13 years ago I made a decision: I wasn’t going to be overweight any longer. Now, this wasn’t the first time I made such a decision. I wanted to lose weight for a long time before that. However, this time, I felt that things were different. It’s as if I was filled with determination and certainty of my success. I felt that it was now fate that I would lose weight and change my body.
I dropped over 30 pounds in about 3 months. It was very quick and I remember how people around me were stunned by my transformation. I was surprised myself. I didn’t expect it to be so fast.
As I look back over the way I lost weight and how I managed to keep it off for so long, a few lessons come to mind. I didn’t know most of them at the time. It’s only in retrospect that they’re clear to me and I hope that they will be useful to you as well.
You Don’t Know Your Own Strength
Before I started training properly, if you would have told me I’d be running half marathons with ease, I would have laughed and gone back to eat more ice-cream on the couch. I couldn’t finish a 3 mile run and I didn’t believe I would ever be different. I just didn’t know my own strength and underestimated my potential. You may be doing the same thing.
I want you to set aside your limiting beliefs and forget about what you think you know about yourself. With the right training and mindset, you can achieve incredible things. So, believe in yourself and you will succeed.
Cravings Die With Time
Before I lost weight I used to eat a lot of fattening foods like ice-cream and all sorts of unhealthy snacks. In retrospect I know that I was addicted to some of this stuff. It had a real hold on me.
During my diet, I decided to go Cold Turkey and stopped eating all those things at once. I know, this seems extreme, but that’s the way I did it. In a short while, my cravings decreased and eventually died off. This was like a detox process. If you have cravings that you can’t get rid of, you should know that they’re not constant and will pass with time.
External Motivation Works In The Short Run
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but the reason I started to workout seriously was a girl I met. She was hot, I was not. I decided to do something about it and started training and watching my diet. The motivation her presence gave me (she didn’t actually know I started this journey due to her) was very powerful and it goes to show that external motivation can work and be the driving force you need for change.
However, as she dumped me after a month, this wasn’t a reliable source of motivation and I needed to find something else. So, external motivation works, but it may not be there for the long run.
Internal Motivation Works in The Long Run
Once I was good and dumped, I continued to train. This time I did it for myself. I had no one else to please. I did it because I liked the changes that I was seeing. I felt good about them. I wanted to be and feel better about myself. My motivation was now internal and it has held up for many years.
External motivation is fleeting. You need to find something internal to motivate you if you want it to stick for long.
Cardio Works for Weight Loss
Cardio is getting a lot of bad reputation lately and some even say that it’s ineffective for weight loss. My case proves that this is wrong. When I first started training I did mostly cardio. I grew a passion for running and the weight dropped off quickly. Later I incorporated strength training too and this greatly improved my results, but I lost the first 10 pounds with running alone. Don’t let anyone convince you that cardio is useless. As long as your diet is sensible, you can lose weight with cardio alone.
It Takes Time For People To Believe In You
People who are used to you being out of shape and overweight may take some time to start believing that you can change. I know this from personal experience. When I first started running, people around me didn’t believe that I would stick to it. They didn’t believe that I had it in me. This was a logical assumption on their part: I showed very little interest in training up to that point and I wasn’t athletic.
You need to find the strength within you to prove them wrong. In fact, this should be part of your goal, to create a new image for yourself. Know that to earn a new level of respect from those around you is an awesome feeling, one well worth working for.
Your Diet Is Key
I tried to lose weight before and failed. The reason was that I didn’t change my diet. I tried to lose weight with fitness alone. It’s one of the biggest weight loss mistakes you can make. This is possible, but very hard. You need to burn off a ton of calories to do so.
When I finally succeeded to lose weight, and why I have kept it off for so long, is that I watch what I eat. I’m not as strict today as I used to be, but I still take care not to eat junk, to control my portions, to eat healthy at restaurants, and to not drink a lot of alcohol and high calorie beverages. If you want to lose weight quickly and easily, you need to control what you eat. There is no way to go around it. It’s that simple.
Past Failures Are Meaningless
I know you may have tried to lose weight before and failed. I understand how discouraging this can be. I’ve been there. I felt it. I know that it’s hard. I can’t make it easier for you. What I can say is that these past failures mean nothing. They have no bearing on your future results. What you do from now on is entirely up to you.
You can’t succeed without accepting the risk of failure. A lot of success is built on past failures. That’s the way you learn to do things right. I failed before and finally succeeded. You can do the same. So, don’t ever get discouraged.
It Does Get Easier
The first few weeks of any weight loss journey are the hardest. You’re trying to change bad habits and learn new ones. It takes a few weeks to create this new routine. During these few weeks, things may get a bit hard. You will be pulled to go back to your old habits, even though you know you must not. This is a time in which you have to employ a lot of will power to succeed.
The good news is that this doesn’t last. Things get much easier after those few weeks (about three) pass. You will now have a new and healthier routine and you will find it natural to eat right and train properly.
Changes More than Your Body
Weight loss may be measured by pounds or inches, but the change you create goes much deeper than that. You will find that not only your body changes, but your psyche too. You will find that you’re more confident, easy-going, social, and proud of yourself. The sense of accomplishment you feel will give you more self-esteem and the belief that you can achieve anything you want. This new energy can lead to great success in many areas of your life. You need to embrace this and use it to improve yourself in any area you choose. I know I did.
I hope that this, somewhat personal post and the lessons I learned, have given you a bit of encouragement to lose weight yourself. I have no doubt that you can do this. Just get started.