I was reading my journal today, and I noticed a few entries from back in 2013 when I started yet another attempt at getting healthy and losing weight. My plan back then was CICO (calories in/calories out) and more of what I thought was healthier food: grains, salads, and yogurt. I read a few entries later that I had lost 10 lbs, but then a week later, had gained 3 lbs and I was getting disheartened. There were no more journal entries about weight loss: I gave up shortly thereafter.
I failed at losing weight many times. More times than I care to count or remember, in fact. But what I never did was give up. I figured there had to be a way for me to succeed, and I had to find that combination. What I came upon was the following:
- I needed to commit to a lifelong change, and not a short-term diet. I finally realized that if I were to make any worthwhile changes, they needed to be long-term, and something I could commit to for the rest of my life. If it was good enough to subsist on and be satisfying, then I would be more likely to stick with it.
- I had to change my relationship with food. I used to eat for entertainment and comfort. That was wrong, and I knew it. I needed to change to eating for sustenance. I used to live to eat; I needed to change that mindset to eating to live.
- I needed to heed the latest research on nutrition: grains, sugar, dairy, and legumes are not good for humans. Fat, protein, fruits, and vegetables are good for us, and our bodies are designed to use these foods. The information I was taught as a kid and young adult was flawed, twisted by greed, and filled with bad science. Once I got past this misinformation, I had a better plan to succeed.
- I had to realize that weight loss is dictated by diet; fitness relies on exercise. I was taught in the Marines that if you’re overweight, all you need to do is run more to make it go away. On a basic CICO level, this is true, but fails to take into account the fact that you can’t exercise away a bad diet. At some point, it’s impossible to exercise enough to compensate for the amount of calories take in.
- I had to be okay with the process taking time. I had to accept the process being a journey of ups and downs.
Through our mistakes, we learn how to succeed. Don’t beat yourself up over how many times you’ve tried to lead a healthier life and failed or gave up. It’s all a part of succeeding.