- It is not easy. I know this is a shock but the weight loss journey is not easy. How do we get the idea it is? By shows that show people losing hundreds of pounds in a matter of weeks or even a few months. We get the idea from TV pitches that say “Just take this pill and the weight will fall off” We get this idea from people flogging the latest diet book or diet shake or other “magic bullet”. The truth is that it is NOT easy but it is certainly worth it.
- There will be setbacks. You will have periods where the weight will fluctuate. You will even have periods where you just say “Forget all this” and you find yourself face down in a big bowl of ice-cream. It happens. I have been there. As soon as you realize you have fallen off the path, just get back on. Don’t use it as an excuse. Don’t say “Well, I made bad choices for that meal, so I guess it is all over”. Suck it up, acknowledge where you went wrong, and get back on the path.
- There will be plateaus. There will be times the scale seems to be stuck. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It could mean you are losing inches if not pounds. Remember, fat does NOT weigh more than muscle. A pound is a pound, but when you trade fat for muscle, that muscle takes up less space. It can also be that you body has adjusted to the food intake and exercise output. Maybe you need to shake things up a bit – either by tweaking your food plan or finding a different exercise plan. Remember it is not all about the numbers on the scale.
- You don’t have to do this alone. Most people are lucky enough to have family or friends to encourage them on this journey, but not everyone is so lucky. If you can’t find the support you need among family or friends, try looking to groups like TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) http://www.tops.org . There are lots of weight loss groups online – groups on Facebook etc but nothing beats being able to talk to real people in person which is where groups like TOPS come in. If you can’t find a group (or groups aren’t your thing) find a weight loss buddy. Find that accountability partner who you can meet with now and then and encourage each other. Don’t go it alone.
- There will be saboteurs. This goes with number 4. I mentioned those people who do not support you. They are easy enough to avoid. If they don’t support you and go out of their way to hinder you, you just avoid them. The subtle saboteurs are the ones who aren’t blatant about it but sabotage in small ways. “Oh go ahead and have more.” “I made this especially for you” “You can’t be good all the time” and it can become more aggressive “You really think you’re special with your weight loss” “Well we aren’t all as perfect as you”. Recognize the saboteurs as you encounter them. Stick to your guns. I find for me I sometimes have to be firm, but I will simply say “No thank you. I have had enough” or “I’m good thanks”. I don’t even mention weight loss or diet. Just a polite but firm no thank you works. If they are really working at sabotaging your weight loss, you may need to go as far as to cut them out of your life.
- The mental battle is the toughest part. The greatest part of the weight loss battle is what goes on in our head. It is our relationship with food. When I coach people, I always say the biggest thing we have to get to is the why. Why do we over eat? Why do we make bad food choices? The big one to ask yourself is Am I really hungry? Am I really hungry or am I …fill in the blank – angry, bored, happy, frustrated, sad etc. For those of us (like myself) who deal with emotional eating, this can be the hardest part and the easiest pit to fall in. Being honest with ourselves in asking these questions will go a long way. But now I have some good things that people don’t know are part of the weight loss journey.
- You are going to feel better. I remember how I used to drag myself out of bed in the morning, or how I would be just plain old tired all the time. No wonder. My body had to work so hard just to do ANYTHING. As the weigh came off, my energy level got better day by day. I wake up most days feeling great and ready to tackle my day. Most of the time if I am sore when I get up, it is from exercising so it is a good sore. You will feel better, you will have energy and you will want to do things.
- You are going to look better. I am by no means an underwear model, but I look at photos now, and I can honestly say I have made progress and look pretty good. I avoided cameras for years because I hated how I looked, but now I am getting used to how I look now. I am trying to evict that mental image I have had stuck in my head for years.
- You will make new discoveries every day. I have discovered new foods, new cooking methods, new exercises and great new people all along this journey.
- You will discover you can do this. This will be the biggest shock, but you will learn something that some people will not have told you. You can and will do this. You will find an inner strength that no one told you you had – including yourself.
I hope you have found a little encouragement in these items, and realize you can do this.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day.