Losing 100 pounds does not sound easy, and as someone who has done it, I can tell you it’s not easy. There is no miracle pill nor is there a one-size-fits-all formula for weight loss. Every weight loss plan is as individual as the people trying to lose weight. I’m no expert, though. Even 100 pounds down, I’m still learning, and I still have a ways to go. But through my struggle for weight loss, I have learned a lot. These are a few of the things I have learned thus far on my journey to lose weight and live a healthier life.
Good things do not come to those who wait. Good things come to those who are proactive and work their butts off. Your weight loss is not going to come over night, but the things worth having are worth working hard and fighting for. Keep that in mind on your own weight loss journey.
Weight loss is calories in vs. calories out, but it gets tricky when we eat too few calories. Just as there is a such thing as too much, there is a such thing as too little. There is a basic amount of calories your body needs just to function (this is your BMR, or basal metabolic rate). Calories are energy, and thus food is fuel. In order for our bodies to work hard enough just to live, and then become healthier and fitter, we must eat. Starving ourselves only leads to weight gain. If we don’t eat, our metabolism drops, and what we do eat, our bodies will hold on to because they don’t know if they will be fed again any time soon. So eat. Eat a lot of foods that are good for you, and the weight will come off of you.
Just because the box says it’s good for you, doesn’t make it so. Many foods will be marketed as healthy, or aiding in weight loss. A lot of breakfast bars are this way, as well as cereals and other things. Read up on health and nutrition. Know what your body should and shouldn’t be taking in, and then learn how to read the nutrition labels on the things you buy. Read the labels for everything. You would be surprised at how many “healthy” foods are packed with unhealthy sugars and fats, or have a lot of sodium. When I started my weight loss journey, I took to heart a tip of shopping the perimeters of the grocery store. The perimeters have the produce, the dairies, and the meats. The inside aisles have all of the processed junk. Of course, there are things on those aisles that aren’t so bad for you (oatmeal, peanut butter, etc.), but for the most part, to get as much out of your healthy shopping trip, shop the perimeters.
Water is your miracle drug. It seems that these days everyone is looking for the miracle pill that will shed inches and pounds easily. Weight loss is not easy. Do not let any commercial or marketing ploy tell you otherwise. Water, however, is rather close to what a miracle drug might do. Water fills you up, increases your metabolism, and doesn’t allow your brain to trick you into thinking you’re hungry when it’s actually thirsty. It’s also refreshing and has zero calories. Water is amazing for weight loss, and the perfect go-to so you don’t drink your calories.
Sleeping is good for you. To lose weight, you must take care of yourself by taking care of your body. Your body needs sleep. A lot of essential functions happen while you sleep, including the rejuvenation of your bones and heart vessels. Sleep regulates not only your moods, but your metabolism and immune system. Also, when you are running on a lack of sleep, it’s harder to feel “full” so you will eat more throughout the day, which will not help you lose weight.
Non-scale victories are more important than any number you could ever see on the scale. During your weight loss journey, the scale is NOT your best friend. Do not count on it to tell you everything you want or need to know. Your scale is not going to tell you how pretty you look that day. Your scale is not going to tell you how loose your clothes are on you today. Your scale is not going to tell you that your skin looks clearer, or that you seem to have more energy, or that your stamina has really increased and the fact that you can now run a full mile (or five, or do 100 squats, or whatever it may be) is incredible. These victories are things you’re going to have to see for yourself, and they are way more important than what the scale says. Besides, you’ve probably heard it, but muscle weighs more than fat. As you exercise and tone up, you will be gaining muscle. The scale doesn’t discriminate between the two, so don’t let it define you or how you feel about your day or your week. It doesn’t matter how much weight you’ve lost; what matters is how you feel compared to how you felt before.
Exercise sucks unless you enjoy it. The thing about exercise is that it can be any physical activity that you do that gets your heart pumping and your muscles moving. It doesn’t have to be something that you hate doing. In fact, if you hate doing it, keep trying new things until you find something that you enjoy doing, otherwise you won’t stick with it. This also pertains to healthy foods. Test things out – squash, fresh corn, asparagus, and cranberries. Try out different recipes. See if you prefer running or walking. Maybe you prefer swimming over canoeing, or jumping on the trampoline. Whatever it is, find something that you enjoy and can stick with, because if it sucks, you’ll quit, and quitting isn’t going to get you any closer to where you want to be on your weight loss journey.
Variety is key. As important as it is to find healthy foods and exercises that you enjoy, it’s also very important to switch it up sometimes. If you eat the same dish five nights a week every other week, you’re going to end up hating it. That will only lead you right back to eating the unhealthy foods that you’re used to. It’s the same with exercise. Your muscles will start to remember the exercises you do if you always do the same ones, and you’ll burn fewer calories for the same workout. Plus, if you don’t, you’ll get bored. So switch it up. For weight loss, it’s also important to incorporate cardio as well as strength training to maximize your results. But within these two categories, there are a number of things that you can do. Do some research, test out different things, and find out what you enjoy.
Trying to maintain patience and persistence sucks, but do it anyway. Sometimes you won’t see the results you’re wanting. Sometimes you won’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. But rest assured you are, even if you can’t see or feel it. Just by doing it every day, but making healthy decisions every day, you are improving yourself and you will eventually start seeing and feeling the results. Stick with it and never give up.
Weight loss is truly a journey, and it’s a journey worth taking. If you feel like you’re not living up to your potential, that you’re missing out on life, don’t be afraid to get started. No matter how long your journey may seem, give yourself the benefit of the doubt that you deserve it. By the end, you’ll know that you did. The first thing you have to know about losing weight, however, is that it isn’t going to happen until you want it. When you are sick of feeling the way you feel and keeping the weight on is no longer an option, that’s when you will be successful.