As we grow older, we start getting “pouches”, “pudges” and “flabby dabs”. Nothing is wrong with gaining weight. This post is for anyone who feels a bit uncomfortable and would rather lose a few pounds.
What does your relationship with your weight look like?
I remember a time when the biggest compliment I received about my weight was that I was “not fat, but anyone who was heavier [than me] is fat”. Not a proud moment in my life at all. I have had a tumultuous relationship with my weight. But, over the years, I have found a few things that worked and I wanted to share them with you.
There are 10 key points and I thought it would be clever to call them pounds (hope you chuckled at that)…here we go!
- Pound 1: Figure out WHY you want to lose weight
- Pound 2: Is the reason/are the reasons a PRIORITY? Wanting to look better in your clothes would rank slightly lower than if you’re having shortness of breath. Decide whether the weight loss is related to medical or cosmetic reasons. To be fair, these are both valid reasons. However, defining these differences will inform the level of urgency related to the weight loss.
- Pound 3: Decide when you want to START. If your doctor spoke with you about managing your weight, they may have given you a timeline. However, this is ultimately up to you. Begin when you’re ready, when you’re in the right frame of mind…but don’t wait too long to start (you’ll probably lose momentum and change your mind).
- Pound 4: Do not make it a MOVING TARGET. Once you’ve set the date, KEEP IT !
- Pound 5: Tell A FRIEND. Share your plans with someone who can help keep you accountable. If you and a friend have a standing donut date or if you frequently go out to eat, they should probably be the first to know that things are about to change. TO BE CLEAR: You do not “owe” them an explanation (unless you decide that), you’re just giving them a heads up so they don’t think you’re being a horrible friend.
Think of a list of people you want to tell, but keep it short. You don’t need to tell the whole world, just a few key people. Telling lots of people opens you up to too much unsolicited advice and opinions about your body, your weight, your decision to lose weight and how to lose weight.
- Pound 6: It’s NOT ONE-SIZE fits all. A unisex, one-size fits all approach cannot work here. While the formula is simple – burn more calories than you consume – it may look different for everyone. So don’t get discouraged when that fad diet doesn’t work.
Shop around ! Take a look at what options are available to you. In my experience, having a solid (and i mean SOLID) meal plan in place is truly key.
It is harder to train the mind than it is to train the body. When you’re mentally prepared, stick to your meal plan, and your workout regimen, then you will find it much easier to continue pushing yourself to see the results you want. Figure out your formula.
- Pound 7: DON’T STARVE yourself. Maybe you really, really, really want to to lose weight. You need to fit into those pants, you may have a lot of weight to lose (in your opinion)…whatever the reason, we can be tempted to go TOO HARD. Depriving your body of food is stepping into dangerous territory. Even when you’re changing your diet you need a runway to prepare your body for the change.
You need to ensure that what you’re doing is SAFE. I would recommend going to a nutritionist, but this can be costly. If you don’t have the resources right now do some thorough research. These changes to your diet should not be causing any ill-health.
- Pound 8: START SLOW. Whether you’re going to start with diet change or perhaps a combination of a change in diet plus exercise, you should start slow. Allow your body to gradually get used to these changes. Remember that Pound 7 about going too hard? You’e only competing with yourself, so take the time to figure out what works for you. Your aunty said “slow and steady wins the race” for a reason. TAKE YOUR TIME.
- Pound 9: There are NO SHORTCUTS. Making a decision to change your life is hard. Doing it is even harder. There will be days you want to cry while nibbling on oreos. Allow yourself the time to cry, but drink some water and eat some fruit instead.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a cheat day. You just need to figure out what works for me; for me a cheat meal becomes a cheat week, so I have to really be careful. I usually try to maintain a structured diet, then introduce an exercise program , then after I’ve reached the “goal weight” I design a MEAL PLAN that can fit into my regular, sometimes messy, life. Work out what works for you AND STICK WITH IT.
Being in a good space MENTALLY is always important – seeing a therapist/counsellor may be helpful. Getting cleared by your family doctor to engage in exercise is also a wise thing to do. Listen to you body – it will never lead you astray. Re-adjusting, and re-grouping is necessary, don’t be afraid to keep trying (again and again and again… it is hard to change behaviour, so it will take some time).
- Pound 10: YOUR BODY IS A WONDERLAND. We speak and think of the deficiencies and flaws of our bodies a lot. what it doesn’t look like; what it doesn’t feel like; how big it is; how small it is: what it cannot do; where it cannot go; how it is failing us.
What we’re not looking at is how our bodies KEEP US ALIVE; regulate temperature; help us experience the fullness of the world, cradles us, how it is home to our sadness and our happiness, how it protects us. The media has done a fine job – telling us what we should look like, how much we should weigh, where everything should sit and what our bodies should be able to do.
Let’s write our own script
Before you embark on a weight loss journey LOVE YOUR BODY first. I’m not saying this to deter you or change your mind about anything. But, without this critical piece – loving ourselves and the body within which we dwell – we won’t be satisfied no matter how much weight we lose. This body, that society may have caused us to hate is the same body that brought us this far.
Don’t search for happiness in weight loss. You may be happier after losing weight because you can move more freely, and a lighter body can “do more things” (like exercise longer and with less pain). However, embarking on a weight loss journey to find happiness is not a very good idea. It is necessary to find some ways to deal with the underlying issues surrounding your unhappiness (or whatever it may be) before-hand. Losing weight is never the answer to our problems (unless they are medical) – you still need to work on managing and improving your mental wellness.
Honestly, I have struggled with weight pretty much all my life so I am either the worst/the best person to be providing some tips – depending on how you look at it.
Maintaining weight loss is a whole other book, but remember to be easy on yourself. Listen to your body and do what feels right and manageable.