Give yourself grace. Another thing I've learned is you have to give yourself grace. As women, we need to realize that our weight is heavily affected by our hormones. So if it's that time of the month or we are headed into menopause, it can affect our progress. If you are a person who has recently had surgery and have to take it easy, you'll be surprised how fast the weight can pile on, just because you may not be able to get up and walk around or move like you used to. All those things can make a huge difference in how many calories you burn or how well your metabolism processes. If you're under stress or have some sort of pain, it's easy to overeat to try to deal with that. Being in pain from my injured shoulder, the consequent surgery and recovery, and not being aware of how these things would affect me are to blame for my initial 40-pound weight gain two years ago.
Another area to give yourself grace in are the holidays. For instance, this year I knew it would be very difficult to lose weight and not feel deprived of the holiday goodies that would be around at work and at home. So my goal was to simply maintain by eating prudently for most meals during the holidays, exercising three times a week, but still enjoying the glass of wine, or small plate of cookies, or a couple of pieces of fudge as they made their way into my day. I gave myself five pounds to play with. When I weighed myself each morning and found that I was anywhere between three to five pounds up from my baseline, I would be extra careful in what I ate that day and throw in another exercise session. Because of all this, I have been successful in maintaining my weight loss during December and on New Year's Day weighed exactly the same as I did on December 1st, even though I sampled lots of goodies and saw my weight zigzag around a lot in that five-pound range!
I still have a long way to go. My next goal is to try to lose another 20 pounds by the end of my birthday month, March. I have some specific steps I'm planning to take, because 20 pounds in three months is a much higher goal than three pounds a month. My plan includes doing a month of maintenance in April, like I did in December before I do another big push. If you don't give yourself some leeway, you'll give up.
I hope these tips have been helpful and I wish you success and health in 2011. Please be sure to leave any comments or questions you may have!