An entire year’s worth of personal, winning weight loss, and keep-it-off tips from Prevention readers.
24. Use nervous energy. When you’re under stress, your body releases adrenaline in anticipation of either fighting or fleeing. But in combating everyday stress, that biological response can urge you to eat. When Robert Kim, 36, took up running to deal with pressure, he lost 45 pounds.
25. Breathe, don’t gasp. LisaKay Wojcik, 33, was so overweight and out of shape that 2 minutes’ worth of low-impact aerobics left her so breathless that she called 911. A doctor at the hospital told her that she was breathing incorrectly. “He told me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth while exercising, and to exhale harder to force a deeper inhale. This sends more oxygen to the muscles.” Two years later, LisaKay had lost 215 pounds and gone from a size 36 to a size 2.
26. Catch up to reading. Books on tape helped Rebecca Harding, 49, run off 68 pounds and keep it off for 15 years. “I played the tapes only when I was running,” she says. “Recently, when I ran to a tape of The Horse Whisperer, I went almost 9 miles up a steep hill in the rain!”
27. Stretch out. At 220 pounds, Melissa MacKinnon, 33, decided to try yoga. “It looked so relaxing and easy, so perfect for my imperfect body,” she says. Melissa’s energy level soared, and as she became more attuned to her body, she began to crave vegetables, not chocolate. She replaced refined sugars with whole grains. “As yoga rewired my mind, I learned to take better care of my body,” she says. Melissa’s held to her 60-pound weight loss for 7 years.
28. Get out. Sharon Evans, 38, got involved in orienteering (a sport where you find your way using only a compass and a map) to improve her navigational skills for backpacking. Being out in the fresh air replaced eating in front of the TV. As her orienteering skills grew, her waistline shrank. Pounds lost: 20.
29. Phone-ercise. When Jeri Jefferis, now 57, left her job as a phys ed instructor, she worried about regaining the 30 pounds she had lost earlier. With two small children, she was hard-pressed to find time to work out. Then she realized that chatting with friends, listening to phone solicitations, even being put on hold were opportunities to keep in shape. “Sometimes I’d simply pace the floor. Other times, I’d do squats or leg lifts. If I hadn’t started doing that, I know I’d have a weight problem today.”
30. Act out. Kirie Pedersen’s job was making her fat. “Virtually every day for 6 years, I was glued to a chair,” says the 48-year-old. Kirie began stretching in the morning. She swung her arms vigorously when she walked. “I’d also set a timer to go off every hour,” she says. “That was my cue: For 15 minutes, I’d squat, skip, wiggle, dance–whatever I felt like doing–just like kids do.” A year later, Kirie was 40 pounds slimmer, wearing a size 6 instead of a 14.
31. Turn a La-Z-Boy into a Busy-Boy. Lynn Oatman, 48, doesn’t relax when she sits down. She hoists a pair of dumbbells up and down for about half an hour while watching TV. “I’ve gone from somebody who could barely lift a 10-pound bag of potatoes to bench-pressing 75 pounds. It makes me feel powerful,” she boasts. Lynn has dropped 60 pounds in 2 years.
32. Shape a new body. Watching a bodybuilding competition on TV 20 years ago spurred Sharon Turrentine–who had not exercised in years–to head for the gym. “Five pounds was the most that I could lift when I started,” recalls Sharon, 55. “Now I bench-press more than 100 pounds.”
Within 3 years, Sharon dropped four dress sizes. The person who’d once undressed in her closet decided to show off her 5’2″, 109-pound body in competition. Over the years, she’s brought home 15 trophies.
Binge-Proof Your Life
“But then I remembered something from Overeaters Anonymous: ‘If you get your head straight, your body will follow.'” The next day, Jeanette brewed a cup of herbal tea as soon as she walked through the door. Then she curled up to relax and recharge. Her teatime became a treasured ritual and stopped the munchies. She took off 140 pounds and has maintained her weight loss for more than 18 years.
38. Grab a magazine. When the fridge calls Cynthia Herrmann, 48, she picks up a magazine or newspaper. “If I still feel hungry after reading for 15 minutes, I eat. But I often get so absorbed that 30 minutes fly by, and the craving’s gone,” she says. Pounds lost: 90.
39. Follow the beat. Bingeing was Mark Maron’s way to deal with a work crisis, a fight with a loved one, or anything else that made him feel bad.
One day, Mark, 36, decided to skip his usual fast-food place and head for the music store. “I picked out two CDs, including one featuring my favorite song, ‘Born to Be Alive,'” he recalls. He got so pumped up that he forgot about food and headed for the gym. That habit eventually erased 25 pounds.
Talk Yourself Thin
40. Carry a pen. “I was tired of compliments that stopped at my face,” says Juanita Dillard, a 37-year-old makeup artist who weighed 274 pounds. “I was constantly surrounded by thin, gorgeous models, and I wanted to be like them.”
Juanita started writing about her stress instead of feeding it. Within a year and a half, she dropped from a size 24 to a size 6. One time, halfway through a binge brought on by the stress of losing her pet, Juanita reached into her purse and felt her journal. Out it came, and she started writing. After putting her feelings down on paper, her desire to eat was gone. “Journalizing has become my no-cal stress buster,” she says.
Make Motivation Easy
44. Revisit the pits. When Beth Linden, who’d lost 100 pounds, slipped back to her old habits and regained 15 pounds, she pulled out the audiotape that documented the worst moment of her life. “I could hear my voice quiver as I described meeting my daughter’s friend, who said, ‘I didn’t know your mommy was fat.’ I hated putting my daughter in such an awkward situation; I felt lonely and empty. I was embarrassed to shop for clothes. I hated myself back then and didn’t want to go back there,” recalls Beth, 39. The tape turned her around and has kept her on the weight loss track for more than 5 years.
45. Schedule nudges. Bevan Brooks, 22, used a calendar full of motivational “carrots” to shed 20 pounds. “I would remind myself of parties, trips, sporting events, visitors from out of town, and weddings in the weeks and months ahead,” she says. “Every time I’d consider bagging a workout or eating pepperoni pizza, I’d remind myself of an upcoming event. How I looked meant more to me than any piece of pizza.”
46. Take a time-out. “I relaxed my strict dietary rules on weekends, and I stopped feeling deprived,” says Helene Gullaksen, 35. “When a craving hits during the week, I tell myself, ‘This isn’t the last time I can eat this food,’ and it helps me walk away from whatever is tempting me.” Pounds lost: 50.
47. Be blunt (with yourself). Oprah Winfrey and her personal trainer, Bob Greene, inspired 300-pound Tawni Gomes to start exercising when the 34-year-old met Greene at a book signing. “I heard another woman ask him how she was supposed to find time to exercise with four kids, a house, and a full-time job,” recalls Tawni. “Bob looked her straight in the eye and said, ‘You’re not ready to lose weight.’ I was shocked, but realized that I was making identical excuses.
Everybody has the same number of hours in a day. If people busier than I can find time to exercise, so can I.” The next morning, Tawni got up early to walk. It was the start of what would become a daily ritual. Pounds lost: 125.
48. Cover the clock. Some nights, Mitch Lipka, 34, could barely look at his stationary bike, let alone ride it. Then he developed the diversionary tactic of throwing a towel or T-shirt over the timer to concentrate on something else. He’d get so lost in thought that the time was up before he even knew it. Now he never misses a session. Pounds lost: 200.
49. Do 10, then switch. Whenever Cheryl Allard, 50, goes to the gym, she uses one machine for 10 minutes, then moves on to something else. This boredom-beating strategy worked so well that Cheryl started going to the gym 6 days a week. Within a year, she took off 100 pounds.
50. Showcase “before” photos. Both Julia Ferraro, 37, and her mother, Adelaide, were 5’2″ tall and weighed 205 pounds. A family picture brought them to tears. “You can know that you’re getting bigger, but it doesn’t hit you until you look at a picture of yourself,” says Julia. Instead of stashing the photo out of sight, they agreed to display it prominently for weight loss motivation. Since that shot was taken, the two have lost a combined 90 pounds and five dress sizes-and they’ve added a new, beaming mother/daughter photo to their tabletop gallery.
51. Be your own coach. Jeanann Pock, 29, had trouble getting up early to walk until she read a quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi: “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-the-time thing.” Says Jeanann, “I realized that I had to win every little battle along the way-including the skirmishes with my alarm clock. I had to think like a winner to become one.” Now, Jeanann throws off the covers every morning. Pounds lost: 85.
52. Celebrate every victory.Susan DeFusco ultimately managed to shed 100 pounds, but day-to-day, she focused on losing just the next 5. Each time she accomplished one of those baby steps, she would reward herself with a bubble bath or an exercise tape. “You need to look at each 5-pound loss as something worth celebrating,” advises the 38-year-old.
From prevention.com, originally from Anne Alexander.