5. PAY ATTENTION!
Sounds pretty basic, right? But it's easy to forget, especially when a bit of success finally arrives. When you first start your life changing journey, you are excited. Motivated. Enthusiastic. Full of confidence.
And you start losing weight! Cool, right? So you keep on working. You keep logging. You get up early to walk, or lift, or do your preferred activity. And the weight drops a bit more.
You try a new recipe that you found on Twitter. You consciously (and politely) refuse that sweet roll at the office. The next day, you notice that your belt is a little loose. Sweet! A non-scale victory!
About the fourth or fifth week, the scale starts to show smaller weekly losses. But that's okay, you know that everything is still working. Then one day you eat that sweet roll at the office. No worries, you know that you will run an extra mile when you get home. But when you get home, you find that the dog has gotten into the garbage, and by the time you get everything cleaned up, you decide to scrap the evening's run and just get up a bit earlier tomorrow morning.
When you arise in the morning, it is a little cool and you decide to stay under the covers a little too long. When you eventually get up, you feel a bit guilty about eating yesterday's donut and not running. You decide to not get on the scale because you don't want to see a gain.
After work that night you decide to stop at your favorite Chinese place for a take-out of General Tso's chicken. It's really good and you eat most of it. (Okay, you really eat it all.) When you wake up, you notice your wedding ring is tight. You know that it was last night's meal, full of sodium. No matter, it's just a little water weight. However you don't get on the scale, because even though it is only water weight, you don't want to be demoralized by the gain.
That is the pattern that is very common. Early success leads to careless behaviors, and the problem is then compounded by lack of monitoring. You weren't paying attention!
You aren't alone. It is common. But it is correctable. You need to PAY ATTENTION. Contrary to what many people say, I believe daily weights are important. While I know that our bodies like to play little games on us (weight gains after a particularly good day of eating, losses after a binge) if you check your weight every day, at the same time each day, wearing the same clothes (or none), over the long term the scale will show you your valid trend. And seeing those small increases will help you keep a closer eye on what you eat. That small gain might give you the motivation to run when you say you are going to run and to decline that sweet roll at the office. And the losses you see will reward and reinforce your good behaviors.
But that only happens when you pay attention. Everyday.
By the way: Paying attention also applies to cooking. I recently made some chicken enchiladas under the broiler. I put then in the oven and got busy doing stuff around the house. They should have come out at 8 minutes. At 12 minutes, I smelled something burning.
FYI: topping burned enchiladas with cheese does not make them look--or taste--any better.
Paying attention to everything in your life takes time. But it is always worth it.