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Losing weight has been an interesting battle for me, because I’ve never done it before. I mean I’ve tried it before, but success was never at the forefront. The end of April (the 28th) will mark my 6 month anniversary with the changes I’ve made in my life, and there’s so much that I’ve learned over this time I’ve changed. I’ve had to do it by figuring it out, and I wanted to share it, with the hope that someone else might find it helpful. The hardest part is always taking the first step. After that first one, you don’t ever have to look back.
So these are the things I think you should know, and most, if not all of the things I wish someone would’ve told me.
1) First, I think you should get angry. Getting mad is how I started. I was mad that I had outgrown all of my jeans, that I looked like crap at college graduation, that I was tired and sluggish, and oddly sick all of the time (something that wasn’t normal for me). I’d felt the worst I’d ever felt physically, and mentally, and I finally got so mad that I said “enough is enough, I can’t do this anymore.” I started the SELF Drop 10 Diet, and I lost some weight. After that I stopped it, I wanted to do something I knew I could fit in my busy schedule, and something that I could maintain. I’m 20 pounds down, and I know I won’t be stopping for a while. I got mad, and it gave me the determination to get it done.
2) Find YOUR reason.
Your reason probably isn’t the same as mine. Yours may be more superficial or it may be more health oriented, but you have to take that reason, and keep it in the back of your mind at all times, and use it to pull yourself out of the dark when you feel like you want to quit. That reason is what you’ll hold on to for the rest of your journey to becoming someone new. It’s going to drive you all the way to where you want to be, so make sure it’s a good one.
3) Know how weight loss works- at least the simple parts.
Cutting out 3500 calories from your diet and with excercise means losing 1 pound. Eat carbs before cardio, have protein after weight lifting. Lean meats (chicken, fish), fruits, veggies, and nuts are great for your body (in moderation still). Limit sugar, alcohol, and fats, and drink tons of water all day every day. With that, you’re pretty much good to go.
4) Don’t beat yourself up- everyone makes mistakes, even you. I can promise you.
I’m especially guilty of this. When it comes to the things I do, I require perfection, and every time something isn’t perfect, I almost always die inside. None of this is about being perfect, because you’re not ever going to be perfect enough, ever. It’s about doing the absolute best you can and accomplishing what you set out to do. If you don’t reach a goal you set, figure out what you have to do the next week to reach, it, and then over-reach it, and don’t beat yourself up about it.
5) Make sure everyone knows you’re serious, like really serious, not just kind of serious.
I had a huge problem at first telling people what I was doing. I thought for sure that if I failed, people would just laugh at me. I feared that no one would have my back, but I didn’t realize that it was the exact opposite. The more I started to post my stories about losing weight in the past, coupled with my goals and accomplishments this time around, I got people I never expected to pay attention, to look at me and encourage my goals. At first, your friends will tell you it’s okay to eat ice cream, or go have a few beers at the bar. Don’t listen – they don’t think you’re serious, yet. Somehow the sabotage switch turns on instantly when people learn that you’re losing weight. They just don’t think you’re serious until you turn them down, and you show them that you’re serious.
6) Find a buddy who can keep you 100% accountable, and who you can do the same for.
This might not be that easy because of those reasons for weight loss I mentioned earlier. If you’ve got a friend who just isn’t into it, they’re not going to keep you accountable. If you can, find someone to do it with, who will remind you of your goals, and how far you’ve come, and someone who you can do the same thing for, it just makes everything so much easier.
7) Measure the hell out of everything.
If you don’t measure, you might as well just quit. Because I work in Marketing, I know that metrics are always important. You need to be able to find that point where you start to get stagnant, analyze your data, and tell yourself how you should change. Measure everything. Calories especially. You may think you’re eating perfectly, but people are more likely to eat twice as much as they should when they don’t measure their intake. Crazy right? Analyze yourself to figure out if you’re on the right track. That said – you can’t eat everything you want just because you’re working out. Overeating good foods is still just as bad as overeating bad ones. You’re still eating over the amount of calories you need each day, and according to calorie math, that’s going to prohibit your weight loss.
8: Being sore isn’t an excuse to quit (it will pass) and neither are any other excuses you give to yourself.
Flat out, excuses are crap. You don’t have time? Make time. You don’t know how to cook? I’m sure you know someone who does. You don’t know where to start? You might know someone who has had a go at this. Don’t be too proud to ask for their help (and be receptive to their suggestions). You’re too sore to workout the next day? You know what a cure for soreness is? More working out. Excuses are roadblocks that you put in front of yourself because you don’t want to do something. It only takes 30 minutes to get in an effective, hard hitting workout. You can even work out at home with the right equipment (I did it today with a kettlebell, and a jumprope). Excuses need to be checked at the door. “Can’t” shouldn’t exist in your vocabulary anymore.
9) Be proud of what you’ve done.
Whether it’s 1 pound, or 100, be proud of yourself. You worked hard to do something, and you should celebrate your work.
10) Know where you’re coming from, and know where you want to go.
I talked about analysis up there. Take where you’re coming from, and set little goals along the way that you can crush. Some of my goals are a number on the scale, but some of them are fitness related too, like wanting to bench 5 extra pounds the next week. It’s not the hardest thing in the world, but it’s a goal that’s getting me further away from where I came from. Just know where you want to go, and always keep it in mind
11) Don’t expect anyone to know how you feel at first. Don’t worry, they’ll understand later.
I think this explains itself. You need to know how you feel, though. Tap into your emotions – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Your mind needs to be just as right as your body does. No one is going to get it at first, but they will. You have to be open to them asking why it’s such a big deal to you, and you have to be honest.
12) Don’t deprive yourself.
Why would you want to? If you’re working out and you’re eating right, you don’t have to. But don’t just think about this in relation to food. Don’t deprive yourself of time with your friends, or your family because of working out. It’s okay to take breaks, and enjoy life.
13) Record your progress
I really regret not taking pictures of myself when I was really fat. I know that sounds weird, but I only took one set of pictures, and I wish I would’ve done more to have others to look back on. Take pictures, write your numbers down, track your weight. You won’t regret it. You’ll always remember how hard you worked, and how long it took to accomplish your goals.
14) Do what you want.
As long as it’s working for you, and it’s healthy, do what YOU want. There are so many resources, and people out in the world who claim to know what they’re doing when they don’t. A cookie cutter plan may work for you, but it also probably wont. You have to be aware of your body, and what works for you. Do what you think is right for you.
15) Get out of your comfort zone. Now.
The longer you stay there, the less you will change.
16) Look forward to, and enjoy all of the benefits of your hard work.
Looking good in a bathing suit (mine!), being healthier (also mine!), learning to cook and eat great food (okay, I’m guilty there too), they’re all little things that are going to make you happy later. Enjoy all of those things, because clothes, and health, and food aren’t an enemy anymore. They’re always going to be a staple in your life, so you may as well learn to love them all.
I’m stil so far from my goal of 120 pounds, but I’m also closer than I’ve been in a while. Thinking about these things always help me stay on track, and I hope they help someone else get into the right mindset too.
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