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1) Get on the scale and weigh yourself. Take that number in. Own it. Then realize that it’s going to go DOWN so there’s no reason to feel shame or stress over it. You are not at fault for being fat. You are only at fault for staying that way.

2) Measure yourself. I only say this because you may lose inches, build muscle, and not change the number on the scale. It’s easy to get discouraged when you only have 1 number to look at (the scale). Measure yourself so you can track your progress in pounds and inches. I lost over 12 inches in my waist. When I look at a ruler and realize I lose that much in thickness it helps me remember that it’s not about how far I have to go. It’s all about far I’ve come.

3) Now you know how much you weigh and what your inches are. Write down your goal. What do you want to lose as an overall goal? What are your short term goals? Date it and track your progress. It will help keep you motivated.

4) Get a visual. Take a picture of yourself (front, side, and back) or have someone take one for you. Keep a progression of pictures as you lose to remind you of how far you’ve come. Another visual is to buy 2 jars and marbles or something to fill it up. Fill one jar with marbles-one marble for every pound you want to lose. Then as you lose, transfer the marbles into the other jar. Keep this in your kitchen as a reminder during those late night snack times. Another visual – put a picture of you on the fridge. A picture of you now, a picture of what you’re trying to get back to, a picture of a pair of jeans for the size you want to be. Whatever you pick, use this as a reminder of your goal and what you are trying to achieve so when Mr. or Ms. Negative gets on your shoulder you can flick them off and stay on track.

5) Separate your food. If you live with a spouse, friend, significant other, kids, don’t be tempted by “their food” and your food. Separate your food by putting it in your own cabinet so that you only look at healthy options and not the cabinets full of pop tarts and chips.

6) Buy a measuring cup or a food scale because these instruments are your friends. Start measuring your food so you can understand proportions. Whatever you eat, good or bad, realize the portion you are consuming.

7) Do an outer lap at the grocery store and stock up on veggies and fruit. Cut up your fruit and put it in baggies or Tupperware. Then put it in your fridge as your go-to snack.

8) Make your meal for the week and portion it out with a vegetable. Put these in Tupperware as a homemade TV dinner. It’s quick. It’s accessible. It’s cheaper and healthier than buying TV dinners. Then you won’t be tempted to go for pizza or pasta as a quick fix when you’re hungry.

9) Continue with the everyday meals you eat with your family, but before you add anything to your plate, fill at least half of the plate with a vegetable. Fill up on the vegetable before you fill up on the pasta or whatever else you are serving and you will eat less of it.

10) Download apps on your phone to help you lose weight. I use MyFitnessPal to track my foods and I have an assortment of apps on my phone to track weight loss and inches. It feels great going back to those apps after a few weeks and getting to lower the number. Not to mention most people have their phones on them constantly so it’s an easy way to keep track of your food.

11) Make a playlist on your phone or Ipod with music that makes you want to DANCE. Music is moving and makes us feel good. Adding a workout playlist will get you motivated to get into the gym.

12) Can’t afford a gym? Get outside. Grab canned foods in your cabinets and start working your arms. Chase your kids down the hallway doing lunges. It will probably make them laugh! Go up and down the stairs for 20 minutes.

Losing weight doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to completely restock your kitchen and you most definitely do NOT need to starve yourself. Even by adding a veggie to the meals you always cook is a healthy change. You don’t have to join a gym if you can’t afford it (see #12 again). I lost 30 pounds before I ever stepped a foot in a gym just by changing my food. Then as the pounds came off I got motivated to work out. So don’t put off weight loss thinking you can’t afford it. Weight loss and keeping it off is a lifestyle. The little things we change in our daily routines do add up and you will lose weight if you make healthy changes.

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