Weight loss is a complicated thing and, if you’ve ever been through it, you know that there are often questions that are hard to answer and obstacles that stand in your way.
Question #1: When are you actually going to start losing weight?
That, my friend, is the question that, could I answer it, would allow me to be writing this from my own private island as I sip something tropical and allow a shirtless man to fan me with palm fronds.
Wait, why am I still writing this? I just solved the biggest mystery in the world! I quit!
Lessons in Life
This brings us to life lessons. What’s funny about that is that I actually just typed ‘lesions.’
In a way, I’d rather have to learn about life’s lesions because, by definition, a lesson is “a useful piece of practical wisdom acquired by experience or study.”
Sounds like a real hootenanny doesn’t it?
And, really, life lessons tend to be the most painful to learn.
Still, learn we must and there are some weight loss lessons that, once learned, can actually help you keep going when times get tough.
One of the most important weight loss lessons to learn is to embrace uncertainty.
The fact is, you won’t always know if you’re doing it right.
You can track calories-in vs. calories-out, exercise every day and watch your diet, but you won’t have any immediate feedback indicating you’re on the right track. The scale just can’t measure the tiny changes happening inside your body on a daily basis, all of which will lead to weight loss and fitness. Things like:
- Your heart becomes stronger and more efficient so it can deliver more oxygen to the body.
- Your genes actually change when you exercise – They are improved for aerobic performance and muscle growth.
- You change at a cellular level. The more you exercise, the better your cells can dilate blood vessels so that more oxygen is delivered to your body. You actually increase the number of mitochondria in your cells.
- You increase longevity.
- You create a sense of wellbeing.
None of those sentences included, “You drop tons of weight,” I know, but all of those things contribute to that end goal.
Even knowing that and knowing that losing weight takes time, deep down, we’re still looking for fast results. When they don’t come, we often feel frustrated to the point of quitting.
Giving your body time to respond to what you’re doing is part of the weight loss process.
We focus so much on the scale as a gauge of how we’re doing, but, sometimes, the scale can be the worst way to measure your success.
The scale can’t measure what’s really happening in your body. It can only tell you you’re heavier (which could be because of anything – You ate something, drank something, you’re retaining water, someone put 10 pounds on your feet when you weren’t looking, etc.).
Or it can tell you you’re lighter (which, again, could be simply because you just went to the bathroom, or took off your shoes).
In fact, your weight may not change very much during the first month or so of exercise, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting results.
So what do you do if you’re working hard, but that work isn’t showing up on the scale?
First, embracing the uncertainty of the process, rather than fighting it, can ease a lot of your frustration.
If you’re doing all the right things to lose weight, allow yourself to focus on other ways of tracking your progress: Completing your workouts, getting stronger, building endurance, feeling more energy, feeling good about yourself, sleeping better, etc.
If you’re not sure if you’re doing all the right things to lose weight, educate yourself on the basics of weight loss, try a guided program or consider working with a professional, like me, to look at what you’re doing and ease your worries.
Either way, there will always be some uncertainty in the process. We can only do what we can, right?