With the onset of the New Year, no doubt one of the expectations is to lose weight. If this is to happen, you need to set reasonable expectations. Otherwise, you will most likely fail and give up the effort.
The first thing that you must realize is that the weight gain didn’t happen overnight. It took time. It’s going to take time to lose the weight just like it took time to put it on. If you ask me about expectations I would tell you that I try not to have them. If I don’t have expectations, I won’t be disappointed. Therefore everything that does come my way becomes an unexpected gift.
When I started my weight loss journey, I did have expectations. I expected to lose maybe 20 pounds or perhaps 30 pounds like my previous two efforts (each of which resulted in failure as I regained the weight). I never expected to lose 60 pounds and have the body that I always wanted.
As I have mentioned, expectations disappoint you. Still, there are certain expectations you will need in order to lose weight. Make your initial efforts reasonable. Don’t overdo it. If you try to do too much, you will end up quitting. Have a small routine and work up from there. The pictures below show how I changed my routine. I went from fat to thin to muscular with this philosophy.
My initial expectations were to complete a daily routine and to eat healthy. This included eliminating beer. Eventually I eliminated all alcohol. Eliminating the beer resulted in a 35 pound loss. Eliminating alcohol all together resulted in losing an additional 25 pounds. I just went through New Year’s and didn’t crave any alcohol. I’d rather feel great the next day and be able to workout than have a temporary buzz with the associated depression. I haven’t been this happy in years. Eliminating alcohol removed my reliance on a false crutch that provided only temporary relief. Exercise has provided a permanent relief. I feel so much better after a workout. I did my first workout of the year on New Year’s Day. I didn’t put it off until Monday. It’s a part of my routine. It’s a part of my life. I make it a priority. I don’t make it something that I get to if I can.
Getting back to the theme of reasonable expectations, your new lifestyle has to be pain-free if it is going to work. In other words, don’t starve and don’t overdo the exercise. A little hurt is to be expected. Think of it as a “good hurt”. The feeling of rebuilding muscles does have some pain associated with it. The act of building muscle means you must tear the muscle down first. Muscles that have long been dormant will protest a bit. Work through that pain. 90% of this is mental. If the pain persists for more than a week, you’re pushing too hard. Ease up a bit. The important thing is to keep doing something. Stay active and burn the fat off. Ignore the initial pain. It really does get easier. Pain turns into the pleasure that results from blood flow and endorphins produced by being active.
The biggest mistake New Year’s resolutions have is to be temporary. This is especially true with diets. I hate the word “diet” as it has temporary connotations. I say “eating habits” instead. Your eating habits must change on a permanent basis if you are to have success at losing weight and keeping it off for a lifetime. Temporary diets won’t work. Starvation only makes your body hoard the calories that you do take in. You need a philosophy that burns weight rather than stores it.
What worked for me was to rely on my stored fat for energy. I limited my carb intake and I relied on protein and fat for the main source of my nutrition. Think of it as a gas tank that fuels your body. If you are depleting the tank, you are burning fat. If you are constantly taking in carbs then you are driving down the road with a gas nozzle still inserted. In other words, you are constantly inputting a source of energy that you burn ahead of the fat. If you continue to put that energy in by ingesting carbs, you will never burn the fat. Curb your carb intake. Consuming carbs make you want to eat more carbs. They aren’t satisfying. Fat and protein make you feel full. They take away the pain of hunger and starvation. Merely cutting back just makes you hungry which will aggravate you to a point where you will quit.
America is a puffy country. I believe wheat is the reason. The second reason is sugar. We eat entirely too much of the stuff. These two compounds are in a lot of the foods that we eat. They are also proving to be detrimental to our health. All I can say about my success was that cutting these foods out helped immensely. It isn’t easy as each of these have a draw that makes us desire them. You have to convince yourself that you don’t need these things. After all, 90% of weight loss is mental. You will need to use your brain in order to build the body that you want. How can you when you are ingesting compounds that affect your brain? The answer is you can’t unless you stop ingesting them. By the way, “can’t” is a word I hate even more than “diet”. We are Americans not American’ts. We have accomplished great things many of which took energy and persistence. You have it inside you. Why suppress it and stay fat? There is no excuse other than laziness!