Making the decision to lose weight is huge. It’s exciting. You’re making a big change in your life, challenging yourself to live a healthier lifestyle.
In the beginning, you’re ready. You have a plan in place, and putting it into action doesn’t take all that much effort. But this phase doesn’t last.
That’s because weight loss is hard. Really hard. Like, quite possibly the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
When you’re just starting out, you have this idea in your head of how things will go, how successful you will be. But your actual journey will not likely live up to your expectations. Mine certainly didn’t.
So for those of you taking that first step and embarking on your weight loss journey, I have some advice for you. Here are four things you should know before you begin your weight loss journey:
You can’t stick to a deadline.
When I started losing weight, one of my biggest motivations was my wedding. I had about a year and a half to go and a goal of a 60-pound loss. Well, my wedding day has since passed, and I have not yet hit my goal. But that’s okay.
Weight loss isn’t a linear process. There are tons of ups and downs and putting a strict deadline on your weight loss will only cause problems. A year and a half ago, I couldn’t have accounted for all the stress that comes with wedding planning, or transitioning to living in a new city or even just day-to-day job stress. All of that adds up and affects my motivation and my relationship to food.
Your willpower will wane.
In the beginning, you’re running on nothing but willpower. You want that cupcake, but you just started your journey three days ago, so you decide to pass it up. That’s great, but on day 156, it’ll be a lot easier for you to give in.
Losing weight sucks. Saying no to foods that you love sucks. But you have to believe that it is worth it. If your head isn’t in the game, you won’t be successful. Weight loss may be a physical process, but it is completely about what’s going on in your mind.
No one can do it for you.
When that willpower begins to wane, quick fixes like fad diets or cleanses start to look pretty good. Lose 10 pounds in one week? Of course I want that! But often those results don’t happen. Or if they do, they don’t last. And then all you’ve done is made yourself miserable for a week.
To me, all diets are the same. Whether you’re trying keto or paleo, low carb or high fat, they all do the same thing. Weight loss is a simple game of lowering your food intake and increasing your physical activity. That’s it. You have to put in the work to get the results you want.
Life will get in the way.
You can’t put your life on hold while you’re losing weight. There will be parties and birthdays and holidays and vacations and other events that may prove to be obstacles for your weight loss journey. And you’re going to have to figure out how you want to deal with them.
Choosing to shut yourself off and decline invitations to everything isn’t the way to go. But you should pick your battles. If apple pie on Thanksgiving Day is one of your absolute favorite things, don’t deny yourself. But maybe try going for a small piece and skipping the other desserts.
It’s all about finding the right balance that works for you. Because balance really is what it’s all about. Once you find that, you’ll find weight loss success.
Are you just starting your weight loss journey? What has been the most surprising thing so far? Let me know in the comments below!