I'm not a doctor, nutritionist or trainer. I'm an ordinary woman who lost a lot of weight, more than 60 pounds in a year, after trying and failing at every diet under the sun. I'd fail because I always gave up too quickly. So as I set out on this new journey, one I viewed as mandatory, I realized that what I put in my head would be more powerful than what I put in my mouth. I needed a mental plan to go with my meal plan.
Anyone who wants to lose weight knows she should eat less, move more and cut out foods that have made her fat. For me, I chose to strictly limit carbs because it's cut-and-dried with no ambiguity. I now eat a fraction of the food that I used to, but I don't walk around starving.
My mind shift took plenty of creativity, and still does. I was up for the challenge, which sometimes is an hourly struggle, but in the end, the results were worth it.
I share all of my tips in my new book,"The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight & Discovered a Happier Life." Here are seven "Shift" tips that still work for me:
Weigh yourself daily. If I'm up, I'm more determined. If I'm down, I'm more motivated.
Pause before giving in to temptation. A walk around the block beats an Oreo Bender.
Read nutritional labels or check an app. Paying attention to these details enables me to make smart food choices.
If tempted to binge, grab nail polish. Yup, applying clear top coat has saved me from countless calories. You can't stick wet nails into a bag of chips.
Keep safe snacks on hand. Sour pickles. Smoked salmon and cream cheese pinwheels. Celery and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Hail Merry two-pack choco macaroons.
Put old photos on display. Some people are motivated by looking at supermodels in bikinis. For me, there's nothing like dozens of pictures of my (former) triple chin to stay the course.
No "cheat" days. Rewarding a week of healthy eating with cake and cookies is akin to an alcoholic celebrating a month of sobriety with a few beers. It doesn't work. But if you slip, get back on track instantly. Day One can always be right now.
To make your own "Shift," dig deep for the answers to these five questions as they apply to you.
1) How Fed Up Are You, Really? When the pain and possible penalty of being fat outweighed the likely pain of changing, I knew I was ready to Shift.
2) What Are You Willing To Give Up?
For the "Shift" to work, nothing can be more important than tackling your goal. It's an all-or-nothing deal, hard as it sounds. And it is hard, but it becomes easier with time. I gave up various foods, I finally started to exercise and I made lifestyle changes. For example, I regrettably didn't go to a movie for a year because the thought of being around that buttered popcorn, but not eating it, seemed more torturous than simply staying home.
3) What's Your Plan?
There's no winging it when it comes to making any significant life change. Spell out clear, concise rules to eliminate any ambiguity. For me, cutting carbs was a big one. No cheat days was another.
4) What's Your Daily Accountability?
It's easy to slip when no one is looking. Daily weigh-ins and a Nike Fuel Band to monitor my movement still keep me on track. Photos help too.
5) How Will You Embrace Patience and Celebrate Victories? Whenever I tried to lose weight, I'd always give up, because I was too impatient. I wanted instant results. I view the "Shift" not as a diet but as a journey that's going to take time. My rewards are inedible - lighting a beautiful candle, a quick manicure, an iTunes song, smaller-size clothing.
Join me as I travel the country to help women and men Make the Shift for a better, happier, healthier life. You can also talk to me on Twitter or Facebook about your questions and ideas. And of course you can get my new book, " The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight & Discovered a Happier Life," wherever books are sold.
Click HERE to read an excerpt from Tory Johnson's new book: 'The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight & Discovered a Happier Life.'