Are you one of the millions of people who made a New Year’s Resolution to either lose weight, get healthy, or get fit? How is that going for you so far? If you feel yourself dragging a bit or not able to stick with it, here’s some advice that I’ve used in the past to get me past the first few weeks.
- You’re going to feel bad. This is normal. It’s a part of taking on a new lifestyle, especially if you’re cutting out sugar. Sugar is far more addictive than people care to admit, and it’s one of the hardest addictions to kick. Once you get past feeling like crap, it gets MUCH easier. You just have to stick it out. There’s nothing anyone can do for you. There are no magic pills, shakes, or powders to get you past this stage. It’s all on you.
- You’re going to get cravings. It’s normal, and the difference between your success and failure (or lack of progress) will be based on your ability to persevere and discipline yourself past these temptations. I still get tempted, but I do my best to remain strong and just say, “No thanks.”
- You may fall off the wagon. This is something people who have lost a lot of weight don’t want to point out, because it is a failure of sorts, but to be completely honest, I can remember a few times over the years where I’ve said, “Forget this, I’m going to have a slice of bread before dinner.” Do I immediately regret it? Sure I do! But something else crazy happens: I survive. I don’t pack on 10 lbs the next day, and I don’t find myself going down the path to cakes and endless spaghetti. The key here is to recognize that you’ve fallen off the wagon and to get right back on as soon as possible. So what if you ate something you shouldn’t have eaten at lunch? Get right back to the plan at dinner. Don’t give up an entire day because you had an english muffin at breakfast. Salvage what’s left of the day by mitigating the impact of that bad food by eating right the rest of the day. The only way to fail is to give up completely.
- There are no shortcuts. None. There’s no magic trick or silver bullet to losing weight. There’s no wonder pill, powder, patch, or product to get you to lose weight without effort. There is only ONE way to lose weight: reduce the number of calories that go into your body to create a caloric deficit. In other words, fewer calories in than what your body uses. Of course, the quality of the calories counts for a lot more than people think, and that’s why I advocate a low-carb diet like Whole30 to get started and Paleo for the long-term. You have to do the work, as my cousin told me in the beginning of my own journey. You have to eat right, trust the process, and let it happen, but it won’t happen overnight. You have to give it time and persevere.
- It’s not easy, but you’re worth it. Remember this. Nobody can do this for you. Many will try to talk you out of eating right and getting fit. People will mask their own insecurities and jealousy by trying to pull you off the wagon so they won’t feel bad when they see the success you’re enjoying. Don’t let them! Stick with it and when you see that delicious jelly roll or donut, remind yourself of WHY you are eating right and WHY you are going to resist that temptation. We all have our reasons: remind yourself of what those reasons are when you are at your most vulnerable to find your strength.
Sherry and I started our first Whole30 over three years ago. We did our second Whole30 in January 2017, and we did another one last January. This year, we didn’t do another Whole30, but we did rededicate ourselves to eating correct-sized portions, sticking to Paleo-only foods, and cutting out alcohol. It’s not easy, even knowing that the process works and that it just takes time, but I take comfort in knowing that by the end of this month (or next month), I’ll weigh less and be in better shape. I also need to get more sleep, and I’m fixing that, too. It’s all a process, and as long as I’m doing the work, the results will come. Maybe not immediately, and maybe even not next week, but they will eventually arrive. And when they do, I will smile big.