I remember the first time I decided I was going to lose weight. It was the summer before my senior year of college. I had just gone form a 34" waist in my jeans to 36", and I didn't like it. I decided that summer I was going to get back down to 34s. To accomplish this, I decided follow a catabolic diet where what you eat takes more energy to digest than the number of calories you take in. Raw foods such as carrots, broccoli, and celery became my staple. I was bound and determined to get back down to a 32" waist. Fast forward to the end of the summer...I was still a 36.
Losing weight is also about gaining. Every day is a process of learning and growing. While some focus on diet and exercise, I've realized it's more about understanding and managing my thoughts and behavior.
It's not that it wasn't a good plan or idea. But all these years later I realize I wasn't invested in the plan. Yes, I ate lots of raw carrots and celery. But I also ate lots of pizza, enchiladas, and drank lots of soft drinks. I did this telling myself it was okay because I was eating lots of celery and broccoli.
No I didn't gain any weight that summer, but I certainly didn't lose anything either. In fact, until eight weeks ago, I had only every successfully continued to gain weight.
Over the years I've tried different things to lose it though. I've done Weight Watchers, a program my friend put me on, and juicing. In every case, I lost some weight, but within a year, it was all back.
As a result, I have been asked, "What will be different this time?" I'm glad they asked.
Losing weight is also about gaining. Every day is a process of learning and growing. While some focus on diet and exercise, I've realized it's more about understanding and managing my thoughts and behavior. Everyday is about gaining self-discipline, self-acceptance, and self-awareness. It's about understanding struggles, challenges, and temptations. It's about celebrating victories, triumphs, and the positive changes happening not only in my overall health, but also in my physical appearance.
Here are 5 things that losing 50 pounds has taught me that I believe are going to make this weight loss experience a permanent one.
5. Understand Your "WHY"
It' can't just be about losing weight. If it is, you'll undoubtedly gain it back eventually. Everyone has their reasons. For me, I realized I was only surviving each day, but I longed for more. I wanted enjoyment. I wanted to be able to run and play with my kids and not feel like a heart attack was imminent. Understanding your "why" is more about having a change of heart--not just a change of mind.
4. Stay Balanced
This is really overlaps all my points, but in my experience, I needed it to be a conscious part of what I'm doing. Many people live life from one extreme to another. They go "all in" on this program or that idea. Then sometime later, they flame and return to their old ways. For me its a process. My diet is just one component of my overall health plan. In general, I'm eating better, drinking more water, sleeping more, relaxing more, and walking more. So while some may see my diet as radical, I think it's because in the balance of things, it's producing radical results.
3. Stop Comparing Myself With Others
I may be losing weight faster than some, slower than others. What difference does it make? What I've discovered is that when I compare myself with others, one of two things happens: Either I get discouraged because my results weren't as good, or I get a false sense of accomplishment because I may have out-performed someone. At the end of the day, I am who I am. I've learned to be okay with that. Being okay with it takes the stress off. And less stress makes it easier to lose weight!
2. Filter Out the Negative
I'm glad I have some friends that have asked me what's going to be different this time. They have forced me to make this a total, balanced, journey to better health. But in reality, their question has a negative connotation. I'm discovering that I don't want to hang out with the people who are not supportive of my journey. But through my personal, ever growing optimism, I'm actually discovering that more people are positive of my life-changes. In fact, my results are obvious, many have asked what I'm doing because they want to do something too! All this is an encouragement and helps keep me on the path.
1. I Still Have to Live
A few weeks ago I was lamenting to my health coach my fear of failure during two weeks where I would traveling and having to eat out. She made a comment that has helped me relax and stay balanced: "Ben, you still have to live." Now, I don't worry about going out to eat. I will find things that keep me on plan. But even when I can't find something exactly on plan, I am learning to be sensible and exercise self-discipline in my order, while at the same time enjoying and even embracing the experience with friends.
WEEK 8 Results:
Overall Weight Loss: 51.7 pounds