Few days ago my brother was showing me some old family photos. While he was flipping through them I stopped him when I saw a photo that shocked me. It was a photo of me three years ago. The first thing that came out of my mouth when I saw it was “I used to look like that?!”. I think you know what I am talking about. It was a photo of me before I lost the weight.
Back then when I was obese I didn’t like my picture taken. After I lost the weight I was confident enough to pose to cameras. I bought a camera on my 20th birthday and I took plenty of photos, but in all of them I was in a healthy shape. I got used to my body like that and that’s why I was shocked when I saw the obese me in that old photo.
Seeing myself changed a lot, inside and outside, after I lost weight made me feel proud that I made the decision of living a healthy life. It was also a reminder of how I used to look and feel back then, and a motivation to keep moving forward and not fall back to the old unhealthy habits. So to all of you who wants to start this journey I suggest you take before and after photos. Being able to see your progress in front of you will push you further towards your weight loss goal.
Wish you all a happy and a healthy life.
Yesterday I went shopping (which I usually do once in a year) and bought three colourful floral blouses and a nice pair of blue skinny denims. I picked them with the same sizes I used to wear last year. When I went home and tried them on, nothing was fitting. Yes, not a single item out of the four was my size! I gained weight, that I know. But I guess I was in denial.
I gained about 5 kilos (11 lbs) since last year. It was a slow and subtle process. I would gain a kilo and notice it, then I’d quickly lose it again. I was in control of my weight until four months ago. During that period, there was a gradual weight gain and no effort for losing it. Although most people didn’t seem to notice the change in my weight, it showed in clothes size.
I was pretty upset yesterday after trying the clothes on, I even cried. But after the feelings of sadness, anger, and disappointment faded away, I was happy to learn that these emotions weren’t out of hate towards my body. I was rather angry at myself that I don’t take care of my body and my health the way I used to. I was disappointed that I let myself go back to the old unhealthy habits. But, I didn’t feel like I hate my body although it’s not as thin as it used to be.
That’s the kind of mentality that I was trying to develop in my weight loss journey. Our bodies aren’t our enemies, they are ours. We have to stop bashing our bodies in front of the mirror. We have to love them and nourish them in order to become healthy and happy.
So, as I lost 19 kgs (about 42 lbs) I’d like to share my weight loss journey with you. I made a new category ‘Health & weight loss’ where I’m going to write about it, and I hope it will inspire those who want to lose weight. But first, before I tell you my story I want to hit you with the truth about weight loss.
If you decided that you want to lose weight and now you’re preparing for the journey, here are 12 things you need to know before starting.
- It IS a journey. The road is definitely going to be bumpy, but it won’t matter when you finally reach your destination. While keeping your eyes on the road, do not forget to enjoy the ride itself. There is no point of doing all this when you are not willing to enjoy or learn things from this experience. And there will be a lot of roadside attractions that will make you want to stop, but don’t fall for it.
- It IS hard. Yes! Losing weight IS hard. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re either lying so you won’t be turned off or they don’t know what they’re talking about. But don’t look for shortcuts just because it’s hard. Let determination and persistence be your fuel.
- You might not find support. Of course you will be lucky if your friends or family or anyone else supported you in this journey. But trust me, even if you didn’t find the support that you expected, you can still do it alone! And don’t be surprised when you get discouragements instead of support. You might return home to find your family gorging on pizza or your co-worker put a chocolate-chip muffin on your desk again, and they might be doing it to see how long you can resist temptations. Don’t let this stop you. Blow them away!
- It’s not about being thin, it about being healthy. If your goal is to fit in a dress for an upcoming party then you might not last long in this journey. Your destination should be a healthy fit body, not a skinny body! This is a strong motivation that will keep you going no matter how rough the road is.
- There is only one right way to do it. Exercising and eating healthy. Voila! Fad diets, pills, surgeries, or any other means of ‘fast easy’ ways to lose weight will NOT work. Yeah I know that someone you know tried the latest detox diet and lost 20 lbs in a week or whatever, but did they keep it off? I bet they gained it all back, if not more! Are you looking for a short fix here? No you’re looking for a lifetime change.
- It is really a life style. I know you’ve heard that thousand times before, but it is true. Tony Robbins said “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”. If you are not willing to change then do not expect to achieve something worthy. So do NOT diet, eat healthy! People who go with the mentality of ‘dieting’ will definitely gain the weight back.
- Do not stop cold turkey. As I said before you are changing your eating habits and not dieting. So do not deprive yourself from your favorite food or you might go crazy. I made the mistake of not eating anything, and I mean ANYTHING that was basically a dessert. This is wrong because you will eventually start craving it and then end up binging. Instead of quitting cold turkey, take baby steps into reducing the servings of desserts (for example) you have per week.
- Weight loss isn’t a magic pill that will solve your problems. Do not expect that all your life problems will disappear when you lose weight. Of course a lot of problems will, but not all of them. You will be healthier which means your high blood pressure will decrease your cholesterol levels too, you will no more have headaches in the morning, you will have better sleep, better quality of life…etc. but do not expect to get married just because you lost the weight, or get the job you wanted just because you did so (unless that job is a personal trainer of course). This means that you shouldn’t be doing this for anything else but yourself. Let being healthy and feeling good about yourself be the sole purpose of weight loss.
- Weight loss has its own problems. So it’s not just that it won’t solve all your problems, but it might even add more to the pile. How? You might start having body image issues, or start obsessing about calories, or even develop anxiety because of it. Also there are times when you might hit a weight loss plateau or lose motivation. I am not trying to scare you, I just want you to be prepared psychologically for this. And I am not saying that you WILL face these problems, I am just saying that you might.
- People be mean, people be nice! You will notice after losing weight how people will start to treat you differently. Those people who were against the idea at the beginning will probably start cheering you on by now. It’s not as nice as you might imagine. It actually sucks! This just shows how shallow people are. I gotta admit that when I lost weight and people around me changed the way they think of me I was happy at first, but then I was angry. Why should they assume that I am a better person now since I am thinner? I am almost the same person, but they decided to give me a chance just because I look different now? Smh!
- You gotta get used to numbers. Are you good at Math? Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a genius to do this. Weight loss involves simple but effective calculations. The basic equation is: burn more calories than you consume. Of course that involves calculating your BMR, your caloric intake, the calories burnt during exercise…etc in order to be able to know how much you can lose per week. I suggest you keep a journal where you record all that along with your weekly progress. It will help you to stay on track and know where you went wrong if you’re not losing weight or gaining some back.
- You need to do your homework. As I said at the beginning this is a journey. So if you are planning for a trip to somewhere new, will you just take your car and go? Of course not! You have to prepare first. You search on the internet about your destination, you try to find the best way to get there, you ask people who have gone there before, you pack the things you need to take with you, and all those preparations. It’s the same thing for weight loss. You have to gather as much information as you can, ask others for advice, read success stories, read about health, fitness, nutrition, well-being, and do all that you need in order to be armed with knowledge enough to successfully kick start this journey.
I know that some of the points I’ve stated might have surprised you, but I don’t want you to be discouraged. You have to accept the truth and work hard to get what you want. We all know that life was never easy. Finally, I wish you the best of luck with your weight loss plans and I hope all your goals and dreams come true.
Have a healthy life.
Note: this post is intended for adults with normal health conditions.
Some people have health conditions (e.g. thyroid problems) or take medications that might make them gain weight. Overweight or obese children under 18 shouldn’t be reading this; their parents should be taking responsibility for their weight problems.