Dr. Cheryl Woodson

Setting Up a Healthy Weight Routine that WILL Work

You don’t have to love it; you just have to do it because your body WILL love it (and so will your clothes.)

Write a 3- day food log. Record EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth, including every piece of gum, every swallow of water. Your weight will start dropping immediately; you won’t eat it because you won’t want to write it down! BUT this action will make you aware of how much, how often, in what places, and at what times you usually eat, as well as identify the stressors that make you munchy. Once you recognize your vulnerable points, you can plan to avoid, or control them.

Surround yourself with the right stuff. Once you’ve chosen, or had a nutritionist design a healthy eating plan, go through your fridge and cupboards; throw out, or donate everything that isn’t on the plan. Make sure you’re not hungry when you shop for good groceries, and stick to your shopping list.

You have to monitor something. I’m an immediate gratification kinda gal. Instead of counting calories and fat grams, I like to follow results. If you chose to weigh yourself, get on the scale only once every week. First thing Monday morning works best; weekend overeating is less likely when you have to face the scale at the beginning of the week, without any catch-up days. Show your weight change by putting a chart on the fridge, next to your mirror, by your closet door, or any other place that makes you remember why you’re doing this. Use graph paper, so each box can show how much your weight changed that week. The X (horizontal) axis shows weeks, and the Y (vertical) shows pounds. You don’t have to broadcast your actual weight, just put your first dot all the way at the top. Next week, if your weight goes down 2 pounds, put that week’s dot down 2 boxes. If weight goes up 2 pounds, go up 2 boxes. When you shed pounds, connect the dots with ink in your favorite color, but if you gained a few, use the color your mama made you wear all the time, even though you hated it. No matter where you are, when you’re about to violate your commitment to healthy eating, your mind will see that ugly color ink and decide not to go there.

Keep on track with “low-fat” clothes. This is another way to monitor. Buy a pair of jeans just one size too small and try them on once a week. When you can get them over your hips, button, zip, breathe, walk, and be seen decently outside of your house, buy a pair in the next lower size. Keep it up until you reach your goal, but donate all oversized clothing. You are NOT going back.

Work with a professional. Certified personal trainers design exercise programs for your level of fitness and teach you to perform each exercise correctly. This avoids injury. They add variation, so you don’t get bored, and adjust the program as your fitness level improves, so you won’t stall and get discouraged.
Find your pack. Find a group of people with whom have mutual affection, trust, and concern that each one’s progress affects the others; if you stumble, your sister falls. That may be enough make you eat well, or exercise even when you’re not feelin’ it. Work out together, or at least, meet or talk with your group at least weekly. Share your graphs (it’s okay; nobody knows anybody’s actual weight.) If a craving attacks you, call your partners. If they can’t talk you out of it, maybe they’ll split it with you, so you only eat ¼ instead of the whole thing.

Get started today. You WILL come to like the extra energy you feel, and the way the mirror looks back at you.

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