Time to get off a diet and go on a lifestyle: taking an honest look at losing the weight, keeping it off, and managing expectations about the process.
How many years now have you said the same thing, ‘this is going to be the year I get the weight off…get healthy’. Statistics tell me a majority of Americans either want to lose weight or are currently trying.
For more than a decade, I stumbled around the diet wheel never achieving success for a sustainable period of time. Oh, I’d hit my goal weight with some diet or deprivation, and then, like so many of you, put it on again and then some. When my weight soared up over 200 pounds after having children, my embarrassment and disgust with myself increased right along with it.
So, my first question is are you ready? Truly, are you ready to do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal? Here is the reality staring at you in the mirror: the next 365 days are going to pass and you can accomplish your goal or be well on your way within that time or not? Which will it be?
If you can answer ‘yes’ that you are ready, then let’s start setting some expectations about how you can achieve your weight loss goals and better health.
First, once I admitted my readiness, I quickly learned to quit making excuses. No longer did I allow my feelings to dictate if I worked out or not. My comfort no longer mattered. I got up when I was tired and worked out. I went to the gym even when I did not feel like it.
The hardest feeling to face was the embarrassment of my weight. But, it is a must do! It was never more pronounced that when attending a cardio class and the instructor asked if I was pregnant. “No I am not”, I said, “I’m just fat.” While I cried my eyes out in the car after class, I knew my health and fitness goals were more important than my embarrassed feelings.
Second, many times busy schedules and family circumstances create convenient excuses. No more!
No longer do I hit a drive through for a non-nutritive, high fat dinner. And, no longer do other’s feelings dictate what I eat or how much I eat. If I chose to not eat everything my hostess serves, I refused to worry about whether I hurt feelings or not.
Quite often, when I explained to my friends and family the goals I had to change my lifestyle, I discovered most people appreciated and actually supported the discipline and ability to eat better.
Yes, it’s a choice. Again, my health and fitness goals were more important than worrying about wounded emotional states.
Next, realize vacations and Holidays can no longer trigger excuses to overeat. From now on Halloween to New Year’s Day and Valentine’s to Spring Break are not licensed to indulge. The week you spend on the cruise ship no longer equates to giving in, giving up, or falling off the wagon.
Of course, it is okay to have some of your favorite treats on occasion, but your new lifestyle maintains clean eating no matter what the date or where you are located.
Finally, let’s set some expectations about genetics and age. I hear these excuses every day in my office. My genetics, for instance, make it difficult to lose weight and really easy to gain. All that simply means is I must work harder and eat cleaner than others in order to achieve the same results.
It’s easy to whine and complain ‘it’s not fair’ but that would be making an excuse and a waste of emotional energy.
New expectations mandate doing the work needed to lose and maintain my weight and not waste emotional energy feeling sorry for myself. No longer do I cry wishing I looked like someone else or had the genetics of Cameron Diaz. Ain’t gonna happen!
Perhaps all this sounds like the expectation is perfection. No! Clearly, however, I’m emphasizing how easily we excuse an indulgence here, take the easy way out there, and then before you know it, we’re off track and the weight packs on again.
If you find yourself in the drive thru line, okay, just pick wisely and don’t make it a regular thing. Don’t kick yourself when you indulge. Simply, get right back into your new normal lifestyle.
If you spend the day depressed because your friend is thin and you are not. Stop, focus, and return to a lifestyle that supports your goals instead of emotionally spiraling out of control wishing it different.
The next realization about losing weight and keeping it off resides in the fact it means working out and eating clean the rest of your life. This is not about going on some diet and getting off it. No pill will help you take off the weight and maintain it the rest of your life. Working out and eating clean is a diet plan you implement the rest of your life.
Those two components are my normal daily routine. And the results are worth it. No longer am I under the tyranny of food choices and the number on the scale. Food is fuel and vitality.
I no longer waste emotional energy thinking about what I ate, feeling guilty for what I did or did not do, or how I look. My confidence is stronger, my body healthier, and I face the difficulty in life with stability and perseverance.
It took me three years to lose 65 pounds but I have never seen those 65 pounds again. I could have accomplished that in less time, but I engaged in a different lifestyle not a diet. I took small steps at first and then continued to build upon them. I changed my expectations, my fitness, and my nutrition.
If you are ready, the time is now. There may not be an immediate payoff but don’t let that be another excuse. Be intentional to do hard things outside of your comfort zone. In fact go beyond what’s expected and required. Challenge your norm and don’t settle for less than what you truly want! Get off the diet and go on a lifestyle. Then you will never have to diet again.