So there I sat, in front of a blank computer screen, blinking cursor and all, trying to figure it out what to write about this week, when I saw something that helped make my decision.
It was a picture of a friend of mine who lost a significant amount of weight and has really turned their life around. Not just when it comes to what they eat or how much they exercise, but literally their whole outlook on life. Their reason for beginning their weight loss journey was to be healthier for their kids, but it has gone way past that today.
As I looked at this picture I thought to myself how great it is that so many different people can have so many different reasons for wanting to get healthy. The important thing is that you have to make that mental connection. You have to decide to get healthy. You have to use whatever it takes to get your mind in a place that no matter how hard it may be, no matter how much you struggle, the reasons you have for starting are too powerful to quit. I just hope that after you meet your goal for that specific “reason” you stick with it — and not go back to what you were doing before.
It reminds me of the story about the person who seeks out a wise man for advice about life. The wise man tells the person to meet them at the beach the next morning. There the wise man instructs the person to walk with them into the ocean until the water is just over the person’s head at which point he holds him underwater. The person struggles for a long time when the wise man finally lets him up. When the person asks what that was all about the wise man simply states, “You can achieve anything in your life once you want it as much as you wanted your next breath.”
So when it comes to losing weight, don’t get caught up in the numbers. A lot of good people begin wellness programs thinking too much about counting calories, or adding up points and, although this may work for some, most end up quitting because the numbers become too much to keep up with. Plus, just because you count calories or add up points, that doesn’t mean your getting the right kind of calories or the best points. If you really need to make it a “numbers game” just remember this: if you burn more calories than you take in, you can’t help but lose weight.
Second, don’t deprive yourself of all of those foods you love to eat. You’ll only end up craving them even more and eventually, after your weight loss goal for that event has been met, you end up gorging on them and putting on all that weight, plus some. Instead concentrate on portion size. You can have pasta, but only eat an amount the size of your fist. Have some potatoes, but make it sweet potatoes. Have your bread, but choose wheat bread and follow the serving size information on the label.
However, you still need to avoid some things altogether. But those are the high fat, high calorie, high sugar foods that you know deep down you’re not supposed to have. Even then, there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for a really, really good week of being good, with a small treat of something bad.
Third, I just want to continue to encourage you to maintain a regular exercise schedule. Eating all the right foods, and portion sizes is only half the battle. You must also start getting your body in shape by participating in activities that get your heart rate going like walking, running or aerobics and also some weight training to get strong muscles and tone your body. Nothing burns fat more than building muscle.
Finally, try not to think of yourself as on a diet or even having weight loss as your main goal. Instead, think of yourself making a life choice to get healthy, and I promise you, if you want it as much as a drowning person wants their next breath, you will not fail.