Losing weight is hard. It requires dedication and sacrifice and is not quick or simple. Maybe this is why so many people are looking for the secret or a short cut. There is clearly a market for it with miracle weight loss tablets or detox health drinks. We have fad diets and 12-week weight loss plans. The whole market of weight loss is big business. But it is also very confusing for people. How are you meant to know if you should reduce your carbs and increase your fat? Or are you meant to decrease animal products and go plant based? Some people say you should fast for five days and eat for 2. Sitting here writing it I can start to understand why people find it so hard and why they might want to know the secret.
At the end of the day, losing weight doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated. I always go on about this but at the end of the day the secret to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume. There. Simple. Easy to understand and I’m telling you for free! Do exercise to burn calories and then take in the amount of food you need to operate but do not exceed that number. It gets more complicated when you start looking at athletic performance and muscle gain or other training related outcomes. But losing weight is actually not that complicated. Where it can get complicated though is when people do not understand that to successfully lose weight means there will be fundamental shifts to your lifestyle that will remain for the rest of your life.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off then you need to say goodbye to your current way of living. This doesn’t mean a sacrificial fire in which you make offerings to the weight loss gods or anything that dramatic. Instead is accepting that the approach to losing weight in a healthy and sustainable manner is a lifelong pursuit. There is no end date. Personally this is one of the biggest issues I have when I see weight loss programs with a time frame. While it is good that it gets people involved in losing weight it ultimately sets them up for failure. By setting a time frame people will automatically see that date as the end of the work. How many people do you know that will lose weight only to put it back on again? Maybe this is something that you have experienced yourself.
If you instead set out from the start with the approach that the changes you make are going to be permanent you are setting yourself up for success. You may not lose weight as quickly as you would by undergoing a intensive ‘5 week to a better you’ plan. It may not be as sexy as telling your friends that you are on the ‘prehistoric fruit and vegetable 6 day detox cleanse.’ What will happen though is you will start to make smaller changes to the way to live. These small changes will lead to bigger changes and eventually your way of living will be different, but it wont be worse. By accepting that you are going to make healthy food choices and exercise part of your life forever you may never have a goal weight or a time deadline when you want to hit a certain number. More likely than not this will be because you wont need to. A healthy lifestyle lends itself to healthy weight. Yes you will still be able to eat your favourite pizza or enjoy a couple of bottles of your favourite red wine. It just might not be as often. But by enjoying something less often it might even become more special.
So while losing weight is hard and it does require sacrifice, it can become easy. By starting your journey with the understanding that this is how you CHOOSE to live moving forward instead of being something that you HAVE TO DO you are more likely to be successful. What at first are difficult habits to adapt to will become normal and before you know it your weight will be dropping, your energy will be increasing and unlike those people who go for the fad diets or crazy exercise regimes, you will not put the weight back on.
So commit to a healthier version of yourself. Start out small. For me the first step was to cut back on sugar. I do not even notice it anymore. From there it might be to commit to one workout a week or to not eat food with ingredients you cannot pronounce. Whatever it is you choose to do, understanding that this is your new normal early on will help you to commit to it long term and have a continued, safe and healthy lifestyle moving forward.
Tim is completing a law degree in Sydney at the University of New South Wales and work as a PT focusing on weight loss and triathlon coach. He is a member of MaccaX Triathlon Team and truly believes that triathlon is the greatest sport on earth. Read more about his adventures on www.oztriathlete.com