There are many reasons why we want to lose weight: to improve our health, to feel better, to look nicer.
One thing that does not vary, however, is this cruel truth: losing weight (and keeping it off) is a tremendous feat.
One of my friends, who's recently been told she has high blood pressure, had been trying to lose weight for quite a while, by exercising regularly and by being careful about what she eats...
... to no avail.
Eventually she started journaling her food. Halfway through the first day, she said to me "Huge reality check! I though I was doing good, but I was still eating way too much!"
I could only acquiesce. I've been there.
Recently I completed a 1-year fitness journey with a personal trainer. I have now been "maintaining" for almost 4 months.
I have also been reading testimonies by other people who have lost weight/have gotten fitter.
What have I discovered?
I discovered that you can reach your goals if you are willing to put the effort. That does NOT mean to starve yourself and exercise like you're preparing an Everest ascent. In fact, I never suffered from hunger or from exercise-related exhaustion.
I discovered that the real key words of weight loss are NOT "difficult" and "painful" (although it WILL be challenging), but rather gradual and sustainable. With this in mind:
- I ate around 1800 calories/day (they add up faster than we think!);
- I aimed for the right proportion of macronutrients (carbs-fat-protein), without excess;
- I exercised intensely 1 hour/day, 6 days a week;
- I was allowed 2 "treats" per week (e.g. wine, dessert, etc.)
I had to make adjustments, but I found this reasonable. I simply did what I had to do, day in, day out.
HOWEVER, what struck me was how little wiggle room I had. This aforementioned program was not too hard to follow, and did bring about the results I was looking for, BUT...
... I soon realized that there was no goofing around. This was my new life, period. Each time I departed from the guidelines, I would almost immediately stop improving, and if I stayed on the wrong track for too long (i.e. more than a few days), I would regain fat and weight, and my workouts would start feeling laboured.
In short, I realized that one of the main components of a healthy lifestyle was consistency. There would be no slacking off, no excuses. Going on vacation? Having company over for a few days? Experiencing stress? Those make it harder to stay disciplined, but you still have to.
Another thing I discovered is that society and the media have been lying to us. Those skinny people you see eating junk and dessert and caloric drinks on TV? A huge lie. You just cannot eat like that and be a thin, fit adult. Sorry folks.
Finally, I discovered that it's totally worth it. The benefits you gain from being slimmer and fitter far exceed what I could fathom.
What have YOU discovered?