They say attitude is everything and when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, this certainly holds true. Lori Wengle, personal trainer and author of the book The Fat Princess No More, discovered how negative attitudes can influence weight. See what changes she made in her attitude to get to her ideal weight and find out what she recommends for you.
Interview With Lori Wengle
LoveToKnow (LTK): You have said that for you, physical change didn't happen until you made a mental change. What does this mean?
Lori Wengle (LW): After years of being overweight or obese, I realized I was going about things so wrong. I wanted to lose weight for years and years and yo-yo dieted year after year. The mental change that came about is I did not need to diet anymore. I needed to eat healthy, exercise and not obsess about the scale. Nothing was going to be perfect overnight; I had to give myself time to lose weight, weight train and be kinder to myself. If I had a bad day and ate something not too healthy, I had to forgive myself and move forward. The old Lori would have wrecked the whole day with my food choices, thinking since I screwed up one meal, why not make the whole day a massive binge day! The new Lori was kinder to herself and realized it was one mistake, get back on the wagon and just do it.
Another mental change was with exercise! I always knew I needed to exercise, and did so many times. I remember doing all kinds of infomercial workouts, the latest trend, etc. But after some time, I began to not see results and would quit. Eventually, I began to be my own advocate and researched working out and exercise trends. The mental change I had to make is to realize, I had to consistently work out three to four days a week, regardless of anything else. If I wanted to see change in my body, I had to change my thoughts about exercise and I made a daily list of how I felt after working out (which was always wonderful).
Exercise made me feel great, look better, feel stronger, gave me confidence and yet every day I struggled to get to the gym, until one day I realized I needed to do this for ME, so I could finally feel great and look better. I deserved this, my body deserved it and I needed it, like a prescription drug for an illness. Everything changed at that time and I can proudly say, I have been consistent at exercise and healthy eating since 2003! Why? Because I deserve to feel good about myself, happy with body and happy with life, finally!
Common Mental Obstacles
LTK: What are some common mental obstacles and attitudes people face when trying to lose weight?
LW: The most common mental or attitude obstacles people face is that they do not have enough time to carve out an hour or two a day to eat healthy and exercise. It is stressful to wonder, especially in today's busy schedules, how to find the time for yourself. We do everything for our families, friends, kids, but it is hard for us to make time for ourselves.
Understand that we all need to make time for ourselves to live a long and healthy life!
Another obstacle that many of us use is self defeat! After years of being overweight, sometimes we believe deep down inside that we will never succeed. This obstacle consumed me for decades. It was not until I made realistic goals, and achieved those goals, that I finally lost the weight once and for all! I began with a goal of achieving 195 lbs (down from 242). That was a big goal, but I was kind to myself and set a goal of one pound a week, not getting too crazy with major changes. I made better choices for food and spent more time playing with my then young daughter (almost 20 now).
Then when I achieved that goal, I made another goal of hitting 180, my all time skinniest weight ever! After that I made much smaller goals because I was not sure if I could get any smaller. The next goal was 172, then 167, then 162, then 157 and so on. By making these small goals, I had many successes which led me to go all the way and surpass any of my expectations!
Attitudes and Food
LTK: How do negative attitudes affect our food choices?
LW: When my attitudes are negative in general, I eat poorly. It happens still today to me a few times a year. If I feel like a failure because I missed a workout or ate something I shouldn't have, I immediately stop that type of thinking and give myself a break. I KNOW that if I obsess about it, I will spend the day binging, which is self defeating. I now know that I have to get over it quickly and get back on track.
I use music or a good workout to get my mind off myself defeating, negative attitude and begin living my life again. It did take years to get here, but everyone can change their attitude and forgive themselves. It takes practice but feels so good when you don't obsess about every little mistake.
LTK: How can negative attitudes be changed?
LW: To change these attitudes it takes a lot of perseverance! I feel many of these obstacles have a lot to do with feelings of guilt about spending time on ourselves. Somehow we have to understand, the better we feel, the better we can take care of everyone in our lives.
I spent lots of time writing a food/mood journal and exercise journal and would always put down comments that would help me defeat some of my common attitude adjustments I needed. I would write [things like], "You deserve to be happy with your body."
LTK: What common food misconceptions sabotage weight loss and how can those be corrected?
LW: The biggest issue that I have and my clients have is serving size rather than food misconception. We really do know what we should eat or should not eat. The biggest issue is what a serving size is!
After I grocery shop for the week, I split everything up into serving sizes immediately. When I cook for my week, I again put all my food in serving size baggies so that I can grab and go. I can visualize, after much research, what a serving size of chicken looks like or a serving of fruit.
Tips for the Right Attitude
LTK: What other tips can you share about having the right attitude for weight loss?
LW: Weight loss is a journey, kind of like beginning your first day at college. Both can overwhelm you. When you begin college, if you don't take your courses one quarter or semester at a time, you would be overwhelmed. Well the same holds true for weight loss. Set realistic goals that are attainable for YOUR body. Make sure you have successes and praise yourself often for your good attitudes, weight loss, and exercise plan. If you change your mindset to say, "I need to eat healthy and exercise often, period," then you will not think of it as the D word (diet); you will think of it more as a learning journey. It's all about you. Better health, better body image and a happy you.
Remember, Extreme Weight Loss is one to two pounds per week! Extreme Weight Loss is attainable and sustainable weight loss!
LTK: Anything else you'd like to share?
LW: Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself and understand you deserve to feel good! If you are on a diet and the diet dictates you can never eat certain food, find a different diet.
If I had to go through life thinking I could never eat a piece or two of pizza, I am not sure if I could continue on. Everything I eat is in a serving size, so nothing is out of the question for me as a treat from time to time. And I use a pay forward program for those times that I want a yummy treat. If I know I will be at a wedding or other event where food may tempt me, I do extra cardio or workouts that week to burn the extra calories BEFORE I go to the event. That way if there is something I really want, I don't have to feel guilty about eating something considered bad for me. I already paid it forward!
To learn more about Lori and her methods for getting fit, visit her blog. There you can find out about her Personal Trainer in a Box program as well as her book, The Fat Princess No More.
LoveToKnow would like to thank Lori Wengle for taking the time for this interview.