Many people have said weight loss is simply a matter of “eat less, move more,” but it’s so much more than that. If that were TRULY all it took, I think there would be more people losing weight. The missing ingredient in that recipe for weight loss is the mental one; losing weight is as much an emotional and mental battle as it is a physical one, and that’s what is so difficult to master, in my opinion. You see, in order to “eat less and move more,” you have to commit to do those things. You have to realize that your body and your health are important, that your weight can mean the difference between a short life and a long one, the difference between life and death. When you commit to it, you have to commit wholeheartedly and afford yourself no excuses. When I first decided last January that I was going to lose weight, I made a plan to exercise 6 days a week. And so I did that, but it was hard. There were days when that alarm went off at 6:00 a.m., and it was cold and dark, and the last thing in the world I wanted to do was drag my fat butt to the gym. But I did it that first day, and the second day, and the day after that because I knew it’s what I had to do to get the weight off, and I was sick and tired of making excuses and selling myself short. I treat exercise like an appointment that I can’t miss because if I don’t, if I give myself the slightest bit of leeway, I’ll stop doing it. I’ll find a reason not to one day (I’m tired or I’m too busy), and before I know it, I will have excused myself out of a week of exercise! I have to constantly watch myself, or I will become lazy again. Just yesterday I flaked out on my morning workout because my hips were sore from running, but in the afternoon I made myself workout for 40 minutes because I knew I didn’t want to start the pattern of wimping out at the slightest amount of soreness.
And even more difficult (for me, anyway) than the exercise is the eating aspect of all of this. I probably could have lost the 60 pounds a lot faster than I have if I had been stricter with my food intake. However, I know myself and I know that if I were to deprive myself of foods that I love and cut them out of my diet completely, I would be destined to fail. It’s happened in the past. I’d be good for a week or two and cut out sweets or chips or whatever, but then one day something would snap, and I’d go nuts, eating donuts and cookies and whatever else I could find. So I allow myself to eat sweets in small amounts, like the occasional brownie or chocolate, and sometimes I go overboard. Sometimes my mind and emotions are in check, and I can resist every temptation, and sometimes I am weak and just desperate for food, and I give in.
Yet what keeps me going is the fact that I know I am not on a diet. I’m not. People on diets get sidetracked one day and eat bad stuff or don’t exercise, and then they beat themselves up, call themselves failures, and give up. That’s why diets don’t work; people see them as temporary fixes instead of permanent solutions. I am making changes to my lifestyle that I know I can sustain. I know I can’t avoid sweets for the rest of my life, so I’m finding ways to fit them into my diet without doing too much damage to my overall caloric intake. I know to maintain my weight I will have to exercise, so I am consistently exercising and finding different ways to exercise to keep things interesting. Sometimes I don’t want to do these things. It’s a lot easier to sit on the couch and stuff my face. But I committed to this, and I believe the end result is worth the process, so I do it even when I don’t feel like it, and I never regret it. I feel great afterwards. And yet I ALWAYS regret skipping a workout or eating that extra dessert, and I end up feeling horrible afterwards. Looking at those two outcomes, it seems pretty obvious which one I should choose.
Ultimately, the biggest obstacle to losing weight is yourself. Do you believe you can do it? Do you think you’re worth the effort? Do you think you can be better? If you believe those things, prove it to yourself and make it happen. I’m not saying it will be easy because truth be told, it’s ridiculously difficult. But I will say that it’s absolutely, 100% worth it.