It’s time to lose weight for a new you. You are a human and like most humans, there most likely will be a time when you feel as if you should lose a bit of weight. The process of losing weight is different for everyone and we all start from different places.
The issue is, food can be a very emotional part of our lives or even a chemically dependent one. Whether you have successfully lost weight in the past or have struggled with weight loss throughout your life, it is possible and you absolutely can do it.
Find Your Why
At the very nature of it, losing weight is very personal in nature. Your family, friends, and coworkers may be concerned or stressed about your weight (like they were in my case). Or maybe you have teamed up with someone to help hold yourself accountable. But at the core of it, you are going to embark on this journey for yourself and your health. Just know that you are enough.
Why are you doing this? Are you doing this for yourself or for someone else? Get specific on why you want to lose weight. The benefits of losing weight are vast and include better mobility, prolonged life expectancy, better sleep, and higher energy levels.
Knowing these health benefits is great, but it doesn’t satisfy your why. Your why needs to be something personal and extremely important to you.
My son was born in July of 2014 and by early 2015, he was scooting and crawling all over the place. It was a magical time and it brought me so much joy to watch.
One March morning, my son took off down the hall and I ran after him to grab him before he could get to the stairs. I got to him easily enough, but I went to pick him up and I struggled. Bending down and trying to get my son on the move was way more difficult than I expected it to be. I spent the rest of the afternoon reflecting on that moment and pondered how I let myself get so heavy.
Did I really want to be that dad, the dad who can’t run around with his kids, the dad who got too tired or moved too slow to keep up? When I became a father, I had visions of how I wanted to be, and being an active parent was at the top of my list.
I wondered how I let myself fall so far from my goal of being an active parent, but I realized he wasn’t even a year old and I still had time! I called my wife and told her that I was done. That I am losing weight beginning tomorrow! The issue is that I had absolutely no idea how I was going to accomplish that feat. I only had a why!
I got home from work that night and got to work on this journey. I researched and researched until I was exhausted. I discovered all kinds of diets and methods to lose weight, but when you are trying to lose a significant amount of weight for the first time, most diets seemed absolutely insane.
The Whole 30, Paleo, Keto, these words struck fear in my heart and I ran away from the very thought of them. Losing weight by cutting everything out of my diet at once, while trying to exercise and stick to a plan sounded overly complicated for my first attempt at weight loss.
A Two-Pronged Approach
I knew I had to have a plan by the end of the night, so I could get started first thing in the morning. Ultimately I settled on pairing a Fitbit (which I already had lying around) and an app called MyFitnessPal.
For those of you that haven’t used a fitness tracker before, the goal is to get 10,000 steps a day. It isn’t difficult to do, but requires some effort, especially in the beginning. Having a daily goal gave me something to work towards. I definitely did not always reach my daily steps goal, but I gave myself some grace and tried harder the next day.
MyFitnessPal was a bit terrifying to use at first, but my fears were completely unfounded. Setting up MyFitnessPal was extremely easy. Just create an account, enter some personal information and enter how much weight you want to lose each week. I have to warn you, what you select for how much weight you want to lose will set your caloric intake for the day. Because I wanted to see quick results, I set it to the hardest difficulty of losing 2 pounds a week. From there, you just enter every single item you drink or eat, which is very easy because of the app’s robust food database.
The beauty of syncing these two technologies together is how they work in tandem. As I took more and more steps in a day, my calories bank in MyFitnessPal also increased with it. It is unbelievably motivating to move more when it is directly tied to how much food you can consume. That is it, I didn’t restrict any type of food or drink, as long as it fit within my given calories.
My First Two Week
I knew I had to lose about 50 pounds before I would feel successful, but I also knew exercise was out of the question initially. I figured it was better to start slow and add it after I lost some initial weight. I was 253 pounds when I started this process. I was amazed that I dropped to 237 pounds in the first 2 weeks by changing my diet alone!
I had already seen some initial success through my first two weeks and now that I had taken some of the weight off my joints, I figured it was time to exercise. Now I played football in high school and was always an active kid, so I figured running wouldn’t be too difficult to take up. Boy, was I wrong! My first time out, I barely jogged a quarter of a mile before I was completely winded and had to walk back. Instead of getting down on myself, I was happy that I took that initial step towards exercise.
I went running three days a week initially and I slowly saw an increase in distance. I did challenge myself to get a little further on each run I went on. By the end of August, I was running 3 to 5 miles every time I went out to run and increased it to 4 times a week! The best part, I weighed only 203 pounds! I achieved my 50-pound goal in only 6 months!
Now It’s Your Turn
I have learned that determination and the right mindset can go a long way. Motivation is fleeting and will come and go throughout your journey. Finding something deeper like your why will keep your spirits high and make you much more likely to achieve the results that you are after. Your weight may come off faster or slower than mine did, but it will come off if you stick with it and are strict with inputting your calories. To recap the steps:
- Get a fitness tracker and link it with MyFitnessPal
- Track your steps and focus on just cutting your calories for the first few weeks.
- Once you have lost some initial weight, add some form of exercise to your routine. (I suggest something cardio related, even if it’s just a nice walk)
- Challenge yourself each time to go a little fast or a little further.
- Watch your accomplishments grow!
Once I lost some initial weight and started exercising, I began to change my diet. As I progressed over the 6 months, I started making better dietary decisions. I realized how many calories I was taking in and adjusted accordingly. An example was when I went from drinking my coffee with sugar and half-and-half to whole milk and no sugar because of the significant calorie savings. There will be days you don’t want to do it, but stick with it and you will see the results! You can do it. Take it slow, believe in yourself, and watch those pounds shed!