The Drevitches, Week 24: 8 Weight-Loss Tips That Just Might Work for You

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

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Benjamin and Natalie like to show they're fit, but don't much care if their parents are. Credit: Gary Drevitch

Since I decided to take part in the Healthy Families Challenge, a series of remarkable things have occurred.

I've lost 41 pounds. I've dropped at least seven inches from my waist. The Wii Fit Plus, that notorious BMI hardliner, told me I was "healthy." But, most amazingly, for someone who was until recently about nine years removed from being in any kind of shape, people -- multiple, real people -- have started asking me for weight-loss advice. Me!

I'd been deflecting the questions, but as I've thought about it more, I've realized that maybe I do have some tips on how to do this, if not suggested daily calorie counts.

So, here goes -- 8 weight-loss tips from someone who's been at this for six months:

1. START WHEN YOU ARE READY. If your doctor tells you tomorrow that you need to drop 50 pounds, well, you should get to work. But, otherwise, gauge whether, deep inside, you're ready to really make a change. I was at my old weight for a few years, but I don't think I was ready to do what I've just done, say, 18 or 24 months ago. Spouses, friends, even kids can tell you it's time, but only you know when you've had enough of being heavy to finally do something about it.

2. CAN'T KEEP TO A PLAN? DON'T TRY. If I had to count calories or tally food points every day, I'd go crazy. I know it works for lots of people, but if you're like me and can't imagine anything less fun that keeping a food diary, don't set yourself up for failure by starting one. Just learn enough about what diet plans are all about to apply their key points to your personal plan. (Spoiler alert: It's fewer carbs, more fruits and veggies, steady protein and smaller portions.)

3. EMBRACE CHANGE. You may be a twice-a-day meat-and-potatoes guy, or a bread-with-every-meal gal, and just can't envision life with a different menu. But you have to, because this doesn't work without a core change in what you eat. I replaced bagels with bran flakes, dropped chips for raisins, and replaced chocolate with nuts and berries. I didn't think it could ever stick, but it has.

4. STOP NEGOTIATING WITH YOURSELF. When it was time to give up my daily eggs-on-a-bagel breakfast, my regular overstuffed lunchtime wrap sandwich, my late-afternoon sweet treat and my double-starch-portion dinner, I gave them up. I didn't make Friday exceptions, or give myself greasy rewards for good behavior. Taking a hard line with yourself, at least in the early stages of your diet, is easier than having daily internal debates.

5. DON'T GIVE UP UNTIL YOU SEE RESULTS. This may sound like a zen koan, but positive reinforcement is the best motivator you'll ever have, and that's why you should stick with your lifestyle change until you see a couple of pounds come off the scale. Because once that happens, you won't want to go back.

6. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. I weigh myself regularly, but only if I can do so under these conditions -- soon after I wake up, before I eat or drink anything, and after I ... evacuate. If I can't meet those conditions, I don't get on the scale. It's a small thing, but it keeps my measurements consistent and gives me the best chance of seeing progress on any given day.

7. BELIEVE IN YOUR BODY. At my last checkup, just a couple of weeks before I started the Challenge, my doctor noted that my weight was creeping into an unhealthy section of his chart, but, he said, You've got a big build. Your body can probably carry the weight. It was a nice gesture, but wrongheaded. If I've learned anything, it's that bodies can be remade. Looking in the mirror at the things I'm doing in the gym cracks me up, it's so far from what I could do a year ago. People tell me I look taller and younger now, too, but of course I'm neither. Short of any medical issues you may face, your body can do what you want it to do, if you put in the work.

8. DO IT FOR YOUR KIDS, BUT DON'T EXPECT THEM TO CHEER YOU ON. My children -- Benjamin, 10; Natalie, 8; and Adam, 4 -- remain pretty much the only people in my life who haven't made mention of my weight loss. They claim they don't notice, beyond the fact that I'm leaving more cookies and bagels untouched for them. I've decided it means they'd love me no matter what size I was -- and not that they've already stopped paying attention to me altogether ....

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.

How is the Drevitch family doing? Check in on their progress!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.