January 12, 2008 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Want to lose weight and keep it off for good? I’ve said it before: it’s simple, but it sure isn’t easy. We all know what we need to do: take in fewer calories than we expend. That can be done by eating less than we burn or by burning more calories than we take in or a combination of both. The combination technique is ideal because it minimizes the pain associated with the changes by spreading them out. You’re eating less but not too much; you’re exercising more but not too much.

For most of us, getting started with losing weight is not hard. We pick our diet, throw out the “bad” foods, stock up on the “good” foods, and we’re off! The first couple of weeks are exhilarating as we enjoy the excitement of starting something new and rewarding. Plus, weight typically comes off fairly quickly in the beginning as the body reacts to the shock of the change.

However, right around the third week, momentum frequently wanes. Our bodies have started to adjust. The thrill of starting down the road to the “new and improved you” wears off. We’re left with the day-in, day-out, not-so-fun regimen of eating less and exercising more.

That’s where ‘sticktoitiveness’ comes in. What is ‘sticktoitiveness’? According to, it’s defined as “dogged perseverance; resolute tenacity.” Ugh! Sounds rather unpleasant, doesn’t it? Well, when you get right down to it, it is somewhat unpleasant. It’s not fun to have to limit your food intake when you really want that piece of chocolate cake or to exercise when you just want to cozy up with a good book. When you don’t feel like doing something, it’s hard to motivate yourself. That’s where the tenacity comes in.

I know whereof I write. I have lost 114 pounds through day-in, day-out ‘sticktoitiveness’. It took me four very long years to lose 100 pounds and then another year to lose 14 more, but I did it. I lost the weight while going through a painful divorce, while living with others for nearly a year, while changing jobs three times, and while having to replace my car three times. They have been five crazy, challenging years, and the only thing that kept me heading towards my weight loss goal was ‘sticktoitiveness’.

My ‘dogged perseverance’ took a couple of different forms, and these are methods I continue to use to this day to maintain my loss. I weigh myself daily and record it. I keep a daily food journal and write down absolutely everything I consume, including vitamins. (Did you know that vitamins and supplements can contain a significant number of calories? Read your labels.) I exercise five days a week, and I write that down, too. I’m flexible, though, with my exercise. If I’m not feeling up to doing cardio, then I’ll do a strength workout or a Pilates DVD. As long as I do something physical, I am achieving my goal.

I also keep a “Yay!” book. It’s my way of congratulating myself as I progress toward my goal. Each evening, I write down the things I’ve done well that day, whether it’s drinking 3 cups of green tea or refusing a slice of birthday cake at work. It’s a means of recognizing the baby steps. Losing a pound or two isn’t going to result in a shopping spree for smaller clothes, so the “Yay!” book celebrates the little achievements that lead to big milestones.

When I’m challenged to stay on track, I remind myself of how far I’ve come and focus on only the day in front of me. I don’t overwhelm myself with the weeks and months ahead. When I fall off the wagon, so to speak, I start the next day fresh as though nothing happened the day before.

‘Sticktoitiveness’ isn’t sexy. It’s not a magic bullet. But, if you practice it, it will get the job done, and you will lose weight and keep it off.


Entry filed under: tips & techniques, Weight Loss Philosophy. Tags: , .

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