This guest post is by Emily Bell. Thank you Emily for taking the courage to share your journey and the lessons you’ve learned! If you want to share your story too, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in high school, I weighed 220lbs (99.8kg). So I started going to the gym and eating healthy, and I fell into the world of weight loss.
Then I got all the way down to my lowest weight ever: 130lbs (59kg).
I went from size 20 to size 4. You would think I was happy right? I mean, I reached my goal! Isn’t that what everyone wants!? To be skinny? Isn’t that happiness?
The truth is that I was MISERABLE with the lifestyle, and I ended up gaining all the weight back. Eventually, I worked to lose weight again and I am at around 170lbs (77kg) now, a number I am happy with.
Some people might look at me and say that I should still lose 30lbs (13kg) and gain some muscle BUT you know what? I AM HAPPY! And that matters most.
Because instead of focusing on my weight, what I ate, or how many times I went to the gym, I started focusing on living an overall healthy lifestyle. I’ve lived and learned from my experiences, so I want to share these lessons which helped me lose weight and be happy.
Lesson 1: Focus on your value as a person
This is the most important step on your journey. You are not a number on a scale.
No matter what you weigh, you are you. Your thoughts, likes and character will all be the same. So learn to love yourself and your qualities.
That being said, it is still important to be at a healthy weight and feel good about yourself! But the journey starts with you appreciating your value as a person first.
Lesson 2: Choose a proper weight or body fat percentage as your goal
When you start a new weight loss plan, you will be asked the question: “What is your goal weight?”
You will probably have a number in mind, a number which you saw on a chart, which is supposedly your healthy weight. But we are all different. A healthy weight for one person isn’t the same for another.
When I first started my weight loss journey, I skipped choosing a goal (which was a mistake), and it took me some time to figure out 170lbs (77kg) was my ideal weight at which I was happy with how I looked, as well as how much I had to eat and exercise.
As for yourself, set a goal and see if it can work out. If you want to be at 10 percent body fat, you are going to have to change your eating and exercise drastically to reflect that goal. It’s possible that you might find out you really like that lifestyle and achieve that goal, but it is also possible you might not be happy doing the hardcore eating and exercise thing.
So do whatever makes you happy, because your final weight should make you feel good on the inside and outside.
Lesson 3: Ask yourself the real question
When you start your weight loss journey, the first and most important question to ask yourself is: “What am I going to do once the weight is off?”
Picture this. You just went through all this work of getting the weight off. Now how do you maintain your low calorie diet without driving yourself crazy for the rest of your life?
There is a reason they say weight loss is a “lifestyle change.” Though you can lessen the intensity of your weight loss routine, you need to find a routine that you can live with for the rest of your life.
Lesson 4: The things I learned about eating right
- Don’t force yourself to eat things that are recommended for your health if you don’t like them. Instead, find healthier foods you like to eat and just keep eating them.
- Take note of eating psychology. There was a study that said you are likely to eat more calories if you were given fun size candies instead of the full size one. So don’t always go for the smaller portion. Fill yourself up so you won’t overeat.
- Low calorie/sugar stuff isn’t always the best. I use to eat low calorie bread and low sugar cookies, but I found eating regular whole grain bread or a normal cookie made me fuller and more satisfied, which stopped me from snacking more.
- That being said, healthier versions of things can help fix cravings if it’s a general craving. For example, if you are craving something savoury, you can choose to get wholegrain bread and cheese instead of a pack of chips.
Lesson 5: The things I learned about exercising
- Exercising is great because it makes you feel happy, because when you start being able to do things that you have never been able to do, you will feel AMAZING!
- Don’t sell yourself short. If you have a goal, you will make it. In highschool it took me 30 minutes to walk a mile (1.6km). When I could do 3 miles (5km) in 30 min. I felt like I had conquered the world. It just takes perseverance.
- Figure out what kinds of exercises you like to do. Because some days, you are going to be more motivated to do a longer exercise. And some days, you won’t want to do anything. So pick the exercises you enjoy to motivate yourself.
Lesson 6: Get some hobbies
Being focused on fitness and diet all the time will make you feel down. Weight loss is a long journey, so you’ll want to fill your time up with things you love doing to keep you happy and take your mind off the daily grind.
As long as you are eating healthy and exercising, the weight will eventually come off, so don’t worry about it.
Lesson 7: Remember to celebrate
It’s hard to look at yourself and say, “I look great.” especially when you have a number which you haven’t achieved. If you keep thinking of the end goal but never see the journey, you’re going to be upset.
So celebrate every pound, every little victory. Every single one is important. You worked hard on it, so be proud of it.
Lesson 8: Yo-yo dieting isn’t as bad as you think it is
When I read about weight loss it seems like the next big thing is about stopping yo-yo diets. But to me YO-YO DIETING IS FINE!
It’s normal for our fitness to fluctuate. You might end up yo-yoing because sometimes your life changes, things come up, or you start to focus more on other things.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not at my skinniest and I can’t run a 5k in 30 minutes anymore. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing because I figured that I am happier at my current weight and fitness level.
But if you want to be fitter or thinner again, know that if you did it once, you can do it again. If a week goes by and you didn’t do that great, start again the next week. Sometimes you progress, sometimes you fall back, but no matter what, don’t let yourself get discouraged.
Lesson 9: Your happiness is the most important
So the next time you get on the scale remember that the number only reflects a small part of you and your day-to-day life! So make sure you live every day how you want to!