So for the last four months I have been pretty focused on losing weight and getting into better shape. I have been working out at least three times a week at Malpica Fitness, changed my eating habits, drank a ton of water, spent countless hours on my treadmill, counted calories... and driven myself just this side of homicidal because I want to lose weight the "Old Fashioned Way." (i.e. no surgery, no pills, no shakes)
And though I have not yet reached the goals I set for myself four months ago, I have learned a LOT on this journey that I honestly wish someone had shared with me at the start. Things that have gotten in my way. Things that have caught me by surprise. Things that I never considered. Things I needed to hear.
Am I an "expert?" Not by any stretch of the imagination. I am just a 30-something mom... struggling through this journey myself. And I happen to be a blogger, so I share it all. EXPERIENCE is my only expertise.
So this is my list. My raw, no holding back, tell it like it is list of Things You Should Know Before Starting Any Weight Loss Journey. This post has negativity. (and positivity, cause that's how I roll) This post has frustration. This post has anger. This post has defeat. This post has things you may disagree with. This post may even piss you off. But I bet if you step back a minute you will realize every word of it... is absolutely true.
1. It's going to suck.
Hey, I said I wasn't holding back. Losing weight sucks. Every bit of it sucks. Counting calories sucks. Eating a salad while your family eats lasagna sucks. Eating at home all the time sucks. Drinking water - and only water - all the time sucks. Being sore all the time sucks. Being hungry all the time sucks... but you know what else sucks? Muffin top. Back fat. That big glaring number on the tag of your blue jeans. That sucks worse.
2. But there will come a time that you will love it.
Ok, maybe love is a strong word. How about "it will suck less?" Bottom line is that it does get easier... IF you actually stick to it. If you do not stick to it, however, it will suck over... and over... and over. Because regardless of what anyone tells you, cheating - even a little bit - is a set back, and makes the next time suck worse. I can not tell you how many times I have been "good" all week long - gotten on the scale and seen a 2-3 pound weight loss - and then have ONE BAD MEAL over the weekend and WHAM - Monday morning those three pounds are right back on. Think that can't happen like that? I beg to differ. It has been my LIFE for the last four months. It will suck less when you finally realize that the "cheat" just simply isn't worth it. Once you make that shift - it doesn't suck. Yes, just like that.
3. You are going to have to learn to eat some weird stuff.
This is possibly what I have struggled with the most. I have major consistency issues that prevents me from eating - or even trying - a lot of things. Fruit for instance. I live in Florida - the citrus capital of the world... and I can not stand the way it feels in my mouth. Pulp makes me gag. Literally. Blue berries and raspberries? What's with the seeds? Eww. Oh, and don't get me started on oatmeal. Who looked at that stuff and thought "I bet that would make a great breakfast - let's gum it up a bit." And what the hell IS flax seed anyway? But the truth is you have to learn to eat weird stuff, because chicken, broccoli, and brown rice will get old.... FAST.
4. You will discover some really cool food.
Maybe it is because I didn't grow up "in the kitchen" - but I have discovered some really cool meals - and cool flavor combinations I never could have tried. Romaine, hummus, cheese and olives - together? Yes. You can cure that Mexican craving with a bowl of healthy soup? Yes. Practically burning green beans makes them even more amazing? Oh yeah. In the last four months I have tried all kinds of weird stuff - some I have loved - some I will never touch again. I have lived in "don't knock it till you try it" and been more than a little bit pleasantly surprised. Oh.. and that consistency thing... you control that. So suck it up, Buttercup.
5. Weekly Meal Prep is not an option.
Spend 45 seconds on Pinterest in the fitness category and you are bound to see a "weekly meal prep" round up complete with a picture of 48 Gladware containers stacked perfectly. That is because people who are truly committed to weight loss get it - this is not an option. It's not enough to just have the food on hand. It needs to be cooked, prepared, pre-weighed, and ready to eat. Because if it is not, it is WAY too easy to say "I don't have time to cook - let's go out to eat" or "ugh, I do not want to have to cook two full meals, I will just have a little bit of the lasagna." The beauty of weekly meal prep - you don't have to cook all the time!! I cook once. Sundays. And I fill my fridge. So whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or an after school snack - we are good to go. Heat it up and voila! We even use paper plates now - no cooking OR cleaning!? Heck yeah.
6. Your food bill WILL go up.
Kinda. Yes, eating healthier, unprocessed food is more expensive. Farmers can not compete with $.09 Ramen noodles and 3/$1 mac and cheese. Don't get me started on what it costs to go "organic." But how much do you REALLY spend on food now? I know that for the four of us to eat out, I am going to spend a minimum of $50. I can get a LOT of veggies for $50. You honestly have to look at the long term cost of your weight issues - everything from diabetes to heart disease - and put into perspective what is really "worth it." Is it worth spending an extra $100 a month on groceries to look and feel amazing?! Yes. Wanna really blow your mind? Put your average eating out bill money into a jar. Every time I think "ugh, this is totally a night we would have gone out" I stick $50 in a jar. I won't tell you how much is there... but we will be getting that new back sliding glass door soon.
7. You will lose weight in weird places first.
For as long as I can remember I have had a "bubble butt" and "thunder thighs." Seriously as far back as I can remember. I have a flat stomach - even after two children - but from the hips down is where I carry all of my excess weight. So naturally that was where I wanted to lose weight, right? And did I? No. You want to know where I first began seeing weight/inches lost? My collarbones. My rib cage. Oh, and my favorite... my hands. Yes, I may still be rocking the same size blue jeans, but I have had to go down an entire ring size. Booya.
8. Comparing will steal your joy.
There is nothing that will make you feel more defeated than getting up in the morning, stepping on the scale, seeing a 1 pound weight loss... and then jumping on Facebook to see Miss Weightloss Gimmick Product has lost 5. Or how about weighing in on Monday morning with your husband who hasn't done crap all week besides drink more water while you have counted calories/killed yourself at the gym... and he is down 4 pounds while you are stuck at the exact same number. And those "before and after" shots... my GOD stop looking at those. Or actually - take a look at how this lady lost a ton of weight... in 15 minutes. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is who you were when you began this journey. The girl who couldnt do a single pushup. The girl who couldn't pick up the new cat litter box. The girl that had to ask for help opening the pickle jar. The girl who never in a million years would have completed twelve 5k runs in 12 months.
9. It's going to be a slow process... but you want it that way.
You know what is worse than being fat? Being skinny and having skin hang from you like drapery. You want to lose weight at the speed that your skin's elasticity can keep up. Ten pounds a week is not only unhealthy and unrealistic, it will also almost guarantee your skin hangs. It simply can not keep up with that rate of weight loss. Also, they aren't kidding when they say it is a lifestyle change. You have to learn and create new habits or you will just pack the weight right back on. Yo-yo dieting? Yeah, thats because you faked it long enough to show on the scale - but you learned nothing. It takes time to figure out exactly works for you and create new habits. So embrace the journey. Don't be so hard on yourself. It took you a while to accumulate all that weight - let yourself have the time to take it off. What's the hurry?
10. It's going to be worth it.
Weight loss is 10% diet and exercise... and 90% mental. The headgame that goes on with this journey can absolutely take you to your knees. And the mental part will make you or break you. You have to mentally force yourself to work out. You have to mentally force yourself to not go out to eat. You have to mentally force yourself to cook. You have to mentally force yourself to make the right choices... ALL.THE.TIME. But it is going to be worth it. And it will happen if you stick to it. There will be a day that you realize how far you have come. A day you wake up and LOVE your reflection. A day you complete a BOLD Goal that you never thought you could do. A day when you run in to an old friend and their eyes go wide and they say "oh my goodness, you look amazing!" (and they really mean it) A day you realize that all of the sweat, all of the tears, all of the aches, all of the frustration, all of the FRIGGIN COUNTING... was absolutely, 100%, no question about it WORTH IT.