Eat this. Don’t eat that. Do this exercise. Eat at that time. Hang upside down in zero-gravity boots on the night of the full moon. We get these people left and right trying to tell us how to lose weight; telling us how to run our lives.
It seems like it’s mostly anecdotal, and some of them are pretty questionable, like when your friend tries to get you to buy water pills and swears they’re safe for long-term use. So I’m here to give you some advice that you can actually use without having to flip your life. You don’t have to live off of cabbage soup if you don’t want to.
Baby, I Love Your Weigh
When I first started losing weight, it was really disheartening for me to look at the scale every Friday. I would wake up, use the bathroom, disrobe, and check my weight at the same time every week, and sometimes that number never moved. Sometimes it was a tad lower than the week before, but sometimes it was a bit higher. I just kept thinking “what’s the point if I’m not getting any results?”
Seriously, this was some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. We’re normally told that we should weigh ourselves once a week, or even just once a month. However, I’m a firm believer that we should be weighing ourselves everyday. We’re going to see that scale move up and down from one day to the next, and we’re going to become desensitized to our minor gains and losses. The best part about this is that if we keep track of our weight from a day to day basis, we can see how our efforts are affecting our bodies. Don’t be afraid of your scale! Embrace it. Sometimes our bodies can change for the better, and our scale won’t even move. That’s where this comes in handy: you start to realize that the physical weight of your body doesn’t always tell the full story. Weight-lifting, salt intake, hydration, and even our bowels can change that number, and when we can visually remind ourselves of that on a constant basis, it makes it harder for a weigh-in to discourage us.
I Want It That Way
I have been vegetarian, vegan, primal, paleo, low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free, and for a while I even experimented with fruitarianism. After trying and failing at every single one of these diets, I think I had an epiphany. I like pizza, I like chicken wings, and I sure as hell LOVE chocolate. I also don’t really like fruit. So why am I not eating things I like?
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is forcing ourselves to eat things we don’t necessarily care for, and discarding foods that make life worth living. As I’ve mentioned already, I love chocolate. I like all of it from the cheapest bars you can find, to Godiva. I even eat plain Baker’s Chocolate; that 100% cocoa that you’re supposed to sweeten when you bake stuff. So when I finally realized that I can lose weight eating the things that I like to eat, I stopped getting on these programs that are meant to make me eat specific foods. There are a few things that we can cut out of our diets, but we should only do it because we want to, not because we need to for the diet to actually work. This is definitely another piece of advice that I had been given and had ignored for years. Don’t be like me. Eat what you like.
We’re Just Ordinary People
Maybe you have kids, a full-time job, travel a lot, work third shift, or have diabetes or another health-related issue that you would need to take into account when you decide how you are going to lose weight. The advice given to me: it’s not a big deal.
It’s not a big deal because we can find a way to lose weight no matter what our situation is. I think the best thing to do in this scenario is to sit down with a piece of paper, write down all of the factors that you will need to take into consideration, and then use that list. Too many times we have seen working mothers decide that they are going to calorie restrict and exercise for 3 hours a day. That’s just not realistic if you’re trying to work that in while also only getting 4 hours of sleep. I’ll also point out that it’s not really healthy either. We can’t be so desperate for results that we try to adopt routines we can’t keep. If you don’t have the finances to eat grass-fed, organic meat at every meal, don’t give up and just decide that being fat is okay. Alternatively, don’t go blow your entire life savings to get those cuts of meat from your local butcher. There are different ways to lose weight. Young, single, childless, healthy people who work a normal 40-hour a week job are at a serious advantage for weight loss, but not fitting into that category does not mean that weight loss is impossible. We have to remember that we also have a life to live, and that’s okay.
You Get What You Give
Sometimes we are going to feel like we’re putting in all the effort we possibly can. Sometimes we’re going to look at pictures of bodybuilders and Victoria’s Secret models, and we’re going to feel like gross blobs. Even if we aren’t actually gross blobs. Sometimes our friends are going to lose weight faster, or different parts of their bodies are going to tone at different rates than ours. Even after we have lost all of our weight, sometimes we will be left with loose hanging skin.
It is highly unlikely that we are going to get the exact results that we wanted, when we wanted them. When I started out, I would read these testimonials of various people who did various diets, and when I tried to do the exact same thing they did, I never ended up with the same results. It’s extremely disheartening to watch other people be successful and achieve their dreams while we sit back feeling like we haven’t made any progress. We have to be realistic though. It takes a tremendous amount of time to lose weight compared to the amount of time it takes to gain weight. If we’ve been sitting on our couch eating potato chips for 4 years straight, we can’t expect to have a rockin’ bod after 2 months of going to the gym.
I know this is all obvious information, but the reason I decided to include it on this list is because even though we are actively trying to change the way we look, we still need to find a way to be proud of what we’ve done so far. We also need to take responsibility for our actions and move forward to correct, or accept them.
I’m Gonna Be
I saved the best for last: perseverance!
How far are we willing to go to reach our goals? How much effort? How much sacrifice? These are important questions to consider when we’re making our plan to lose weight. We need to think long-term. My dieting history is pretty spotty as you’ve probably figured out by now, but I think the one thing I could’ve done differently to make success more likely would’ve been to not only walk 500 miles, but to actually walk 500 more. Metaphorically, but also somewhat literally. We need to be able to fully visualize what we want our future to look like, what steps we’ll take to get there, recognize the possible hurdles we’ll face, and actively decide that our weight loss journey is still worth it.
Sticking to a diet can be one of the hardest things to do because our past habits can bubble up to the surface, tempting us to sink back into our comfort zone. Maybe it’s emotional eating, or maybe it’s just learning how to socialize with family and friends without reaching for the chip bowl or always having to gather at a restaurant. Maybe we feel discouraged because we’ve plateaued. Maybe something incredibly stressful has happened recently in our lives, like the death of a family member or a divorce. Or maybe we have a psychological issue where we mentally sabotage ourselves when we finally start to see results (which was a HUGE issue of mine.)
The Moral of The Story
Weigh yourself every day, eat what you like, don’t expect to accomplish the impossible, be realistic about your past and your progress, and don’t give up.
This is not just my top 5 weight loss tips, it’s also a list of 5 of my favorite songs.
- Baby I Love Your Way – Peter Frampton
- I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys
- Ordinary People – John Legend
- You Get What You Give – New Radicals
- I’m Gonna Be – The Proclaimers
Good luck on your weight loss endeavors! Have any good tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!