I honestly do not remember the last time I felt truly content in my own skin. I moved to the US when I was 18 and lived on my college campus. That meant 3 meals a day in the cafeteria, which at that stage, the best (meaning tastiest and safest looking) option was hamburger and fries. I think I ate fries every day of each school term. I ballooned to about 100 kilograms. Having played tennis, golf and volleyball all through high school, this was not a weight I was familiar with. But even prior to that I remember feeling fat compared to my high school friends. I was also tall, which didn’t help. I wanted to just shrink all over! Of course, looking back now I see that I was NOT fat and would give my left arm to go back to my 17 year old body (who wouldn’t, really?).
In the last 6 months I’ve learned a lot about myself, about weight loss, about excuses, and about fitness. I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned.
1. The first and foremost thing is that weight loss is not about diets. I know, this is not an original idea. But it’s truly not about fads, or the latest get-thin-quick schemes. It’s not about crash diets and losing weight fast. It’s not about pills and caffeine. If it is, you might succeed at first, but you won’t last.
2. Losing weight isn’t even about exercise. I was running for about 12 weeks, frustrated with not getting anywhere, not getting any thinner, the number on the scale NOT.MOVING. It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, if you are giving yourself a treat for every time you exercise, you might as well just skip both the exercise AND the treat – you’d be better off!
3. No one else can get you to That Point. You have to get there yourself. Where is the point? It’s where you are so fed up with yourself, your look, your body, your mind, with using the same excuses over and over, with hating what you see in the mirror, hating what you feel when you move. It’s the point where if something doesn’t change, you are not really sure how you will go on! It’s the point where you either buy the next size up, or DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
4. Weight loss IS about changing your mind. Changing your attitude towards food. It’s about not indulging. It’s about not making excuses. It’s about finding a regime that works for you and sticking to it. Forever. I used to wish and hope that if I could just run for a couple of months and watch what I ate, lose a few kgs, I could go back to my old ways but stay thinner. It absolutely does not work that way. Oh how I wish it did!
5. The road to weight loss is much smoother if you go by measurements and clothes sizes, not by the number on the scale. The number on the scale can be very de-motivating, and that helps no one. If your measurements are shrinking, you’re buying smaller clothes, but the scale is staying the same, either you’re replacing fat with muscle, or your scale is broken!
6. Doing just one activity, such as running, will get you started, but is best supplemented with other workouts as well, like weights or training (including push ups, situps, circuits, boxing, etc.) Once I started going to personal training once a week, I started to notice more changes in my body. Now I’m going twice a week and can’t wait to see what happens in the next 4-6 weeks.
7. Other people can be a great source of inspiration and motivation. They can hold you accountable when you let yourself slide. I am so thankful my trainer pushed me to come back after my surgery, or I could have let that excuse ride for months! She said not to over-do it, but just going kept me mentally in the game.
8. Lastly, if you do something long enough, it becomes habit. Once you are working hard for something, the rest will come a bit easier. If you’ve just run 7k, the last thing you want to eat is McDonalds/cake/anything you shouldn’t be eating and undo all that hard work you’ve done. It’s ok to have a treat once in a while, but you may even find when you do, your body won’t be happy about it. Our bodies like healthy nutrition and movement.
9. It’s not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it. Life can, and will, get in the way. Don’t let it. Plan, schedule, re-arrange, wake up earlier, go to bed later, join a gym (and register for classes – accountability!). Blog about it, tweet about it, Facebook about it. It is a long hard road, but it is so worth it. It’s worth the feeling of buying smaller clothes, of liking what you see in the mirror, of the compliments you’ll get from people who haven’t seen you in a while, it’s worth it to be able to run after your child on the beach and not wear out…it is worth every second and every penny.
Those are pretty much the things I’ve learned on this journey so far. I’m not perfect, I’m not trying to be. I’m not trying to win any races or get to any specific dress size. I just want to be healthy. I want to live a long life. And if I’m going to be around for a while, I’d like to look good while I’m here. There are so many benefits to exercising and weight loss is an added bonus.
This Week’s #OperationMove (with Kate Says Stuff) minutes:
Sat 1/9: 49 minutes running
Mon 3/9: 60 minutes PT
Tuesday 4/9: 34 minutes running
Wednesday 5/9: 60 minutes tennis (doubles)
Wednesday 5/9: 60 minutes PT
Friday 7/9: 31 minutes running
TOTAL Minutes: 294 (of 900 for the month)