As a Personal Trainer, one of the most frequent reasons people hire me is for weight loss. I get asked the most questions about how to lose weight. I get asked about every fad diet, workout craze, supplement and <dreaded> MLM product out there. When I tell people the simple answers, they look at me and their eyes glaze over. It really can’t be that simple. There must be some magic! Tell me what it is, how much I have to pay and let’s get this weight loss happening FAST. I want to be smokin’ hot in a month!!!
Friends, there is no magic. There is no product on the market or special piece of equipment that is going to help you lose weight. Do you know what you need the most? Patience. Because true and lasting weight loss takes TIME. It is not fast, it doesn’t happen quickly. You need the patience to wait it out. You need patience to know that if you continue to make the right choices and make changes to your lifestyle, your body will respond and over time you will see a difference.
There are certain “keys” to unlock the door to weight loss. The main two that must become staples of your everyday life are Exercise and Proper Nutrition. You are always going to have to move and always going to have to fuel your body correctly. Period, point blank, end of story. You have to exercise and fit in more movement in your daily life AND you have to eat an appropriate amount of calories to fuel your body without lowballing your energy needs (undereating) or exceeding your energy needs (overeating.)
Let’s be real here. You cannot sit on the couch, pin workout ideas and healthy recipes or binge watch The Big Bang Theory while eating your favorite snack food (like ice cream, Doritos, Chips and Salsa, Trail Mix, Popcorn, etc.) and think that you are going to stand up and have the body of your dreams. To change, there must be a challenge.
Imagine what the body of your dreams looks like. Sometimes, people see a person other than themselves in their mind. (I get sent lots of pictures of good looking famous people with “I want to look like this.”) First, I want to say, take a look at your body. You are working with you. And you are different than everyone else. We all hold our excess fat in different places. Our bony structures are different. Some people are naturally a little more soft, others can easily build more muscle. Some of us have wider hips or shoulders, or are curvy or straight waisted. There are certain aspects of you that will not change. For instance, I am straight waisted. Always have been. When I’m leaner, I’m just straight down my sides with no real definitive waist. I will never be curvy or hourglass shaped. It’s just not my body type. If I’m thinking I want to look like Ronda Rousey, I’m going to be out of luck. Because that woman’s body is curvy and strong and I am not built like her at all. Replace the vision of someone else with your own body. And when you see yourself, don’t be critical of the parts you want to change. Don’t turn it into a negative. Just take notice and allow yourself to know that with time, your body will change for the better. And most of those changes take place internally where we don’t get to see them!
Don’t just let your physical look be the only goal. Set goals related to improvement in your fitness level, in your daily choices and in your mental thoughts. Take measurements, take pictures, and take notes on what you say to yourself, your motivation, and what your daily choices for good health are and what choices you make that may be slowing or stalling your weight loss.
Is your mindset changing? Do you see how that has to be one of the keys? Until you change your mindset and tell yourself that this is a lifestyle change, that you have to make good choices day in and day out, you will find yourself going backwards again and again. You have to have positive goals, you have to put action to those goals and change what is not working in order to have success.
Along with daily movement and exercise, proper and healthful nutrition, setting positive goals and changing your mindset, you must also have proper rest (both sleep and rest from exercise.) Sleeping well and for a good number of hours is crucial to weight loss. Your body needs time to rest and recover and sleeping is what allows this. Although you must move everyday, you need to take at least one true rest day from your Exercise Plan. Your body needs to recover and your muscles need to rest.
The other key to weight loss is implementing stress management techniques into your daily life. If you are breathing, you have stress. Some stress is good and some is bad. It is important to find a healthy way to release your stress. Of course, exercise is going to help with that. You may also need to include Yoga, meditation and/or stretching into your Exercise Plan. Journaling, regular visits to a therapist, hiring a Life Coach or participation in a support group are also ways your can help eliminate stress. It is always going to be there so you need to find a way to manage it well and healthfully.
In review, the Keys to Weight Loss are Exercise, Proper Nutrition, Mindset Change, Goal Setting, Rest and Recovery, and Stress Management Techniques. There will never be magic in any of that. There is challenge, change and action. That is how you lose weight. I love Oprah and I use her as an example to drive my point home. Oprah has plenty of money to do whatever she wants. She has struggled with her weight and has been open about it for many years. If you could buy something that made you lose weight fast, with little effort, and helped keep it off, Oprah, of all people, would have the resources to buy it. If she hasn’t found the “magic,” why do people still believe it is out there? Human nature, I guess. Join me in believing in the truth, in letting go of the idea that there’s a pill/shake/wrap/workout/special ingredient/supplement/equipment/machine that will give us the body of our dreams, and realizing that we hold the power and the keys are in our hands to live a healthier life.