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In a previous post about the power of negative thinking, I talked about how I used negative thinking to help me overcome my desire for high-carb foods and starchy foods. And I’ve had a great amount of success doing it – so much so that my family and friends shake their heads in disbelief when I easily turn down pasta dishes, breads and desserts.

Controlling my desire for carb-rich foods is one of the reasons I feel I’ve been so successful in my weight loss over the past 13 months – but that doesn’t mean I’ve never indulged now and then. I have a system of weight loss milestones worked out, and I reward myself with one carb-heavy meal every time I hit a new one.

You see, when you set out to work on big project – and weight loss and wellness definitely count as a big project – it’s always advisable to set milestones of achievement (smaller interim goals) between the start and the end goal. When you reach a milestone, it should be a cause for a minor celebration as a way to bolster your resolve and to mark your achievement. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back and a reward because it’ll just make you work that much harder to get to your next goal along the way!

When we’re talking about substantial weight loss, the milestones can be set fairly reasonably – giving yourself a little celebration for losing a decent percentage of your weight toward your final goal. So if you are trying to lose, say, 100 pounds, you might consider making every 20 or 25 pounds a weight loss milestone and a reason to celebrate. Of course, you should be careful not to make your milestones too easy to achieve because then they are likely to not feel like much of an accomplishment and defeat the purpose.

I had an enormous amount of weight to lose, starting as I did at 526 pounds. I told myself that I would stick to my food plan and live without eating high carb foods until I had dropped a significant portion of my weight. My first goal I set was 399 pounds.

Now, looking back, that was probably a pretty hard milestone to reach, and I probably should have made my first one at about 450 pounds. But I’m proud to say I still managed to achieve the first milestone I set in only 28 weeks, losing 137 pounds between January 2013 and August 2013!

michael before after

As a reward, I had promised myself I could go to any restaurant of my choosing and order a reasonably sized meal with an appetizer, main course and dessert and enjoy every bite guilt-free for all my hard work. It happened that I was taking a vacation to Virginia and Washington DC the week after I reached my first milestone, so I saved my special dinner until I had the chance to get to the Capital and find a really great restaurant.

My family took me to an amazing place called the Brasserie Beck right on K Street, just down from the Capital Building – a French/Belgian restaurant owned by award-winning chef Robert Wiedmaier. We dined on some truly amazing cuisine, and I can honestly say I think I had the best meal of my life. The crème brûlée was to die for!

But the very next day, I was back to my no high-carb food plan, having thoroughly enjoyed my reward, and looking forward to my next milestone at 349 pounds. Was it hard to go back to eating no carb-rich foods after a meal of boeuf carbonnade and crème brûlée? Surprisingly, not at all. I was darned proud of my weight loss and wanted to get to my next milestone goal with honesty and hard work.

So, set some reasonable weight loss milestones and give yourself a little celebration every time you hit one. It makes dieting a lot more exciting if you know it’s not all drudgery and deprivation along the way.

PS: I should mention that as I write this post, I’m already nearing another milestone of 299 pounds and have plans to go out for a sushi night with my friends once I get there! It makes me really look forward to my next check-up and weigh-in at Dr. Sam’s office – I’m sure I’m going to hit the mark this next appointment! 

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