So here we are. We made it out of 2020, and you’ve made a new year resolution to get healthy and shed that extra weight. You’re extremely motivated and excited. You go sign up for a gym membership that you’ve now committed yourself to for the next year. You rush to your local sporting goods store and invest in half of a wardrobe worth of workout gear, and of course, don’t forget the new shoes. You’re getting ready to demolish your pantry, clear out your fridge, and head to the grocery store to get your new spread of healthy food options. This is where I want to stop you, and hopefully, you haven’t gotten to this point yet. Honestly, I would prefer it if I’ve got you before you even pick up that gym membership.
Now, before I go into this any further I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Clark, and I have lost nearly 100lbs in the last three years, and I’m continuing to lose more. This will be the first article I have ever written, but about this 100th time I’ve given this advice. I must preface by saying I am not a medical professional, certified trainer, or registered dietician. I am not here to give you professional advice. I am just an everyday average guy, who let myself get insanely out of shape, who’s somehow managed to lose a lot of weight, keep it off and continue to lose, and learn a lot over the past 3 years.
I am not here to offer a workout plan, debunk any “fad diets”, or sell you the magic supplement that’s going to do all of the work for you. (Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist… yet) I am going to give you my own personal do’s and don’ts of beginning a weight loss journey and more importantly, a healthier life in general. So here we go, here are my top 4 tips on starting, and more importantly, sticking to, a weight loss journey.
Tip 1: See it for what it is
As corny as it may sound: Accept that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet that you’re going to start and one day end. If you are simply looking to lose that pesky 10lbs for your friend’s wedding, or drop a pant size, then of course a short term diet could be your ticket, but we are talking about serious weight loss here. You are going to want to have a serious mental intervention with yourself, and understand that your primary goal is not to lose weight, it’s to become healthier and feel better about yourself, and in order to do that, you must change the way you live, it’s all or nothing here.
Tip 2: Make it unique to you
Find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment: I am not here to push the way I diet on you, or tell you that any one is better than the other. Quite frankly I have tried multiple different diet’s and eating patterns over the last few years, and no one in particular worked best for me. I tend to bounce around a few different one’s depending on how they fit into my constantly changing day to day work schedule. So what do I recommend? Do some research! Read about different plans online, request an appointment with a dietitian, or even look into meal prep services that check into your goals, and ship the meals strait to you. The same goes for workout plans. Check around at your local gym’s, most gym’s offer one day passes, don’t be afraid to try out a few. At this point for me, I’ve worked out at nearly every gym in my hometown. You can also look into home gym/workout options, or even consult with a personal trainer near you. All of the things I have listed above require time, money, and sacrifice. So before doing any of these things, I recommend you read step 3 first.
Tip 3: Don’t be in a hurry
Run the Marathon, not the sprint: This is not a race, it never will be. In my years of doing this I’ve realized very quickly that overwhelming yourself with high expectations and harsh deadlines can put a dagger in your progress quicker than anything else. If you take away anything from this article I want it to be this: START SLOW. Doing anything cold turkey is one of the most difficult pressure’s you could put on yourself. Although it does happen in diet, quitting nicotine, alcohol, or other vices, typically those who succeed were presented with a fairly significant health scare in some way or another that put them in that position. Given that you’re reading this article right now I’m going to say it’s safe to assume you haven’t had devastating news from a doctor that has you ready to change everything right now, and that’s okay! For the rest of us a slow process of elimination will work just as good. Your goal is to make this as easy on yourself as you possibly can, because we are shooting for the long term here. This is a process that will hopefully last for the remainder of your life, there is no sense in rushing it. I did not lose all of my weight by only eating lean meats and veggies while weighing out all of my meals. It took me 3 years to get to that point. I lost my first 20lbs by deciding to walk every day and cook more of my food instead of living in the drive thru. For some, obtaining noticeable weight loss may not take that long, for some it may take longer, at the end of the day this is YOUR work, and nobody else’s. My most reliable piece of weight loss advice is to start by taking a 15 minute walk every day, that may not provide the instant gratification that 90 minute workouts coupled with a restrictive diet will, but you have to remember that you are setting yourself up for the long term. Creating a habit first, is much more important than 6 weeks of great results that ultimately end in a crash and burn scenario. There are no secrets here. We all know that eating less and exorcising more will help us lose weight, but if it was that easy we would all do it right now, wouldn’t we? Trust me on this, take your time. Start with a walk, and then when you’re walking every, day maybe go ahead and cut out something from your every day diet. For nearly every person I have met so far, that one thing they first cut out was soda. For me, having never been a big soda drinker, it was Arizona Tea and Sour Patch Kids. Regardless, of what it is, just pick one to start. Don’t feel the need to do everything at once. As time goes on, find more exorcises, build that routine, cut some more things out every week or two, no matter what you do, pace yourself.
Tip 4: Consistency
Consistency; Through all of the articles, all of the videos, all of the books I have explored through all of the varying opinions and advice all across the fitness industry, the one constant is consistency. Now when I say consistency I’m not referring to sticking to a consistent routine and never shying away from it. That is a completely unreasonable ask. What I mean is that when you fall short of your plan. When you slip up on your diet, when you miss a workout, you forget to walk, or your friend’s decided on a place to eat and you didn’t want to be the only one sitting there without a plate, or failed to meet a short term weight goal: don’t get discouraged! I have yet to meet a single person out of the hundreds of people I’ve talked to throughout the industry who haven’t fallen short of their goals at least a few times. The difference between those who are, and aren’t successful is simple: those who succeed are those who get back to the process after failure. As a compulsive binge/emotional eater I still to this day will slip up and eat my way through an entire large pizza and an order of taco’s within an hour and then spend the rest of the night asking myself “what have I done?” but the most important part of making those occurrences fewer and fewer is getting right back to work the next day. I wake up, avoid the scale, head strait to the gym and give myself a workout to be proud of. Staying consistent is the key factor in making this a long term, enjoyable journey that has potential to bring you many friend’s and great memories along the way.
When it come’s to diet and exorcise, there is a plethora of recourses out there, go find them! Your journey is unique to you and I am not here to push my ways onto anyone. My goal is to give you a few bits of my favorite advice, a bit of understanding, and hopefully relieve some of the stress that come’s with beginning this process. I also would like to add that this may not all apply to you, and that’s absolutely okay as well, there is an abundance of ways to go about this and this is just one of many that I wanted to throw out there.
I would like to thank you for reading this, and wish you the best of luck on your journey! Feel free to explore this awesome website for an abundance of information fitness and training.
This article was a piece created by a great friend of mine, Clark Morgan. He has had amazing success with his weight loss journey and is now contributing an exceptional piece of content to help you with yours!