“Are these really MY jeans?” I wondered aloud as I struggled to squeeze one leg and then the next into my favorite denim on the first cool day of fall. Surely I had grabbed a pair of my daughter’s jeans by accident. Twisting awkwardly to check the tag, my heart sunk. Yep, they were my jeans.
“I probably washed them in hot water,” I reasoned as I made my way to the bathroom scale. Thankfully, there was no one in the house to hear my chin hit the floor when I saw the number. I stepped off and back on … just to make sure. A summer of slacking in my fitness routine had resulted in unexpected weight gain.
Having gained and lost weight before, I knew exactly what to do.
Step One: Get Honest
I took a long, hard look at my behavior over the summer to figure out where I’d gone wrong. I admitted that yes, I had been very inconsistent in my fitness routine. With the kids out of school, trips to the ice cream shop only served to compound the problem.
Whatever the reason for your weight gain, don’t be afraid to face it. If you aren’t honest with yourself, it can be more difficult to make the necessary changes.
Step Two: Set a Goal
With cooler weather approaching, I knew I didn’t have much time to get back in my jeans. And, I certainly wasn’t going to wear yoga pants for the entire winter. So, I set a goal to lose 10 pounds in six weeks.
At just over 1.5 pounds per week, I knew this goal was realistic and achievable for me. But, it may not be a realistic goal for you. Only you know your body and level of motivation.
Step Three: Find Accountability
I confessed my slip-up to my husband and told him about my goal. Trusted friends also make wonderful cheerleaders in your weight loss efforts.
If you don’t have someone you can rely on to support you, there are online accountability groups through websites such as SparkPeople.com and groups that meet in person. I know many women who reached their goals through programs like Weight Watchers that offer weekly weigh-ins and opportunities for group discussion and moral support.
Step Four: Count Calories
Maintaining my weight has always boiled down to this one key strategy — keeping track of what I eat. I use the MyFitnessPal app on my smartphone to track my calorie intake.
Online calculators can help you establish a reasonable calorie goal. FitWatch offers an excellent calculator that provides five daily calorie options depending on how much weight you want to lose and how quickly you want to lose it.
Step Five: Establish a Consistent Fitness Routine
I like to run for fitness, but realized that over the summer I hadn’t made it a priority. To get myself back on track, I made a workout calendar. As I progressed through each week, I crossed off the workouts and celebrated as I got closer and closer to my weight loss goal.
Following these steps, I made it back into my favorite jeans. If I had been paying attention, the weight gain might not have surprised me in the first place. Even though I reached my initial goal, I’m sticking to the five steps that got me here. After all, the holidays are right around the corner!
Sudden or unexpected weight gain can also be a symptom of a more serious health problem. If you are unable to lose the weight or experiencing other symptoms that concern you, please contact your physician.
More from Tarissa:
My Smartphone is My Personal Trainer
5 Juicing Tips from a Picky Eater
Making Friends with Your Treadmill