By losing (almost) 100 pounds in 6 months, some have told me that I make losing weight look easy. While I certainly like to think I’ve been optimistic and energetic on this weight loss journey, I never meant to mislead anybody.
Losing weight is hard.
Here are some harsh realities of losing weight and why you’ll find it hard.
1. You probably won’t lose 100 pounds in 6 months. You need to set goals that are realistic. Keep in mind, the more you weigh, the quicker you can lose weight. If you’re only slightly overweight or obese you almost certainly can’t begin to think of losing 100 pounds in 6 months. You need to set goals that are obtainable or you’ll fail, get discouraged, and quit.
Then again, I didn’t think I could lose 50 pounds in 6 months.
2. Cravings will last for months. I had extremely bad cravings. I broke my addiction to soda in a single day and it gave me serious withdrawals. It got so bad 6 weeks into my journey that I would pour a glass of Pepsi, take a sip, and swash it around my mouth just to taste it. I would then spit it out. True story.
3. Bad habits die hard. I used to eat out all the time — I’d order sweet tea or soda and have several refills with every visit. It took about 3 months before I could easily say, without reluctance, that I wanted a water instead of a soda.
4. Family and friends may not support you. Sure, they may encourage you to lose weight and motivate you, but when you go out on Friday night they may still want the chili cheese fries. You may have to navigate your healthy lifestyle with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the house. You may need to go to the gym while everyone is still at home watching television.
Be prepared to lose weight by yourself.
You got yourself into the mess alone, don’t ask or expect other people to help you out of it. If they do, great! But, as in my case, my wife was pregnant for the first 3 months of my weight loss journey — the hardest part — and I couldn’t even begin to ask her to give up the pickles and ice cream.
5. You blame being overweight/obesity on something else. I used to say that I was cursed with “bad genes” that wired me to be overweight. Being overweight all my life it was easy to use bad genes as an excuse. By blaming something or somebody else for your weight problem, you’re giving yourself an easy out when you get discouraged and feel like giving up. You might begin to say to yourself, “I should quit trying to lose weight, my (genes, wife, job, Bigfoot) won’t ever let me anyway.”
While there are definitely people whom are inflicted with certain medical conditions that prevent them from losing weight, those people are few and far between. More than likely, you’re not one of them so forget the excuses.
6. The odds are stacked against you. Not only have you probably tried and failed to lose weight several times before (I know I have), but so has everyone else. While I’m not big on numbers, statistics, or “facts” (read this blog long enough, you’ll see that), I know that the vast majority of people who try to lose weight fail. And, not only if you do beat the odds and manage to lose weight, you have an even smaller chance of keeping that weight off.
Gee, it’s hard enough losing 150 pounds. Then I have to maintain it?
7. Information is readily available, but confusing. I love all the comments and e-mails I receive through the blog. I’m also thankful for all the advice and weight loss tips I read on other sites and blogs — there’s no limit to the amount of information available. Unfortunately though, a lot of it is conflicting and confusing. Some information I read tells me to eat more, some of it tells me to eat less. Some of it says workout more, some says workout less.
The list of conflicting advice goes on and on.
With that being said, I still love reading all the tips I receive about losing weight, both on my blog and off. But you’ll realize, just as I did, that the tips, advice, and information other people offer to you all work — but for them.
Your body is different and you’ll need to find what works for you.
8. You don’t want to sweat. If you’re having fun in the gym for the first month or two, you’re doing something wrong. The gym isn’t about being comfortable, or having fun, it’s about being in pain. I’m not talking about the pain that comes from improper exercise or sore muscles or anything like that, but the pain that comes from waking up a body and lifestyle from years of a boring, sedentary, technology-handicapped lifestyle.
It’s a good pain. It’s the pain that originates from your mind telling your body it needs to change by way of treadmill and dumbbells.
9. You’re not mentally strong enough. I can guarantee you that you will hit a brick wall sooner or later on your weight loss journey and you will need to be able to stay patient while you try to break it down. I was able to lose nearly 5 pounds a week for months up until this last month when my weight loss slowed. Before this last weigh-in, I had only lost 4 pounds in 3 weeks.
It wasn’t easy to keep going, but I did. I just did. You’ll need to, as well.
10. Your lifestyle needs to change. Losing weight isn’t about setting short term goals like “lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks.” Losing weight is about changing the way you live. This means making consistently healthy choices not only at the gym and dinner table, but with the actions you take all day long.
Do you find losing weight is hard? If so, why?
Posted by Shawn Tyler Weeks on July 6th, 2009