Weight Loss: The Truth
Many people say, “I need to lose x pounds.” I generally say okay, and then ask why?
The thing is, whether you NEED to lose x pounds or not, is not the most important factor to your success in losing weight. Sometimes you may NEED to lose X pounds, sometimes it is because they THINK they need to be a certain weight, and sometimes I honestly think they say it out of habit.
What my challenge to you, before you say, “ I need to lose X pounds,” is to think, WHY?
If your WHY is not big enough, not strong enough for you to change your daily habits, habits that you do not even think about, it will be a long and quite possibly miserable journey. This journey will include several peaks and valleys to reach(or not reach) your weight loss goal.
Let me tell you a secret, it is NOT always easy.
It isn’t intellectually hard, as in, the concepts of weight loss are hard to grasp or there is some hidden secret that will only be revealed if you buy into a certain product or theory. It is hard because you have to make conscious decisions, and sometimes you are making a decision against your subconscious. You are telling that annoying, repetitive, and nagging voice in your head, the one that only comes around at your greatest times of weakness; when you are tired, stressed, and beat up from your week, “NO!” You are making a very conscious decision, to not get up and walk to your pantry to get your favorite heart warming snack at 9pm at night. Or perhaps your the grazer. You now need to stay alert, to realize when in fact you have walked by the break room 5x today and had 10 hershey kisses, rather than the 4 you remember having. It hurts. It hurts down deep, it hurts your poor grumbling tummy, and most of all it hurts your brain that is undergoing a constant tug of war. This, this is no easy task. However, with the same work ethic and sweat that you put towards your workouts, you can lose weight easily. Just as you make the decision over and over again to show up and work out, you must make that decision to eat well.
If you are healthy, if you are happy, and fall into one of the last two categories of people saying it because they think they should be a certain weight or out of habit, I will tell you IT IS NOT WORTH IT. It is not worth the daily struggle during the beginning stages of weight loss to fight with the nasty inner voice. Instead, work on changing your self talk. Work on realizing what your body can do, how strong your body is, how amazing it is! (more on this in the next blog)
If you are someone who truly does need to lose x pounds for health, to be in peak fitness for a race, to make a weight class, or you are ready to change your appearance, READ ON!
efore you start, ask yourself, AM I READY? Is this worth it to me, RIGHT NOW? Your desire to lose weight must be greater than your desire to eat portions of your choosing, and desserts every night. It must be stronger than gorging when you go out on the weekend or meet up with friends for dinner.
How will you know? You will know if you stop kidding yourself. If you tell that nagging voice, NO. If you are willing to choose healthy options when you go out to eat, forgo the (excessive)booze, and quite honestly change many habits that you may have.
Below are 4 of the basic things you can do to lose weight successfully. They are in order of what I would recommend attacking first, and not all 4 steps are necessary or appropriate for everyone.
- Keep a diary. How do you know where you are at, if you do not know how much or what you are putting in your body? How shall I offer suggestions if I do not have a complete picture? Too often I fear people think that I will judge them if I see a sleeve of Oreos, or 8 slices of pizza. I want to tell you, I WILL NOT! I too have eaten 8 slices of pizza in one day during my life. While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience it did leave me rolling on the couch “unable to breathe” for quite some time. Reporting what you are eating is made simple with apps you can use that store the most commonly eaten foods and also can scan any label, such as My Fitness Pal. If the 5 minutes taken out of your day is too cumbersome, maybe right now is not the time for you to lose x amount of pounds.
- Excessive of Empty Calories. If we look at your diary and see you are currently consuming too many empty calories, this is the easiest place to start. I would recommend cutting the portion of these foods and adding more nutrient dense foods. Instead of the whole bag of popcorn, how about half? Instead of a bagel from dunks every morning, how about half a bagel and a protein shake? There would be some simple food swaps while we slowly cut down on the higher calorie, processed foods. This part of the journey should also benefit you by making your energy levels rise, allow you to go longer periods of time without being hungry, and most likely, sleep better.
- What is BEST FOR YOU. It is essential that you learn which foods are nutrient dense, so you can make an educated decision for yourself. What foods will give you the most bang for your buck, nutrients vs. calories. It is important you learn about the roles of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and how each are important for your body to thrive! You must learn which foods are best for YOU. I capitalized you, for a reason. There are all types of nutrient dense foods, BUT, I truly believe that each individual reacts differently to food, just as they do to exercise. Therefore, you must learn which healthy foods work BEST FOR YOU.
- PORTION SIZE:MEASURING. Once you are at this point, it is time to learn what an actual portion size of your favorite foods looks like. This is especially important for foods high in calories (read high fat foods). I highly suggest people use food scales. There is no lying when you look at the scale while measuring food. I don’t mean purposeful lying, but rather incorrect reporting of calories due to the lack of knowledge of what a portion looks like, and trust me it is not your fault. Portion sizes have been so distorted that it is almost impossible to have a baseline knowledge of what 2 tablespoons look like or 4 oz of meat. You can overeat healthy food! Some of healthiest foods are not low in calories!
When you start the process of losing weight, it is hard because it is constantly on your mind. Yes, you are thinking about how to fuel your body all of the time. This is the hardest part. It seems all consuming. It changes how you approach social gatherings. It changes how you currently live your life, and that is the truth. These changes though, are healthy, they are goal-oriented, and will lead to success over time. It is also important to know it is not a permanent state. Eventually your new habits will not take any thought. They will be a lifestyle. Eventually you will reach your goal and realize how to balance the fun with these new habits. Eventually, you will forget what the first month was like, and how nasty that little voice in your head was! Do you remember your first workout???
This may seem harsh or drastic but it is the truth. It is not always the right time for people to lose weight. You have to be ready. I want you to be successful in everything you wish to achieve, but you have to be ready. For some, this means overhauling both their diet and fitness plan at once. For most, this may seem like the way to do it but proves to be too overwhelming, and too stressful. They may give up before truly giving it a real shot, and this is unfortunate. Remember, it is not an ALL or NOTHING. Decide what is right FOR YOU. If you are nervous about the process start with a change. Start by working out 3x a week. Find your confidence through your strength. When your confidence grows, your mental strength will grow and you will find success in changing other habits- such as your diet!
If nothings else, remember the process is about YOU.