“I did it. I lost 100 pounds.” That was the the thought that went through my head when I saw 169 appeared on my scale. After a year and a half of hard work I made this great landmark. With this great landmark I’ve often received questions. Random friends on Facebook message me about how desperate they are to lose X many pounds and how often they try and try but they couldn’t figure it out. They always asked me about “What diet are you doing?” or “What is your workout?” I’ve always had a hard time finding the answer to this because I never really had a “diet”. I did exercise, but I would often switch on and off. The truth of the matter is that I couldn’t give the credit to that. It was simply putting behavioral triggers, cues, and incentives in my life to motivate myself. Here are some rules that can help you lose 100 pounds.
1. Keep the right data in a place where you will always see it.
The first rule I abide by is weigh myself on a weekly basis and put it on chart at a place where I will always see it. I knew just measuring weight wouldn’t cut it because it’s not taking the account of fat loss. I have tracked numerous data but I figure there was only three things that really mattered: weight, body fat percentage and size.
At first I used calipers but they were just too hard to measure fat with. I decided to get a bio electrical scale to keep things easy. I stick with EatSmart Precision Scale. That covered my weight and body fat percentage. For size I got myself this body measuring tape. After that I would put the chart on my wall in my room. I would always see it and I would constantly be reminded to be healthy and go for a jog. When I logged in the data, if I gained body fat, went up in size or gained weight it would have an emotional effect on me. It was a kick in the butt to get my butt into gear.
2. Raise The Stakes For Yourself.
At some point in my weight loss I decided to reward myself. I’m a major nerd and I decided once a week if I kept to my goals I would treat myself with a Summoner Wars cards or a X-Wing miniature. This turned out to be big mistake. It really wasn’t motivating me. The reason it wasn’t working was because nothing would happen to me. I wasn’t losing anything. The reason I wasn’t committing to my goals is because everything would be ok if I didn’t achieve them.I needed to raise the stakes. New York University did a study to see if people work hardier for gaining or losing $15 dollars. It turns out that many more people work hardier for not losing money than gaining it. There were times I needed a kick in the butt. I gave my sister- in- law $20 and told her if I didn’t go run or if I didn’t go lift weights on that day, she could keep that $20. It worked beautifully. To this day she hasn’t kept a $20 bill.
I would also post my weight on Facebook to raise the social pressure. Whenever I didn’t post over a length of time I noticed friends and family would ask me “where is your post?”. I felt the pressure to always exercise and eat right so I could always show them that would lose or maintain my weight.
3. Path Of Least Resistance.
My third and final rule is that whatever you do above, keep it simple. The more barriers you put on yourself to reinforce your behavior the harder it is. When I first started I would do “sizes’ all over my body. I would do my thigh, arms, waist, stomach, chest, just so I could see how many sizes I went down. I noticed I would stop doing it. It just took too much time to do it, so then I simply stuck to one size- stomach size.
I would use calipers to measure my body fat but I kept on fussing with it. So I decided I needed a scale that measured my body fat. No more looking at charts, re-measuring my fat, and being frustrated on doing it wrong. All I had to do is step on a scale and let it to do the work for me. Less is more.
This is probably not the answer you wanted. I haven’t found the tastiest leanest diet or the easiest exercise. I found what really changes us is the small things. Incentives that makes us think twice, puts pressure on us, and rewards that motivate us. This is not a quick and easy “how to lose 100 pounds” post. So stop worrying about diet x and workout y and start worrying about how you can keep yourself accountable.
In the comments, tell me one rule you will (or have) stick to help you lose weight. Are you going to put a weight loss chart in your living room? Are you going to start a Biggest Loser Challenge with your friends? How about take a picture of your food before you eat it? Are you going to take a picture of your scale everyday and post it on Facebook? Let’s put our minds together to see what other ways we can shape our health!