I get asked the question a lot, what did you do to lose weight? That question is usually followed by the comment; "I want to lose weight, but I have no idea what to do or how to get started". Losing weight is so simple, unbelievably simple. However, even though it is simple, it is not easy. To lose weight all you need to do is eat clean, exercise, and stay motivated. It sounds simple, right? Repeat those steps everyday and you will be able to lose weight.
I sincerely believe the biggest obstacle people struggle with is staying motivated. Unfortunately motivation is not something you can buy. There is no magic motivation pill you can pop once a day, nor a surgical procedure you can go under for and be done with it. Motivation comes deep within yourself and it is something that you have to push yourself with everyday on your journey.
When I decided that I had to lose weight, It was a Tuesday afternoon in September of 2008. I was 19 years old. I was at the doctor's office and a nurse had just weighed me and took my blood pressure as they always do when a patient comes from an appointment. I felt numb. I was 19 years old and weighed 276 pounds. I had gained 116 pounds in two years. Throughout high school, especially my senior year, I stayed very muscular and fit. However, I graduated early, and from January 2007 to September 2008, life to me meant nothing but partying, binging, fast food, and skipping the gym. I was at the doctor that September day to talk to my MD about depression. I had been battling it off and on. I would shower with the lights off because I could not stand to see myself naked. I would cry in the dressing rooms of any stores I was in because clothes never fit me correctly. I started to never see my friends because I hated going out with them. I was the fattest and ugliest of the group, so why even bother to go out? I just wanted to stay home and feel sorry for myself. And I wanted food to comfort me.
When my doctor came in the room to talk to me, I told her what I was going through. We talked for about half an hour and she thought I should see a Psychologist. She was just a small town medical Doctor and she concluded that my problems were better fit for a Psychologist to evaluate. When I left, I sat in my car and replayed the conversation that just ensued and I thought really hard about what I told her. My problems sounded different when I said them aloud. For the first time, I told someone why I was feeling depressed. It was then sitting in my car, that I decided I had to lose weight. I had to change my life. I was 19 years old and I should be in the best shape of my life - having the best time of my life. My depression was not due to a neurological chemical imbalance to where I would need medication, it was because I loathed myself so much.
When I arrived home from the doctor, I started my research. That is how I initially got started. I did a lot of research to make myself learn. I could not afford a fancy weight loss program or a trainer to do all of the work for me and I just follow their lead. I knew that I wanted to learn so my change could be permanent. I went online and looked up YouTube videos for exercise and healthy eating, I would look up clean eating recipes, the benefits of lean proteins, vegetables, fiber, and carbohydrates - and examples of each of those food groups. I learned the difference between a simple and complex carbohydrate as well as monounsatured and trans fats. I would read and print pictures and instructions on different weight lifting exercises and the various types of cardio such as endurance and high intensity interval training. I worked for what I wanted. If I wanted to lose weight, I needed to learn how to do it correctly. I ordered books and magazines on nutrition and fitness. There are also a plethora of weight loss blogs and websites online filled with writers who are willing to help people, such as myself! If you want to lose weight but have no idea where to start, feed your brain with information.
After I had an idea on what to eat, I consciously made myself make better choices. That evening after I read on nutrition and fitness, I made a clean dinner. My dinner consisted of a lean protein, vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate. I made progress. I was learning, and my first step to a clean meal was successful. Next, I sat down to write out and schedule my days so I could always ensure I have a designated time to exercise. Then I woke up the next morning and had a clean breakfast. Later that day, I said no to soda. After that I avoided picking up fast food on the way home from class. These tiny, insignificant choices that one makes throughout their day completely add up when you are on a weight loss journey. Good choices are constantly made, time goes by, and the next thing you know, it has been a week and you lost 8 pounds.
If you want to lose weight, you can start right now. If you are drinking a sugary soda, toss it. Grab a glass of water. Are you going out for dinner? Order water to drink and order lean protein such as turkey, chicken, or fish and ask the cooks to prepare it with as little butter and salt as possible. Take an hour from your day to dedicate to exercise. Instead of watching TV, playing Candy Crush, or checking out Facebook, devote that time to a good work out. If you want something in life, it is up to you to make it happen. Excuses will not get you anywhere, and finally on that day in 2008, I was ready to give the excuses up.
As your weight loss journey progresses, eating clean and exercising will become a habit. It truly becomes second nature. It has been scientifically shown it takes 21 days to create a habit. And it is true. When you first start clean eating and exercise, it is really hard. I can't take the hard away from it. Nor can anyone else. It is just something you have to push through if you really want it.
Here is when the best part starts to come alive The incredible feelings. The feeling when you are able to be satisfied from food - not miserably full. The feeling of energy that comes from your clean meals. I feel like I am ready to take on the world after I eat healthy. I do not have that "food coma" feeling where I am miserable and want to fall asleep. Aside from proper food choices, you have the accomplishments with working out; be it in the gym, at home, or elsewhere. I pushed through a hard workout and my body is tingling of success (that is one of my personal favorites). Your endorphin's are going crazy. I started off not being able to run a mile, now I can run 5 without stopping. I previously could only do 3 sets of 10 repetitions, 12 pound dumbbell curls, but now I can do 3 sets of 15 - with proper form. I can go harder. I can go faster. I can go longer. I look in the mirror and see myself shrinking. The pants that were too tight a month ago, are now falling off of my waist. I can see my body getting toned. I can flex my arm and see definition starting to appear. Your hard work comes to a surface. You finally understand and you finally appreciate the hard work you have put in. These are your rewards. And they keep you going. I want to be better than I was yesterday and I can't wait to be better than that tomorrow.
One of the bonuses about losing weight that no one really talks about is how your accomplishments effect the rest of your life. I find that I want to be a better person at my job. I want to be a better friend. I want to set harder goals. I feel so much better about myself and I have learned to love myself more than I thought possible. I proved that I can work hard and stay dedicated to improve my body and health, and I also happen to strength my mind. My confidence. My self worth. Anyone can lose weight and you get started right now. Start by making healthier choices whenever you can. Do not overwhelm yourself, just take it one step at a time. You will not lose all of the weight you want in a day, week, month, or probably even 2 months. It takes time. It takes dedication, consistency, motivation from within, and if you want to start, take initiative and do it right now. Learn anything you can about proper nutrition and exercise, talk to your friends, talk to a trainer, buy books, obtain free material online - there are millions of sources. Once you gain some knowledge, execute it by making one healthy choice at a time.
I'm there with you! On November 25th 2013, I had to almost start over. I am building myself up again from a hard year with a lot of obstacles. And I am doing it, one bite and one calorie at a time.