The link above is a GREAT article from WebMD that inspired this post.
As someone who has lost close to 100 lbs in fat weight over the last 2 decades, I found this article insightful and thought-provoking. It made me want to share my personal tips for keeping the weight off and living more and more freely from the mental/emotional constraints of being on a “weight-loss program”. And by the way, can we please call it a “self-gain” program instead?
With that said, here’s my take on these tips, which you could consider recommendations on their own, or with the list from the article.
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1. YOU have to decide when you’re ready.
I’ve worked with enough people to tell you that the impetus can’t come from someone else’s influence (or pressure). Even in my personal experience, an external event or a deadline based on a photo shoot etc, doesn’t help motivate me. If anything, I just get frustrated at the idea that I have to do it for someone/something else. That said, I think goals are best achieved when the motivation comes from within. Think of this, when you get to tip #5.
2. Be REALISTIC.
The best intentions are usually packaged in extreme ideas. People will say any or all the following, believing that it’s probable when the likelihood is hardly possible:
- I’ll work out twice a day
- I’ll eat clean for a few weeks
- I’ll train every day with my trainer
- I’ll show up to boot camp daily for a whole month
- etcetera, etcetera …
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for those who are so motivated that they’ll literally do all the above to jumpstart their progress. The point I’m making though is one of sustainability. I believe that being realistic about your goals, relative to your schedule, lifestyle constraints, etc will increase your chances for long-term success.
3. What worked for others may or may not work for you.
Research of generally effective principles is key here. It’s too easy to latch on to fad successes if not stories of what works for friends/family that may be based on principles other than what they think is responsible for their weight loss.
Here’s a great personal example. For me, eating light after 6pm helps me keep my visible abdominal fat in check. Now, I could share this with someone and they might think that avoiding food after 6pm is the answer. Is it? Would they lose weight if they gorged all day and ate nothing at night? Probably not. But why does it work for me? Because my tendency is to eat the most, and the worst kind of food at night. So if I clean this aspect up, I achieve my physique goals. Only if you’re in the same boat may this work for you, but the greater point is, the principle involved is really about keeping my total food consumption in check, versus the timing of my food intake.
4. Set your boundaries with friends/family.
As much as people who know/love you want you to succeed, they also probably want you to just enjoy and be part of what they’re doing. I believe that friends/family always mean well, but enlisting their support is sometimes the hardest thing. So you know what? Free yourself of that burden, and take charge of your own plan. Set boundaries for yourself, and decide when you need to be anti-social for the sake of your own plan’s results. Make it about you, not them. Sorry, they’re not the ones waking up in the morning and hating themselves for having that cheeseburger with a bunch of cocktails last night.
5. Reward vs. punish
This one strikes such a nerve with me. I used to punish myself with post-”bag of chips after school” workouts. It sucked. And it took a long time to make me realize that I was better off coming from a place of self-love vs. self-loathe. If there’s anything I can personally share with you, make it that hyphenated term: “SELF-LOVE”.
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FYI, I’ve posted a couple of entries that have similar ideas, although this one is the most evolved/daring of them. Nonetheless, check these out:
I hope this post resonates with you in some way, even if it’s purely to make you see how human I am, regardless of how superhuman most of you probably assume.