So, You Wanna Lose Weight?
This is the part where I tell you I am not a doctor, or a nutritionist, or anyone with any special qualifications to write a post of such a nature. This is the part that will cover my ass if someone out there follows my ideas, and then things go awry. This is where I reinforce my ultimate goal, the ultimate goal of throwing on a white t-shirt, and a pair of jeans and liking what I see – having, what I consider, a normal, nice, body, not a size 0 body, or even 2, or even 4, but a size comfortable, a size where I can sit in that white t-shirt and pair of jeans and not worry about my stomach. I’m not trying to be skin and bones, or to be unhealthy… so do not take my thoughts the wrong way. I just think I’m being realistic. I wrote the words below to my 200+ self (aka a twenty something female actually considered “obese”). I didn’t write them to a 125 pound person, trying to weigh sub 100. Here my tips, from my(!!) experience, the experience of a 26 year old girl who has lost 50+ pounds… and still wants to lose 25 more.
Motivation and Commitment,
Whatever, Nike, it’s not just as simple as “just do it” because guess what? If it was that simple, we all would have “just done it.” Sadly, it’s every man for himself when it comes to finding motivation. And most likely, finding motivation will be the hardest part of the whole losing-weight-journey-thing. All I know is that no matter what I write here, no matter how many inspiring blogs you read, no matter the number of skinny photos you ogle at, it’s 110% up to you.
Nobody, and I seriously mean nobody, can lose your weight, but you.
I learned that one the hard way. I have had a personal trainer, a nutritionist, and a blog dedicated to losing weight. I have trained for a freaking full marathon and then run two marathons(!!). I have told friends and family about my goals. I have had every type of support surrounding me, but I didn’t do it. Why? Because I hadn’t 110% committed to it. Yes, I wanted it, but was I really willing to sit in front of a tray of cupcakes and not eat one? No. I wanted the best of both worlds. And y’know what? When it comes to losing weight, it turns out that it is impossible to have the best of both worlds. The quicker you learn that, the better. Losing weight is sacrifice and hard work and doing things you don’t want to do. <— Know that, it’s very important.
You can’t just exclaim, “I wanna lose weight! I’m gonna lose weight! YAY! Let’s do it!” because that will only last a day, or, if you’re lucky, two days. And chances are you uttered those words after a terrible day of eating or when you were full. We always promise ourselves we’ll lose weight when we’re full. It’s when we’re hungry that we forget our promises… when we lose direction, when we eat bad food, when we are bored, when we are watching TV, when we just don’t care…
Personally I’ve had several “ah-ha” moments which kicked my ass into gear, and I have also had some quiet one-on-one moments which pushed me forward. Finding motivation and committing to yourself to finally do it, once and for all is personal… you need to figure out how much it’s worth to you, how much you want it, and how much you’re willing to fight for it; because that’s what losing weight is. It is a fight with yourself. To help with this process, my only tips would be, 1. Are you human? Yes? Yes. Excellent, then it is possible for you to do it and, get this, you CAN do it. 2. It’s worth it. Despite how hard/frustrating/annoying it gets, it’s worth it. Life is better less fat (oh shit… there, I said it… I better make this another point).
Life is Better Not Fat
If you don’t think this you’re wrong. KIDDING. Or am I? Look, carrying a lot of extra weight on your body is just bad-news-bears all around. Ask a doctor. He or she will tell you. Fatness doesn’t look pleasant either (whatever, we’re all shallow), and at the end of the day it’s simply unhealthy.
I am not saying hate yourself if you’re overweight. My God, I hated everything about my body most of my life, so when I was trying to lose weight I was working against my body to do it. If you like yourself, and love your body, the entire journey will be a lot easier. I highly recommend your brain and your bod team up, and conquer your weight problem once and for all - together. Love yourself (I know, it sounds so lame), but at the end of the day, your body is the only thing you really have in this world… the journey will also be a lot easier then. Also, you’re absolutely worth it, and - sorry to break it to you - but your body is just like everybody else’s. That means that your body is more than capable of losing the weight. You can be a success story, one of those people holding up their “before” pants!! [Ed note: for all those people who are plus size and LOVE being plus size, I give you a GOLD STAR. All the power to you!! Wahoo! I am very jelly]
You Gotta Eat Less!
I know, right? Well isn’t that super crappy!? It is, indeed, it is! But, losing weight = Calories-In are less than Calories-Out. This applies no matter who you are, or what way you look at it. It’s not rocket science, it’s actually incredibly simple. It really is. Eat Less. Move more. Tis true, we all already knew this, this isn’t anything to write home about, but obviously (please see archives of this blog) it’s easier said than done. And why is that?? It is because we all think we can eat more than we actually need. That’s right folks, we humans don’t need much food. If we did, we wouldn’t have survived our tribal hunting n’ gathering and camp fire dancin’ days. We’ve been conditioned to eating more than we need.
I’m not going to tell you how many calories to eat, because I don’t know, and besides, everyone is different, but I will tell you to record what you eat, even if it’s just for one day. It’s shocking (and devastating!) how quickly calories add up, and how little 1,500 calories (for example) actually is.
Definitions Vary – so Be Careful!
Here’s something I think most people who are trying to lose weight get screwed on: definitions. Yes, in my opinion, most people who have never tried to lose weight screw the rest of us on definitions. With the exception of the tiny minority of people in this world who were blessed with the super-power of truly being able to “eat anything they want, and still not gain weight,” the rest of the world’s normal/skinny people just do not eat as much as we tubby people eat. It’s disappointing and annoying, but it is true. They don’t.
They may tell you they eat “a lot of food”, because they think that they do, but they don’t. People’s definitions of “a lot of food” vary greatly, so don’t be fooled. Follow an average sized friend around for a few days, and eat exactly what they eat, and you will lose weight. There is no secret to this game we play. When that skinny girl claims, “I ate like rubbish today, just terribly for me,” chances are her “bad day” would be a “normal day” for you, and chances are she can’t even comprehend what a “bad eating day” entails for you. I’ve probably had days with 5,000+ calories in them. Delicious. But that is why I was “obese.”. That skinny girl does not have days like that.
[I also believe lots of girls skip meals, and only really eat in public… but that’s a topic for another post.]
Anyhow, the point of this section is to say DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. It’s misleading. You have no idea how much, or how little your friends are eating behind closed doors, and from my experience, they’re not eating as much as we eat. You simply must never think, “she’s eating it, so I can…”
High-Protein, Low-Carbs, No-Carbs, Smoothie-diets, Atkins, South-Beach, Weight-Watchers, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Jenny-Craig, Dr.-B., Cabbage-diet, Eat-Clean-Diet, Amputation Diet!
Wanna know a secret? THEY ALL WORK… if you actually follow them. That’s right: All. Of. Them. Work. Why? Because they all ensure that calories-in are less than calories-out. Remember that magic equation?
So, do I believe in diets? Somewhat. That is because I (and this really is personally for me) find that to lose weight, a diet is needed. I need a nice clear plan with nice clear rules.
Then there is the question of maintaining the new weight? Well, to do that, your lifestyle has to be altered. Losing weight and maintenaince are two different games. Do not mistake one for the other.
Obviously there are exceptions, and we all hear of those special people who “lost weight without even trying,” or who “changed one thing, adjusted their lifestyle and the fat melted off.” Well, all I can say is lucky them, but for the rest of us, to lose weight, and push through the battle of the bulge, diets help - they kick start us on our journey, keep us motivated with results, and help us realize just how little we actually have to eat in order to shed the lard.
BUT, BUT, BUT, with that being said, you need to research the program you want to do and find one that works for you. I think 90% of diets are, indeed, crap - (drink diets? psssh, please). I like the ones that incorporate healthy living into one’s diet (thus making the maintenance phase easy and realistic to adjust to - I like diets like Eat-Clean Diet, Paleo, and Weight Watchers.)
If It’s Not Working,
You’re Cheating Change Something!
Chances are if it’s not working, you’re cheating. You have the wrong equation operating. If it’s not working, your equation is now calories-in are equeal to calories-out, or worse, calories-in are more than calories-out. There are so many pretty, fluffy, pink, excuses floating around to make those of us cheating, forget that we’re cheating, and believe that it’s not us, but “water weight,” or “muscle weight,” or that we are in “starvation mode,” but the reality is: if you’re not losing weight for a long period of time, something is wrong.
I DO believe that some of those excuses are legit, but what I’m simply saying, from my own oh-so-extensive experience, is that they can’t be excuses for weeks and weeks and weeks (or, if you’re like me, months, nay years!). If you’re not losing weight, you gotta come to terms with the painful news… are you cheating? yes? well that’s stupid, stop it. And secondly, and here is the even more painful news, if maybe, just maybe, (and yes, oh-so-sadly this has happened to me) you’re actually not cheating (bravo!!) and are still not losing weight, you have to change something. Losing weight is not like sliding smoothly down a slide, it’s more like taking the stairs down, so yup, you will hit flat bits (plateaus) and when you do, you have to change something, so revamp your body. When your body levels out, it’s the only way.
If a Person Eats Something in Their Kitchen, and No One is Around to See it, Do The Calories Actually Count?
Y.E.S. This took me FOREVER to realize. All my sneaky pieces of cheese, secret chocolate bars, silent, lonely snacks COUNTED. I was only cheating myself. On that note, don’t complain and feel sorry for yourself if you’re cheating (see blog archives of me doing this). I did for 25 years… so trust me, it will get you no where fast. Besides, how does that even make sense? Exactly. It doesn’t.
Exercise Vs. Food, oh my!
If you’ve read my blog for more than 3.2 seconds, you’ll know I believe that losing weight is 95% food, and 5% exercise, and that’s me being generous. You can lose weight sitting on the couch, and you can run several marathons and gain weight. (Refer to my 2010 year for proof, please and thank you.)
However, I am absolutely pro-pro-pro working out because it helps you stay on track, reduces cellulite (who wants to be one of those skinny-fat people?) and makes you feel strong, and awesome, and accomplished, but exercise complements losing weight. Exercise is not the whole answer.
Random Tips (because this post has gotten too long… and I could write a book on this… so I’ll spare you)
- So you’re addicted to the scale, eh? Meh. I weigh myself tons and tons and yes, probably too much, but what’s the harm? It keeps me on track and encourages me if I’m losing weight, and reminds me to eat less when I gain.
- Deadlines. A goal without a deadline is not a goal, it’s a dream. Set a date. And on that date say, “Yay! I succeeded” or “I failed.”
- Never. Give. Up.
- Water it up yo! Sure you’ll go pee a billion times a day, but it helps (or so I hear - I suck at this).
- A half-hour walk does not equal a brownie. And a 10k does not equal a burger and fries.
- Eating more of something won’t help you lose weight. Calories are calories are calories.
- Your body is working against you. Everything is working against you. LIFE is also working against you. Even your friends may be working against you.
- It’s really hard. Every day you have to put effort in, every, singe, day. If you’re battling with this now, you’re probably gonna be a lifer. Join the club. Fat people tend to be funny, so the club is pretty awesome.
- And finally, if being over weight is your only problem, consider yourself very, very lucky!! You have the power to change your problem? My God, lucky you.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Comment! As we all know, the name of my blog is One Twenty Five, and I currently weigh 149, so OBVIOUSLY I don’t know my stuff that well, and yes, I’m still learning. I will respond to comments. (I can’t reply to “tumblr replies” though, fyi.)
I didn’t actually want to write this post, because who am I to give any sort of advice? But I’m asked this question at least a couple of times a day… and like I said, these are my thoughts, from my experience. It will obviously vary for different people.
Also, along with this post, my other unauthorized advice can be found here: