent and continue to do these things today and tomorrow, eventually you’re going to lose weight.

Hope is looking long-term at the fact that if you will consistently do these things, eventually you will reach your goal.

I know that the brain plays tricks on us. It’s so easy to want to give up on a plan because we spent 5 or 10 days at the same weight. We have skipped the birthday cake, the wedding cake, the ice cream. Maybe it’s even an awesome steak dinner. And, we skipped those things so we could eat our diet food, or whatever it is. And, we’re starting to feel deprived.

So, we’re not as happy about this as we could be. If we can lean on faith and hope that what we’re doing is worthwhile, that is good for us and can help us get to the goal we want, then we can also start envisioning the future of those things that we’re going to do when we reach that goal.

Closing Thoughts: Look Forward to Something

I don’t know about you, but I had something I really, really wanted to do before I ever started losing weight. That is, I wanted to go in one of those Ifly indoor skydiving places and do indoor skydiving. I was in Las Vegas one time when I was my overweight self, and that place had a weight limit for women. I was well above that weight limit. I thought: “I always wanted to go in the indoor skydiving place. This would be cool.”

But I was devastated to read that literally I could never do that unless I totally lost weight.

So, as I was losing weight years later, I was in West Virginia going to work event, and I drove by an Ifly place on the side of the road. And, I thought, “Next year, I’m to go do that.”

So, when I reached my weight goal, I got together some of my colleagues, and we all went to Ifly. And, I did the indoor skydiving.

indoor skydiving image Image taken at iFly

It’s good to think about things you might want to do when you have lost weight that would be more accessible and choose some kind of reward like that. It doesn’t have to be big, but something worth aiming for.

There can be joy in this journey, even though it’s a very depravation-oriented thing at times. There are also things that we benefit from when we are losing weight and keeping it off.

Keep a log of those things. look over your list to remind yourself of why you want to do this to help keep yourself motivated.

I wish you all the best. Again, I say these 10 amazing hacks are just from my own experience. I hope you benefit from them.

Please stop by my Facebook page and share some of your tips. We all appreciate it when you share ideas with us!

All the best to you.