I want you to take a moment and think about this weight loss journey of ours. Some days it can be very frustrating. Okay, lots of days it can be frustrating. The scale won’t move, the pants are still tight, it’s hard to eat healthy all the time. And then you go to the store to buy more fruit and more vegetables and as you wait in line to pay, you see a magazine with a skinny woman on the front that says something like, “See how this woman lost half her body weight in just six months!” And you think to yourself: WTF?! I’m only trying to lose 30 lbs and it’s already been six months and I’ve only lost 5.
So this is probably the only good thing about me having lost 30 lbs twice now and working on my third try. Today, I can talk in past tense – a very rare thing on this blog. I write on this blog as a living experiment. I’m struggling to lose weight and as I struggle, I share both my successes and failures and you, my listeners, get to benefit by witnessing the entire journey. As I’ve said before, if I can help one person lose weight a little faster by witnessing and learning from my journey, then writing this blog will have been worth it. But I emphasize a little faster.
I take no pride in helping or encouraging anyone to lose insane amounts of weight in extremely short periods of time. And I for one, am tired of magazines parading around these woman with these miracle weight loss stories. It does not help us at all! They make slow weight loss seem shameful and weak. We feel like failures for taking so long. We think we’re doing something wrong or we aren’t strong enough. And worse, it makes our journey that much harder because of course if we could get to skinny faster we would!
So some of us fall into the trap and pay for the $6.00 magazine which, hello, was the only point of them putting that story front and center. And we flip through the pages desperately hoping to get “the secret”. And 9 out of 10 times there is nothing interesting in that article. The woman just says something like, “I just changed my diet for the better. I finally started loving myself enough to want to change. I stopped eating processed food”. Very generic statements. True statements no doubt, but generic and full of “stuff you already knew”. If you’re lucky you’ll get the story of gastric bypass and at least feel calmer knowing that something extreme was done to get her these extreme results. But even that can be dangerous because it could get you thinking that surgery is the only way. And It is not. Surgery is not the only way and fast weight loss is not the only way.
We have got to ban together as overeaters and shut this noise out of our lives once and for all! Fast weight loss will cause you nothing but misery in the end. Trust me, I know! The last time I lost weight, I did Weight Watchers but I stayed way below my allowed points and I exercised like a mad man! I did so much cardio it would make your head spin. And when I reached my goal, I felt great! If by great you mean smaller (from a tight 14 to an 8) but also antsy, tired, jittery, short tempered….and did I mention, oh so very tired! Man was I tired! Obviously that condition could not be sustained. I wasn’t able to keep the weight off for more than a year. And now hear I am still struggling to get it off again – the right way this time. The slow way.
Slow weight loss allows you to feel the effort behind every pound. You form new behaviors that result in you eating less and eating healthier and you have the time to really let those behaviors sink in and become a permanent fixture in your life. You stop changing habits “for the moment” or “for the scale” and you start changing them for your life. It becomes a lifestyle change. And these are the best changes of all because they take so long that they end up seeming more natural.
On this blog we dig deep, we get to the core issuers of why we overeat. And yes it hurts. And yes it takes some time to cry it out, and think it over and journal, journal, journal. God, all the journaling! But at the end of all that work is a habit that we can be proud of. We can look back at last year and say “hey, I stopped exercising like a maniac 2-3 hours a day but I also changed up my workouts and increased my strength training and reduced my cardio and my workouts were only 30 minutes but they have so much more impact and intensity and I hardly missed a single workout all year”.
Or “wow, look at how many fun activities I have in my life now instead of snacking? I have so many wonderful things I get to do after work every day now where I used to spend that time just snacking and watching television. And you know what? I don’t miss those snacks at all!”
Those types of revelations take work and they take time. And each one might result in only five pounds but you know what? Those are real 5 pounds. Those are five pounds you really earned and you can be proud of and you can be confident that they won’t ever come back because the person who wore them has changed. Her behavior has changed and so without that unhealthy behavior those 5 pounds can never come back. And more time passes and another habit comes into play, and another five pounds is gone and on and on until one day, the new you emerges. But she’s not some miraculous half size of your former self from six months ago. No. She’s a stronger, more confident, much more healthier version of you. Sure, she’s smaller, but oh, she’s so much, much more!
That is what we call – slow weight loss. That’s the type of weight loss I want and that’s the type of weight loss you want too – whether you can admit it now or not. I know it‘s frustrating to see those ads but trust me, you don’t want that. For one thing, you might have been looking at that magazine and saying “damn, she lost more in six months than I even have to lose ever!” That’s good! That’s great! You never want to be large enough to need to lose half your body weight! Do you know how much weight that is? Seriously, that’s a lot.
And if you do have the much to lose, please take heart. Think about how long it took you to get there. You didn’t get there overnight so something would be terribly wrong if you lost it all overnight. To weigh that much means you have some serious behavioral issues that you have got to work through and fix before you can even think about losing all that weight.
No matter how much weight we have to lose, the weight gain was a direct result of some unhealthy behaviors – physical, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We need to focus on healing all of these parts of ourselves before we can see the weight loss. The journey will be hard and the journey will be long but that’s why we call it a journey not a race.
So ignore the media parading around these miracle weight loss stories. Stare at your phone next time you’re in line at the grocery story (and read my latest blog post while you’re at it!). And maybe one day, the magazines will agree with me and we’ll see an article that says “See how this woman finally lost 30 lbs and has kept it off for 10 years”. Now that’s hot!
Stick with me on this slow weight loss journey and I’ll see you at the ultimate finish line. No matter how long it takes you, know that I’ll be there waiting for you………..or maybe you’ll be there waiting for me. Cheers to you and your smart choices.