From early childhood on, I have been struggling with my weight and appearance. I was always the chubby kid, and I took this baggage with me all the way to university. This January 1st, I made the decision to lose my beer belly for good and succeeded through losing more than 20lbs. For this IBCoMagazine post, I dissected the five lessons I learned along the way on my journey.
- Motivation isn’t everything
You’re ready to hit the gym 5 times a week, and you can’t wait to down a gallon of water when you come home. What you need to realize though, is that this kind of motivation is only temporary. Sometimes, working out sucks and so does watching what you eat every time. What is helpful in those types of moments is having a long-term goal. Physical, short-term goals get old, which makes it easy to get stuck in a ‘it’s fine being the way I am anyway’-type of mindset.
Nothing wrong with a little self-love, but if you’re anything like me, this type of complacent thinking has kept you from receiving the results you so longingly desire. Don’t just depend on motivation to do the job, think past your unwillingness and do it. Doing nothing can never work in favor of your goal!
- Progress is not linear
We’re programmed to think that input A equals output B, but weight loss just doesn’t work the same. I won’t get into the technical stuff, but I noticed for myself that I would lose weight dead quickly and be bloated beyond belief on other days. This can work very demotivating, but your body is processing and adjusting to the new lifestyle. Yes, it’s annoying that your stomach will poke through your sundress a bit. If you know that you’re putting the right things in your body, it’s just a matter of patience to be able to enjoy your ‘new’ body.
- Every meal has a workaround
In the beginning of my journey, I used to crave fried rice. When doing a quick Google search (more on education in the next tip), I realized that this was a way too calorie-dense meal for my goal. I then went and looked for healthy alternatives through which I found cauliflower fried rice. I make this almost weekly now, as it’s filling and healthy, yet super delicious as well! The point I am trying to make is that you don’t have to say goodbye to all the good food in life. If you like going to the McDonalds after a night at Superdisco, swap the Big Mac menu with a Happy Meal and a Diet Coke. It’s changes like this that make for sustainable results and a sustainable yet enjoyable lifestyle.
- Educate thyself
Foods can’t be categorized in a spectrum of more or less healthy, it all depends on what you need for what goal. Of course, it’s better to skip the French fries when you’re trying to lose weight, as they are easy to overindulge in. Still, when you know what’s in your food, it’s easier to make such decisions based on your personal needs. That’s why it’s important to know what your goal is, whether it be losing fat, gaining muscle or anything in between. Also, be understanding of your food’s ingredients, so it’s easier to know what belongs in your mouth or your trash can (or cabinet for your roommate to steal).
- Life happens, let it happen! (as long as you’re consistent)
Never forget that you’re human! It’s okay to binge sometimes, even if it feels as if you are back to square one after doing so. You cannot expect to run a marathon without getting sore and needing rest every now and then. In an ideal world, I would have had a sixpack by March 31st. My name would also be Beyoncé and I’d be preparing to headline one of America’s biggest festivals. It’s just not our reality and it sometimes is the best to try to enjoy the process as much as you can, even if it means nibbling on more KitKats than you ‘are allowed to’. 😉