On Weight Loss: Part 1 of ?
This post is intended for those of you who have the desire and resolve to lose weight, to become healthy, and to better themselves for the new calendar year, but have either failed in the past or lack a sense of direction or guidance on this new and daunting endeavor. Around this time in 2012, I made a similar choice, and have since devoted a lot of my time and passion to not only reaching my goals but learning how to inform, motivate and inspire others to share my success. Note that the following advice and future advice to come stems from my personal experience with many different diets and what I’ve gathered from obsessive research (both academic and from leading authorities in the paleo blogosphere).
The main points I want to convey today are that…
- Weight loss is simpler than you think.
- The extra perceived difficulty of weight loss results from self-imposed, artificial, psychological and emotional barriers: a fat attitude.
- There are no shortcuts — change is gradual and it comes from you.
Completely changing your body composition might seem like an impossible feat. However, understanding the fundamental mechanism of weight loss isn’t, and it’s this understanding that can really help make the rest of the journey easier. For many who are decently overweight (not like Regina George at the beginning of Mean Girls overweight), body recomposition is largely governed by thermodynamics. To lose weight, calories consumed must be less than calories burned, yielding a net caloric deficit. That’s a simple idea that you probably have already heard, but it’s worth reiterating because that’s really all you need to keep in mind. However, for many, understanding foods at the caloric level is unfamiliar as well. I still think this is an important concept to master eventually, but just starting out you can see benefits without really mindfully employing this information. For now, be aware of nutrition labels and try to quantify everything about food and weight loss. Quantifiable goals are much easier to realize. If you are an overachiever, start measuring and logging your food in a diet tracker like MyFitnessPal. It might require some effort, but what doesn’t? Nothing good comes easily, but that brings me to my next point…
Dieting is only as hard as you make it out to be. The following are some examples of artificial, self-imposed barriers that are actually pretty silly:
- dieting is hard and gay tho
- lol but i love food
- im weak and fat and slow so how could i possibly even exercise
- im jus gunna gain it back neway
- omg stop i just CANT drink coffee BLACK i would dieeeee
These are simply excuses that prevent you from your goal, many of them seem like defense mechanisms to let you remain comfortable and to avoid the stress of potential failure. But if you’ve gotten to the point that you even entertain the idea of needing to lose weight, are you really ‘comfortable?’ and is there any bigger failure than refusing to try? To me, being ‘fat’ shouldn’t use the scale as a metric, it’s a matter of attitude that’s common in many of my friends and family who have been less than successful in losing weight. A person with a fattitude makes excuses, makes complaints, and is quick to default to self-destructive behavior. Before you become fixated on dropping weight, before stepping on the scale, you need to drop the fattitude. If you drop this, the weight will follow, and real progress can be made. If you still cling to your emotional attachments to food and the way of life you are ‘comfortable’ with, you risk failure. Emotion is better left out of food and into other relationships (but it can serve as a powerful tool for progress if used properly, more on that later). Remember, this is easy, you just don’t realize it yet. You can do it, but don’t expect miracles.
Optimism goes a long way, so use it sparingly, and only when guided by realism. Don’t fall into the trap of being discouraged by plateaus or slow progress — change is gradual. In a similar way, you can view your overall weight loss goals as smaller and smaller gradual goals. Weight loss will be the result of your tiny, simple decisions (what you eat and what you don’t) and with each good decision you will be that much closer to your goal. But ultimately, it comes from you — these are your decisions. You can do it all on your own. Don’t expect help. Do expect temptation. You will make the wrong decision at some point, everyone does. But not everyone decides to try again.
So I challenge you to try — you might find it’s not much of a challenge at all! But as you keep going, with every decision you’re faced with, you might also find yourself in need of some suggestions. If the demand is there, I’ll try to answer questions or share some tips regarding food/dieting that I use too. Good luck!