Disclaimer: This post is a rant. You’ve been warned…
I’m getting tired of reading health experts and other weight loss bloggers criticizing the method people lose weight as well as the emotion people go through while losing weight. If you spend anytime reading health/weight loss/fitness articles online you will see that there is a common thread. Everyone thinks their method of losing weight is the only way to do it. I’m not going to take time to list out any specific examples cause they are plentiful. Just surf around the net a bit and you’ll see that everyone has an opinion about how to lose weight.
I somewhat understand so called experts, because they are pushing products or methods to earn money. They are going to go with what sells, I get it. Although, I think they would be doing everyone a service to not trash other methods than the one they are pushing. What really gets me going is other weight loss bloggers criticizing people who are in the same boat as them. I lost weight by calorie counting, but I know that there are thousands of other methods that are just as effective. I’m not going to trash those other methods. It just so happens that calorie counting worked for me. I’ve said (and wrote it) a thousand times….find what works for you and perfect it.
But the biggest issue I have is when other weight loss bloggers criticize others for the emotions they are experiencing while losing weight. Many people who are trying to lose weight experience it at a very emotional level. The ups and downs of the mental state has been called a journey. There is something around every corner when trying to lose weight. In my opinion, losing weight is a journey. There is a start and there is a destination and you don’t really know the course you are taking between start and finish.
I appreciate all of the weight loss bloggers who put their lives online to discuss their journey. I read thousands of articles a week from weight loss bloggers and I love every minute of it. There are as many methods and emotions as there are weight loss blogs. Everyone has their own method of losing weight and dealing with their emotions. I also appreciate that people may have a difference of opinion on how to lose weight and can offer their insight into situations that one may come across during their journey. What I don’t appreciate is people criticizing others for how they are losing weight and the emotions they are experiencing.
Please don’t stop having an opinion, but please stop telling people that your opinion is better than others. I feel that we (weight loss blogging community) are all in this together. We are all trying to better ourselves and need all the support we can get. But we also offer a ton of support. It hurts our community when someone wants to better themselves and they get trashed for doing so. I love reading someones opinion on their blog when they offer insight, suggestions, guidance etc. I get a bit angry when their insightful blog post turns into a self-indulging editorial. But then again, its your blog, write what you want.
Big props go to everyone who is trying to lose weight and get up every morning ready to fight the good fight. Keep writing inspiring and motivating blog posts, they mean a lot to a lot of people. Please ignore the haters.
I have been trying to lose weight most of my adult life. I have successfully lost weight for about a year and a half now. I lost weight when I realized that weight loss (and gain) was/is 100% of my own doing, my own choices and my decisions. No one is going to gain or lose weight for me. No one is going to make my eating choices for me. No one is going to decide if I go to the gym or not. I am the only one that stands in the way of losing weight.
I have an amazing support system at home as well as online. The blogging and Twitter relationships I’ve made with the weight loss community are amazing. I get motivation and inspiration daily through my network of other people trying to lose weight. However, its still up to me to get out there, move more and eat less. If you ever sneak a peek at any infomercial or general weight loss product, their pitch is that losing weight is easy. All you have to do is buy their product and use it passively and your fat will melt off…right before your eyes! Unfortunately, anyone who has tried to lose weight knows this isn’t the case.
I had a rough “eating” weekend this past weekend. I went a little overboard with food and the scale paid the price. I knew that what I was eating wasn’t good but I took responsibility for it. It was the decision I made. I also know that to make it right, I need to get back on track. I need to take responsibility for the food I ate. No one is going to workout for me. I must do it.
Taking responsibility for my actions and understanding that if I was going to lose weight and get healthy was a powerful and transforming moment in my life. Weight loss became something that I had power over. No one can take if from me. I was in control. This thought and understanding struck something within me and it allowed me to move forward in this struggle. Knowing that I posses the keys to my health is what kickstarted my weight loss and keeps me going today. There aren’t too many things in my life that I am in control of (external factors for example), however, I am in control of what/when I eat and when/how I workout.
This also puts a ton of pressure on myself. I have no one else to blame if I fail. I can’t point a finger at anyone and I certainly don’t wan to disappoint myself. This helps keep me on track.
Too many people blame others or something for their weight gain or lack of weight loss. This is simply a case of excuses. I know that if you turn inward and use the strength within, you can lose weight and get in control of your health.
Over the last few months, I diligently observed my mood and my motivation before, during and after various weight loss activities. These include waking up early in the morning to workout, the workout itself, post-workout, preparing food, ordering food etc. During this observation period, I’ve noticed something that I find remarkable and may help me lose more weight and get healthy.
I found that if I approach working out, or finding food to eat as a “weight loss” task, I don’t generally enjoy doing it. I feel like I am obliged to participate as someone trying to lose weight. It almost seems like a burden. The workout seems like a quick fix and the food aspect feels like a diet. After I have completed the task, I don’t really feel that satisfied. I know that I have to do it all over again tomorrow and it wears on me.
However, if I approach the day and the various activities with a “I’m getting healthy” mindset (as opposed to weight loss), I feel much more upbeat and happy about it. I know that its for the long haul and that I am taking steps to live a healthier life. Post-activity, I feel a bit more satisfied and accomplished as I know I just took one more step to getting healthier. Its no longer a task that I can check off when complete but a behavior that I strive to live day-in-and-day-out.
After I made this discovery, I put this observation to the test. Over the course of the last month, I tried really hard to get into a “health” based mindset instead of “weight loss” mode to see how it impacted my decisions and actions throughout the day. When I was able to get into, what I am calling “The Victory Mindset”, my workouts were more efficient and satisfying as I exercised with a sense of purpose. My meals were more enjoyable as I ate them knowing that its the right thing for me to eat long-term and not just a quick fix to lose 10 pounds. Overall I was happier throughout the day knowing I was leading a lifestyle of health instead of trying to diet. At the end of the day, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and self-pride.
I am calling this The Victory Mindset because losing weight and getting healthy really is a battle and a competition. Its a battle with myself, my body and my mind. In this battle, health goes to the victor. Everyday that I workout, I feel victorious. Everyday that I don’t stop at a gas station to eat a candy bar, I feel victorious. I am also calling this The Victory Mindset because this reaches far beyond weight loss and health. I have applied this mindset to my job and to friendships with great reward. The Victory Mindset is a great place to be in for all facets of life. its not only good for my physical health, but for my mental health as well.
I noticed a few other interesting things about The Victory Mindset:
- It isn’t always easy to get into the mindset.
- Sometimes when I was in the mindset, I would slip out of it into the weight loss mode.
- It takes preparation and effort to get into the mindset.
- The more and more I’m in the right mindset, the more it becomes my general mindset and part of my life.
As I tried to achieve this mindset on a daily basis, I started to figure out what was needed to get into this mindset. As I’m getting ready to go to bed every night, I run through a checklist of what I want to accomplish the following day. This was basically a list of short-term goals. Wake up early to run. Eat right. Make good decisions. Drink water. (Also stuff like: Smile often, tell my wife and son I love them) This short list has become a bedtime mantra. I don’t write anything down or go crazy with lists, just a short mantra to get myself prepared for the next day.
When I wake up in the morning, I repeat the mantra, but also try and attach realistic expectations for the day. This includes: how far do I want to run. What will I eat for breakfast, lunch, and snacks (my amazing wife takes care of dinner plans). When will I take time out of my day to make sure I am drinking water. Just lay out my day so good decisions are easy to make.
When I get home, I review my day to see what worked and what didn’t. I use this knowledge to make adjustments for the future. Rinse and repeat the process.
It might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. It only takes a minute or two, and that time is well spent. It gets my mind right to live a healthy life and not just reach some weight loss goal. Everyone knows someone that they haven’t seen for a while who lost a ton of weight and looks great. But the next time you see that person they gained all the weight back plus some. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to live a healthy 8, 9, 10 months, I want to live a healthy life.
This may all sound a bit kooky, and it is, but it works for me. If/when you find something that works…stick with it and try to perfect it!
At my heaviest, I would have a king size Milky Way and 24 ounce energy drink everyday on my way home from work (which is partially the reason I got so heavy). I didn’t even think twice about it. My body and mind were on auto-pilot as I would pull into the store and make my purchase. The candy bar was like a drug. I needed it for my drive home. Doing this was easy, there was not thought or effort to accomplish this.
When I made a decision to lose weight, I knew I had to make different eating decisions. I knew I couldn’t eat a king size candy bar every day. I couldn’t eat four slices of pizza for lunch. I couldn’t eat a bowl of ice cream at 10pm every night.
I’ve now lost 50 pounds, but the urge and temptation to pull into every corner store to get a candy bar is still there. The temptation is still there to skip the healthy lunch I brought to work and go get 3 slices of pizza instead. This is the struggle within that I deal with and manage everyday. The urge and temptation is still there, however I feel a small sense of victory and accomplishment when I pass the gas station or the pizzeria without going in. The feeling I get from these small victories make it possible to keep going and fighting these temptations. While the struggle makes it difficult to stay on course (I won’t lie, I succumb to the urge every so often), I like the struggle. On days where the scale doesn’t move, the struggle provides me with the small victories to provide the motivation I need to keep going.
I hope that one day I won’t have a problem with food and that this struggle within will go away. I want to drive past a gas station, restaurant, pizzeria or ice cream shop without having an urge to stop in and gorge myself. I wish I didn’t have to think about that. But, at this point in time, I do. And I will keep struggling with myself and I will keep fighting the good fight.
When it comes to weight loss and physical activity, I used to be the king of excuses. I created a new excuse for an old problem. I needed to get off my a** and workout. Didn’t have to be a full on weightlifting session, but something would have been nice. Even a walk around the block would have sufficed. When I want to make an excuse, I go and watch this video. The same goes for eating healthy…excuse after excuse after excuse. One day, I decided I was sick of being unhealthy and lying to myself and making excuses for my poor health. The day I stopped making excuses and started taking action is the day that changed my life forever.
Now I’m really into running and running events such as the Muddy Buddy, Rugged Maniac, Du-athlons, Spartan Race…basically any 5k obstacle course or bike/run du-athons. When I talk to my friends and other people about this, they always seem interested and invite them to join me. Its at this time where I hear excuses on why they can’t participate. I never hold it against them, because that was me. I understand where they are coming from and why. Some excuses are: “I have an old bike that’s not very good” or “My running shoes are really old” or I don’t have any clothes to run in the winter” or “I don’t have time to workout”. I take this as an opportunity to educate them on how very little you need to be active, go for a jog and/or participate in these events.
My Running Shoes are Too Old
Who cares! This is one of the excuses I hear most. People want to start jogging when they get a new pair of running shoes. They go to get said running shoes and find out they are at least $100 if not more. They don’t buy them cause of price so they never go for a run/workout etc. I guarantee that you have a pair of shoes in your closet that are good enough for you to run or workout in. I wear a pair of Asics that I have had for years. I know that if I went to a legitimate running store and got properly fitted for running shoes that my running performance would probably improve. But not sure by how much. My guess is that its only nominal. If running is something I am going to do for the long-term, than better running shoes is on my list. But just to get up and get active, what I have is perfect!
I Have an Old Crappy Bike
Who cares! I have an older Giant mountain bike that I purchased on Criagslist for $50. Made about $50 worth of improvements in components and now its perfect for what I use it for. You don’t need to go out and buy a $1,500+ bike to get into du-athlons or to get out and get active. Dust off the bike you have in your garage or shed and log some miles. If you really need to upgrade, either check Criagslist or just upgrade a few aspects of the bike you already have.
I Don’t Have Any Performance Apparel
Who cares! I run in an old hoodie and sweat pants. Would expensive dri-fit or Under Armor gear make me feel less sweaty? Probably. But who cares! Wear the clothes you have and build your workout collection over time. It’s really not needed!
I Don’t Have Time
This is the fall back excuse of too many people…myself included. The fact is, I had to make time. I now wake up an hour or so earlier every day and make it happen. As the old adage says, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen!
There are countless other excuses for not getting up, getting outside and being active. In the past I’ve either used an excuse or invented one. I know them all. I didn’t lose the weight and get serious until I stopped telling myself those excuses.
Nike was right…Just Do It!
I read a blog post today by Jerry Kennedy that sparked something in my brain and really got me thinking about weight loss and being healthy. In his post, Jerry speaks about finding your personal truth and “Choosing the truth is simply this: a resolve to stop lying to yourself.”
And this, my friends, is where rubber meets the road. That sentence is what made me and will make you lose weight. Once you stop lying to yourself and start being honest with yourself, you will do the things you need to do to lose weight and get healthy. “I can eat that candy because I am going to the gym tomorrow”, “I am going to the gym starting Monday” (this is the biggest lie I used to tell myself and one that i hear from many people who want to get healthy). There are countless lies I told myself and those lies lead me to be overweight with gout, sleep apnea and borderline diabetes. I didn’t actually start losing weight until I looked at myself in the mirror and started being painfully honest with myself. This isn’t an easy thing to do, and it hurts at times. But its the only way to go.
From time to time, I still catch me lying to myself. Sometimes I’m not cognizant of it and fall off the wagon for a few days. However, its when I catch myself that I smile and know that I need to be honest with me always. Being honest with myself was and is the catalyst for my weight loss and healthy lifestyle.
If you are struggling with starting or sticking with a plan, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself the truth.