With the New Year’s Resolutions plastered all over social media comes the innumerable amount of fad diets, crazy workout plans, supplement advertisements, and pestering “miracle” products from
pyramid multilevel marketing companies. I have been working on my health over the past year, so I figured I would try and help a few others out on their journeys by posting what worked and what failed miserably for me.
No, this is not medical advice, just one person sharing (7) trials and errors of this difficult road with other people.
Here we go…
1. STOP FEEDING INTO THE BULLSHIT
Those fad wraps, the “miracle pills”, the extremely restrictive dieting, lemon-whatever “cleanses” Do. Not. Work. Those companies only prey on people’s vulnerabilities. Unless you have diagnosed kidney or liver issues, your body cleans on its own just fine. Sure, I may have dropped a few pounds from water weight because I temporarily changed my intake, but that was short term, and my body and brain need all the PROPER nutrients to operate normally and for me to see long term results.
Literally, energy in < energy out. THAT is the only trick to this healthy phenomenon.
I have done just about every other bullshit trick in the book since 1991 and I still reached 430+ lbs at one point. So, quit looking for shortcuts, cuz the only things that got thinner were my wallet and my patience.
(Also Hilarious: “Fad Diets” by @collectivenoun_ : https://youtu.be/DmOQPaAMBic )
2. KNOW WHAT YOUR GOALS ARE
Simply saying “I want to lose weight” ain’t gunna cut it, Bucko. That statement has absolutely no thought put into it at all. This isn’t something you can just do on a whim. Lifestyle changes take effort, planning, and a support system. Understand that these goals need to be changeable because as you figure out your abilities and your body improves, so will your perspective and so will your aspirations. Up until this past year, I didn’t have specific goals I wanted to accomplish through becoming healthier which made it difficult to find a direction to head in. Having a list of things that I want to be able to do again is legit motivation.
And it’s one kickass feeling when you get to cross them off.
3. MEAL PREPPING
My biggest problem, besides merging my butt with my couch cushions, is portion control.
So, I “meal prep” all of my food: I plan out meals that match my nutrition requirements, take about 3 hours out of 2 days of my week, cook all the meals I will eat for the next few days, and then portion them into Tupperware containers (…so… many…). I am a busy person, so having foods that I can just grab out of my fridge, throw in my lunch box, and heat up later keeps me from hitting drive thru’s and cuts down on the “but I don’t wanna cook” excuse. It also tricks my mind into thinking “this is all I have to eat, so I must feel full after I am done” instead of going “oh, well I can just throw another helping on after this plate if I am still hungry.” Break that cycle of second servings and your drive thru-commute commitments and commit yourself to healthier foods in healthier portions.
4. FOOD & EXERCISE TRACKING
Without knowing exactly what I was putting in my body, and how much I was burning, there was no possible way to get the results I wanted to see. Why? I didn’t know where I was starting or where I wanted to go and how I was doing along that road.
So, I use MyFitnessPal… religiously. It suggests daily intake of macros, congratulates you on healthy habits, & is relatively quick once you get the hang of it. MFP is not the only app out there, but I like the interface and monthly challenges, and it helps me stay on the right path. Through tracking last semester, I found that I had not been eating enough and my immune system, metabolism, and energy levels were suffering because of it. But mostly, I will surely over eat if I do not keep tabs on myself. Either way, eating enough is just as important as not overeating.
Fuel your body appropriately.
5. DAILY MOVEMENT
No, this didn’t mean I jumped right into doing a bagillion burpees or joined some crazy “box” straight from sitting on my couch for the past how-many-ever years. But, just doing something active, every day, helped me get started. At the beginning of this journey, I only went walking around my apartment complex and STILL dropped weight because I made sure to get it done. Somehow, some way, I was getting off my rumpus and sweating a little (okay, a lot). Now that my overall strength and endurance have improved, my best friend & personal trainer (@derick_johnson850) kicks my butt with his workout plans (#FitWithDerick)! I also really like the Couch-To-5k app that helped me increase my cardiorespiratory endurance. It is slightly challenging but it is MADE for people who live a sedentary life and want to change that life! Keep in mind though that this daily movement should be conducive to your goals (ex: I am no longer a powerlifter, so I don’t need to train like one right now)
5. See your Doctor; LISTEN TO THEM.
My doctor diagnosed me with a metric shit-ton of medical issues a few months before I decided to change my health. Chances are, if they tell you that you may die before you’re 40 if you don’t get your shit together, then you should probably get your shit together. I finally got it through my head and am now following up with my physician to make sure that I am not doing my obese body more harm than good. I have to wear a knee brace because of an old injury, there are certain movements I can’t do because of my back, and I have to watch my heart rate and blood pressure when I work out. Luckily, at 72 lbs down, I no longer have those medical issues. But any complacency can trigger them to rear their ugly heads again. Not to mention, what works for Gym-Bunny-Jenny is NOT always going to work for Couch-Potato-Carl. You need to research and be medically informed about what YOUR body needs.
Get a Doctor. Be Honest with them. And LISTEN to their medical advice.
6. GET A SUPPORT SYSTEM
This shit SUCKS, bruh. It is not fun. It hurts, it’s mentally challenging, and it feels like straight struggle. So, surround yourself with people who you care about, who care about you, and who want to see you succeed for the right reasons. I have seen a psychologist many times just to rant and to get some insight into the mental hurdles that come from being obese my entire life. I also am an active member of an online fitness community filled with some of the most awesome, real, and HOT people from all over the world (s/o Imgur). The mental game is so much harder for me than the physical game, and it’s OKAY if that is true for you, too. So, get you some people who will be with you every step of the way, cuz there are a lot of steps and they’re all uphill.
7. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
I lied to myself for a very long time by saying that “oh I am — pounds, but I don’t have any medical problems, so I’m Gucci.” Nah bruh. At the age of 22, I had to put my chocolate money where my pie-hole is (see #5). Eventually, that false talk caught up with me and now I am paying the price for it. Look yourself in the mirror, and reallllllyyyyy take a look at yourself. Be your own critic, and tell yourself exactly what you want to change and WHY. And, when (not if) you do hit milestones, or accomplish something on your list from #2, make sure to be your own “Number 1 Fan.” If you only ever point out the negative, you’ll cloud yourself from seeing the positive things you are achieving.
I am so guilty of this, but I am working on it.
Believe me, the love, or the hate, you speak on yourself will be projected to others.
So, be honest with yourself, and love yourself throughout the struggle.
[Have any other helpful advice? Comment below and share what has worked or didn’t work for you!]