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By Kelsey Grindstaff

Tips for losing weight

By the time I reached high school, I was overweight. I am not talking about teen chubbiness, either. I was 5'5" and weighed more than 200 pounds. I had always enjoyed playing some sports, but food and I were great friends.

During this same time, my dad (who was a football player in high school and a sailor after that) had decided that he, too, needed to lose weight. This was perfect for both of us, as we each could use the encouragement of someone else. This is when our journey of working out began.

In the months to follow, I grew 5 inches more and lost close to 60 pounds. My dad also lost a bunch of weight, though I do not know his numbers. We began our journey together, and to this day, we love to work out, whether together or by ourselves. Along the way, my sister and mother decided to better themselves as well, though they did not have to do it for weight reasons. Even now, our family is known for loving to work out.

Our journey was a struggle. It took many weeks to even feel like we were even making progress of any sort. Because of my personal weight loss journey, I know how difficult it can be to lose weight. Here are some tips that helped me along the way:

Start today. There were many times before we actually started our weight loss program that we talked about it. I believe we even talked about it for a few years; however, when we did finally start, it was when we just decided to go the garage and actually work out. In fact, we already had a ton of workout equipment. We had a bench and weights. I think we might have even already had a treadmill. We just needed to start and not just talk about starting.

Write down what you accomplish. Maybe your first workout is like ours. We didn't have any videos yet (we love Tony Horton, who does P90X), but we went out and did what we knew how to do. I am so glad that my dad made me write down what I did, even though it was pretty sad. Throughout the following weeks, I was able to see my progress on paper much sooner than I was able to see it in the mirror. I promise that this will encourage you sooner in your workouts to keep going.

Always TRY for one more rep than you did yesterday. You might not get that extra rep. It might even take you a week or two, but I promise that if you try for it every day, you will get it sooner than if you never try or go by what your brain tells you that you can do. There were many times that I would hear my dad say, "Come on, Kelsey! Just one more push up!" or "Just one minute more on the treadmill!" I went a lot farther pushing myself little by little than I ever would have gone by going by what I thought I could do.

Write down EVERYTHING you eat. If you are like me, you will be surprised at what you consume in a day. I used to think, "Well, I only had a little bit of sugar today." Then I started writing down everything. One day, I realized that I had eaten 15 truffles! Sad, but true. And I am not even that big of a sugar person!

On the note of eating, don't cut out everything at once. If you cut out all "bad" foods at once, if you have a bad day, you are more likely to cheat HARD. Unfortunately, this is why many diets fail. They are not necessarily bad diets. People try so hard, they "mess up" and have a piece of cake (which is ok now and then) they give up because they messed up, and then they eat five pieces of cake. After that, they often feel like there is no point in continuing.

Don't give up. You will mess up. That is OK. It will take time to see progress in the mirror. It will come, I promise. Just don't give up. You can do it.

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