One of the biggest goals in my life is to be on a weight loss journey and losing 40 pounds as a result. Since my sights have been set on this since last year, my weight loss journey has had some ups and downs. Last October, I took a 6-week challenge and lost 21 pounds. And currently, I’ve been on a superhero workout challenge.
These two experiences that I’ve gone through have taught me a wide variety of lessons. From general weight loss to mindsets and food choices. It’s these particular aspects that have helped me get to this point and keep me devoted to this weight loss journey that I am on.
Here are some of the biggest most important lessons I’ve learned from these experiences.
Weight Loss Is A Mixture Of Science And Math
Weight loss is a simple concept on paper.
If you ever want to lose weight, you merely need to burn more calories than what you are taking in.
This makes sense as many other posts echo the concept of cutting calories, eating particular low calorie foods, and avoiding higher calorie count food. Not to mention being somewhat active as well.
But there is a little more to it than just math. After all, since I’ve been taking this superhero challenge, I’ve actually been gaining weight despite doing 100 push-ups, sit-ups, and squats daily.
How am I gaining weight despite cutting calories and exercising more than the average person?
It’s for this particular reason I believe weight loss has math involved, but also a bit of science. For one, muscles weight more than fat and the amount of exercising I’m doing is certainly building muscle to some capacity.
On top of that, it’s also worth looking at the type of calories that I’m taking in as well.
Science has shown that calories from particular sources react differently in our bodies. Generally speaking our bodies will enjoy veggies, fruits and fibre than foods with added sugar or refined carbs like white rice, pasta, and pizza dough.
Understanding that there is a balance of science and math is key for any weight loss journey because it helps you to figure out what are some of the best meal plans to consider. These days there are thousands of different meal plans that are passed around like candy. Some of them are recommended by health officials and doctors, while others have been around for a long time.
Whatever the case is, it’s worth looking at the quality of those diets and seeing what the diet is meant to do and what you have to do. After all, some diets will help you out tremendously while others can straight up destroy your entire system.
Conversely, you can look into strategies that also help you on the exercise side of things. Consider this plan from BarBend.
Never Use Weight Loss As Your Marker For Motivation
One of the other cornerstones to weight loss for me has been finding the best kind of motivation. When I took the 6-week challenge, it was the opportunity of getting my money back (and I really needed my money back). For my superhero workout challenge, it’s being able to show better results to you, my audience.
But this particular lesson is bigger to me than most would think.
When I started this new year, I was determined to be losing weight and focused a lot of my attention on the scale.
In fact, the weight I gained after my 6-week challenge was over is kind of the reason for me taking this superhero challenge in the first place.
But it was through this challenge so far where I’ve learned I was wrong to be focusing on just that weight loss. Especially since, as I said before, I’ve been maintaining or gaining weight since then.
Motivation is so important as it’s the fuel for us to keep going and pursuing our goals. This is a fundamental aspect for any weight loss journey and as such you need to have a solid marker or motivator.
It’s this reason I don’t think weight loss is a good marker because you run into scenarios like I’m in. You’re putting in a lot of effort to change and in the end, you’re barely making progress or regressing.
It’s from these scenarios where people lose their motivation and ultimately give up.
That is unless you find a stronger motivator.
Finding a stronger motivator isn’t so simple though. In some cases, the motivator is right in your face like the 6-week challenge I took. Others may be discovered later as I found with my superhero workout challenge.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to find something solid as it can do you a lot of good. For example, I would’ve given up my workout challenge a long time ago if I was focused solely on my weight loss.
I recall comparing the results I’ve been getting from this workout challenge with my 6-week challenge early on and that could’ve easily derailed me.
But instead of focusing so much on the numbers, I started to look at other things. I looked at how my body is overall handling the exercises I’m going through. Not to mention looking at my overall energy levels as well as what my body looks like.
I think this is essential for people in pursuit of better health because we’re so fixated on doing things one specific way. That or we prioritize one thing.
And the reality is one piece of information can shatter everything we stand for.
Take the method that Groom & Style mentioned here. It’s a workout with good results but doesn’t require you to go to the gym. It goes to show that not all weight loss happens at the gym, despite what so many people believe.
All I’m saying is to look for your motivator and find many of them. But also not to worry if things change. Health has twists and turns, peaks and slumps. It happens.
I don’t normally run into this issue any longer thanks to my new water bottle, but hydration is essential to any weight loss journey. It’s not out of the ordinary for a lot of people to skip over water. Most are quick to drinking all kinds of other beverages before even drinking water.
It’s gotten to the point where there is literally a one gallon challenge hovering around that people have taken. Either way drinking plenty of water is essential for our body to function and there are a widespread of benefits from drinking water. Examples are water can make us feel full after a meal, and it can flush out a lot of chemicals from our body as well.
But water can also contribute a little bit to weight loss and even help with our sleep schedule as well. And sleep is just as important as drinking enough water as improper sleep habits can contribute to weight gain too,
This is an important lesson to me because there was a time where I wasn’t drinking that much water. I drank all kinds of other beverages that did a lot of harm to my body. There was never a point where I went to the hospital but drinking water did alter my life.
I fell in love with drinking exclusively water. Not to mention I felt more energized.
I’m sure if I was still drinking some of the beverages that I’ve had in the past, I would be in a worse state than where I’m at right now.
What You Eat And When Matters
To expand on a previous point I mentioned above, the time of day for when you are eating matters to some degree. For one, the myth that we shouldn’t be eating after 8 pm is unfounded.
There is no danger to eating after 8 pm, but you do want to pay attention to what you eat. Most in that hour binge on salty foods or high sugar foods.
Basically foods that your dietician would tell you to avoid entirely in the first place.
It’s this reason most people advise against late night eating. In fact, some push for a 14 hour fast for your body to reset overnight which isn’t that bad. But one other thing I’d add to this is to look at what you are eating in your last meal of the day.
My overall experiences of weight loss taught me to not see carbs as an enemy. Where some say cut carbs, others villainize these foods and avoid them.
But I think some of us might have it all wrong.
Yes, we should be cutting carbs but not all. One way to do that is to eat foods that contain healthy fats in our evening meal. But during the day, we eat a healthy amount of carbs. Pair that up with some protein and veggies in every meal and you have a solid diet plan.
Why do I suggest eating this way?
Aside from that type of diet working for me, it also makes sense on a body level. Carbohydrates are generally our body’s fuel. So eating carbs (Fruits, tomatoes, whole grain foods, etc.) over the course of the day will keep our body in tip top shape. But when the evening comes around the last thing our body wants is more fuel. It’s looking to burn that fuel up and start slowing down.
This is where the fat comes in as adding a little bit of it is essentially putting our body into overdrive in burning that excess energy and helping us burn fat while we are sleeping. This is better than what our body would do traditionally with carbs which are storing it as fat.
It’s why there are several articles floating around talking about eating a tablespoon of peanut butter before bed. It’s a fat food.
Pay Close Attention To Your Feelings
One thing I’ve been sorta hinting at in some of my points is this particular lesson:
Pay close attention to your feelings over anything else.
I’m saying this because there is such a massive disconnection between what is out there and our bodies. And before you get angry this isn’t intentional. All of our bodies have varying degrees of reactions to certain foods. Take the blood type diet for example. This diet is specifically designed for your blood type. But as some people have pointed out, the claims are ridiculous.
Even something like the BMI scale is drastically off in some cases. For those not familiar with it, it’s a measurement of our body and height. Furthermore, there are specific numbers for what is an ideal body weight based on our height. But that measurement can be flawed in some cases, especially amongst athletes. Athletes are good examples as they are active and in shape. However, their BMI would likely indicate that they are heavily overweight. This is due to their muscles weighing more than fat.
Again, this isn’t intentional but these are still good grounds to consider the sciences, but more on feelings.
Lean on this lesson for when you are exercising but also on every aspect of food and eating as well. I rely on this because only I will understand my body the most. Sure there are plenty of professionals who know nutrition better than I do, but they don’t know how techniques or foods will react to my body.
I get stomach aches from eating pineapple for example. This is despite the fact that science proves pineapples is designed to prevent inflammation of the stomach.
My point is, just because something is stated doesn’t always mean it’s the perfect fit for you. Try it out and see how you feel. This is why I’m not claiming this stuff will work perfectly for you. It could be a hit or a miss.
A Weight Loss Journey Twists And Turns
While there is ample of evidence on weight loss there are still road bumps along the way. Not every piece of advice will work for you and for me I’m okay with that.
The road to a better healthy life should be difficult. It teaches us so many things about our bodies but also ourselves.
It’s to the point that the weight loss journey can reveal some valuable life lessons. The biggest of these lessons is this:
There are no short cuts. If you want to see amazing results you must put the time and effort to achieve it.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon