There are tons of folks around, now, who are new to BGG2WL.
Hi, y’all! (Stop lurking. I see you!)
So often, on the FB page, I get people who ask those long-standing questions, “How do I lose weight? Where do I start?” Here, I’m going to give you five things that, in my mind, you must understand if you want to experience successful weight loss.
1) It is, unequivocally, a lifestyle change. You can’t say to yourself, “Oh, I’m going to only give up sweets and bread until I lose these last 15lbs, then it’s gon’ be all sandwiches everything after that!” You… you can’t do that. You can’t give up your daily muffin for a month only to celebrate your weight loss with your daily muffins again. The things you give up will be, without a doubt, the things you have to stay away from in order to keep the weight off. I’m sorry – I don’t do the yo-yoing weight thing. I want long-lasting weight loss. I’m not trying to wreck havoc on my system. This is why it is best to decide, for yourself, a sensible way to enjoy the things you desire and the frequency at which you should have them… even carbs. (And, if you find that to be excessively difficult, then you might want to read up on emotional eating.)
Also, making healthy eating and exercise a part of your lifestyle is crucial for the sake of consistency. To quote one of my old posts:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s the fact that consistency is vital. The primary reason why people don’t experience success with their efforts isn’t “eating habits” or “they don’t work our enough.” It’s the lack of consistency. Mind you, when I say “efforts,” I’m not referring to simply “losing the weight.” I’m referring to “keeping it off,” too. That’s where “change your lifestyle” comes in.
What a lot of us fail to admit, is that the way we live now not only allows us to maintain the weight we have now, but can also encourage weight gain if we’re not careful. That’s true for a size 6 just like it’s true for a size 36. It’s true for those who want to lose weight just like it’s true for those who want to maintain weight, and even those who want to gain, even if only for a temporary amount of time. The way you live affects the way your body manages your weight.
If the way you live is conducive to weight gain, and you don’t want to gain, then you have to change the way you live. If that means less processed food and more veggies, then go with that. If that means less “protein bars,” then go with that. If that means less soda, then go with that. However, whatever it is you’re giving up, you have to remain consistent with it. You can’t simply change how you live until you lose the weight, then go back to what you were doing before. The lifestyle you lead now is the one conducive to your current weight. Going back and adding in what you’ve cut out results in you taking on your former lifestyle that allowed you to gain the weight from before.
2) You will never be able to out-train a bad diet. Trust me. The amount and speed with which you can screw up and exceptional routine with excess calories is astounding… especially and specifically if they are of the processed food or refined carbohydrate kind. To quote another post of mine:
when you start counting calories and start understanding where your calorie totals for your day are going haywire, you wind up realizing that most of those calories? Come straight from refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs are, more often than not, an unnecessary caloric black hole. That big giant roll of bread on your lunch sandwich? Probably could’ve swapped that out for a salad – don’t most sandwich toppings often wind up sounding like delicious salads, anyway? – or could’ve been rolled in a nice strong leaf. That big giant bowl of cereal? Yeah, one serving size might say “80 calories,” but you didn’t realize that that “one serving size” is for “one half cup of cereal” and that you actually ate four servings this morning. That massive serving of rice in your kung pao chicken you ate? If it was over a cup of it, it was well over 300 calories that you didn’t need… because you could’ve easily tossed some steamed broccoli in there with that, instead, and been much more satiated with less calories and morefood.
And, speaking of processed foods…
3) Processed foods – and poor quality foods in general – need to go. Most processed foods aren’t made to be fibrous, rich in nutrients or even filling. They’re meant to be consumed easily, quickly and “hit on all of our senses” so that you will rush out to the store and buy more of it. That’s the business model; they couldn’t survive and thrive if that wasn’t the plan. Your body needs vitamins, minerals… those trigger signals in our bodies and give us the OK to stop eating. Those components aren’t present in processed food, and the synthetic additions simply will not do.
You know how, if you leave food sitting out, it will attract flies? Why? Because flies and rodents are attracted to the same things that our bodies are attracted to in food – nutrients. Ever notice that with ALL the food in a supermarket, there’s rarely any ants or bugs in the aisles, but you have to swat them away from the tomatoes or kiwi in the produce area? That’s not because every area in the grocery store – except the produce – is sprayed down. I can only offer theory as to why that is. For starters, the processed foods have to be processedto maintain shelf life. They have to be able to handle being transported to the facility. They have to be able to withstand sitting on a shelf until purchased. They have to be able to withstand sitting in your cabinets until you cook them.
Can you do that with your home made cooking? I doubt it.
Here’s another question: What do you think they’re putting in these processed foods to ward off insects and rodents?
Last question: Do you think it’s a good idea to ingest the same chemicals that are put in food… food that flies don’t even want? The same chemicals that prevent flies from desiring our food, are the same chemicals we’re ingesting when we eat this stuff anyway. How healthy can that be? Nothing in the world can debunk what feels like logic to me.
In other words… eat your damn veggies.
4) Any means of successfully achieving and maintaining weight loss cannot endanger your overall health. Your diet pills, with suspect ingredients that even you can’t identify (usually about five different forms of caffeine… you’d be better off drinking some quality coffee) – and I know you can’t identify them because the companies that make them can’t identify their own ingredients – aren’t going to cut it. Your master cleanses? Those aren’t going to cut it, either. Your long term, consistent success will be based on how you take care of yourself and the last time I checked, tricking yourself into not being hungry or starving yourself on lemon juice and cayenne pepper wasn’t any form of a “good idea.” Not to mention, you’ll feel like crap in comparison to how you’d feel if you simply ate some veggies.
You will feel like garbage. You will be more vulnerable to illness because as there are no nutrients pouring into your system like when one eats cleanly, the body cannot heal itself or properly protect itself from disease. A healthy diet consists of a vast array of fruits and vegetables, because those are the things that are most intended to help our bodies heal themselves. If you are intentionally depriving yourself of that for the sake of weight loss? You’re sacrificing your insides for your outsides… when in reality, if you treated your insides properly, your outside would fall in line.
As far as the actual detoxification process? The “cleansing of your colon?” You wouldn’t need to do it if you didn’t skimp on the fiber. And I mean, fiber from food. Not drinks or sea salt flushes or teas. A body that has a regular stream of fibrous foods combined with water flowing through it does not need to detox. It will do it on its own. The body has taken thousands of years to learn how to detoxify itself. It doesn’t need you starving it in order for it to make detoxification happen.
But what if you know your eating habits have been poor? What if you know you have all kinds of goo trapped within your intestines and want to clean it out? Eat more fibrous foods! Drink water! Trust me, you don’t have to torture yourself by gorging out on silly lemonade mixtures to clean yourself out.
And last but not least?
5) Be compassionate: towards yourself, and others. There’s a certain kind of energy that comes with becoming “the former fat person who hates fat people.” There’s also a kind of energy that attaches itself to people who are so “desperate” to lose weight that they make self-deprecating jokes and treat themselves poorly, as if to say they deserve this treatment because they haven’t achieved weight loss yet.
I’m always checking myself for this, because while I have to discuss things in realistic terms – being overweight impacted my ability to run, my weight affects my ability to excel at certain sports – that doesn’t remove my responsibility to be compassionate. Not my responsibility to my readership to be compassionate, but my responsibility to myself, because that comes first to me. When I blog, I’m writing to myself. I write the words that I know I need to hear, and I know that I don’t respond to an attitude that has to put someone else down to make my choice appear to be the better choice. I also don’t respond to the desperation that alot of people write when when it comes to losing weight. I mean, if you’re “desperate,” that’s you, but I won’t contribute to or participate in that.
I do think this is an important issue, though, because lots of people who lose weight actually need to, in fact, demonize “fatness” and “fat people.” They need to see “fat” as the enemy in order to press on away from it. I just can’t do that. For me, “fat” isn’t the enemy. “Weakness” is the enemy. Not being able to run across the city if I forget to secure a ride home is the enemy. Not being able to survive the zombie invasion is the enemy. Not being able to flip upside down on the pole is the enemy. Not looking the way I want is the enemy. Striving toward those things will give me the body I want without hating people – people who, invariably, look the same way I did, were probably as stressed out and emotionally broken as I was, are battling the same demons I faced (and still face), and simply want to live without judgment and “fat-shaming,” which is simply just chastising people and unnecessarily criticizing people for being fat.
You cannot get in the habit of treating yourself (or anyone else) poorly and thinking that will yield the results you desire. It doesn’t. In any walk of life. You have to treat yourself well – put yourself first, even – and acknowledge your shortcomings so that you can actually address them. Give yourself space to screw up, then give yourself time to address the problem and learn how you can never make the same mistake again. (We take this approach with dating and relationships, no? It works here, too.)
I cannot express enough how important this concept of self-compassion truly is. It’s why I say “I don’t diet.” It’s why my plan for developing a strong sense of body image includes thinking of how I’d treat my four year old daughter if I caught her saying the same things about her body that I used to say about mine. It’s why I don’t believe in “cheat meals.”
When it comes to weight loss, self-compassion – instead of negative talk and chastising oneself for lacking “will power” – is the key because self-compassion allows for us to make mistakes and, thereafter, learn lessons from those mistakes. Even in the days when I was eating 7-layer dip for breakfast, I knew I was wrong but I allowed myself to make the mistake and accept what consequences would come from it… and I never ate it again. Not “I never ate it for breakfast again,” but “I never ate it again. Period.”
Self-discipline might be the way to weight loss, but the missing factor in everyone’s understanding of self-discipline is that people who have never had self-discipline have to learn it somehow. It’s not simply “the frontal part of the brain region that fat people have never tapped into.” It is a learned trait… and that learning has to start somewhere that doesn’t include “going cold turkey.”
I’ll even throw in a bonus note: don’t expect Herculean, Biggest-Loser-Style weight loss results each week… that is, unless you like the idea of teetering on an eating disorder.
Oh…I’ll even add in another one. You want the muscle. Trust me.
Alright, y’all. What did I leave out, here?