Patience.

What’s the biggest secret to weight loss? It’s patience.

It’s been a year and three months and I’ve finally hit 51 pounds lost. I still have another 27 pounds to go until I hit my main goal. Initially, I had hoped to hit my main goal when I was a year in…but I realized that, even though I have been on track for a while, you’re going to go through a lot of ups and downs – therefore, weight loss takes patience.

On this journey, I’ve experienced the initial loss of water weight and then a sudden halt. After dropping 23 pounds in the first three months, I experienced a 3-month plateau (once you lose 10% of your body weight, this is very common. At the time, though, I didn’t know that). I had to do research and adjust my routine so I could see the scale shift and drop another 4.2 pounds by the end of the year. I continued to see the weight come off over the next seven months, but a few months ago, the weight started falling off much slower.

I discovered that your weight can spike unexpectedly due to consuming high sodium foods and water retention and that a woman’s time of the month can cause you to gain anywhere from a half-pound to 10 pounds! I went from averaging about 4 pounds lost a month to 1.5 pounds. After doing more research, I found out the more weight you lose, the harder it is to continue losing. You have to be continuously adjusting your habits and, of course, have patience.

A lot of people want to lose weight fast – which is why we see advertisements for b.s. diets and programs that cost you money that advertise how quickly you can drop weight. For one, they aren’t healthy. The companies offering these products are doing their best to rope you in with their shiny new product that promises fast results to make sales, not to make sure you are living a happy, healthy lifestyle and that your body is getting the nutrition and exercise it deserves.

While I won’t say that EVERY product and service on the market is b.s., because some of them are trying to assist you on meal portions and encouraging you to exercise, I will say that I still wouldn’t spend a dime doing any of it. Why? Because I don’t need to make a monthly payment to some company when I have the ability to do research on my own (I don’t mind learning a thing or two) and all I have to do is buy groceries (which, I’ll be doing regardless). I would rather spend money on workout gear or books that help me learn and also guide me through new workouts.

Diets that have you consuming 800 calories a day are one of the worst culprits – did you know that your body NEEDS 1,200 calories a day just for proper organ function? Cutting your calories below your basic needs is going to do more harm than good, and you’re also not going to be able to keep up that program for the rest of your life, nor are you going to keep the weight off.

Another popular one – low carb diet. At some time, the word “carbohydrate” became a four letter word. Why? Probably because it’s often found in processed food that we know we should limit ourselves on. But did you also know that your body needs carbohydrates to fuel not only your muscles but your brain, too? And that carbs are found in more than just pizza and donuts — apples and sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, and many other good, healthy foods. A low-carb diet is not only going to leave you tired, but you’re also going to have a hard time gaining muscle – which is what helps you look great naked, instead of just looking great in clothes.

look-good-naked

I could rant about poor diet programs forever, but the bottom line is, for healthy weight loss, it won’t be easy, but if you’re patient…you will eventually reach your goal. (Note: Whether you start today or not, the time is going to pass anyway. Wouldn’t you like to look back a year from now and be glad that you started today?)

Wish You Started Today

So instead of focusing on how long it’ll take you to lose the weight, or getting frustrated when the scale doesn’t budge, consider your wins beyond the scale.

One might think I’m frustrated that I haven’t hit my goal considering a year has come and gone and I still have a good chunk of weight to lose.  But instead, I have to be proud of how far I’ve come. Just over a year ago, I was 51 pounds heavier. Even though I haven’t tracked my measurements from the start, I do know that I’ve lost 27 inches in one year. I can see a huge difference in the before and after pictures that I have taken. Plus, I get compliments from both people who know I’ve been working on my weight loss and people who had no idea I was trying. I have stopped loathing clothes shopping and find myself trying on clothes thinking they won’t fit because they’re smaller than usual, and being pleasantly surprised when it fits just right. Another one I experienced just yesterday at my cousin’s wedding was having my picture taken by someone else and expecting to see it and hate how I look, but instead I found myself noticing that it’s a much different view from just over a year ago.

As I mentioned before, the more weight you lose, the harder it is to drop more weight. Therefore, you have to start to experiment with different techniques. A while back, I read something about increasing your calories and decreasing your calories throughout the week to help jump start your metabolism. Your body gets used to consuming the same number of calories and suddenly, it’s content with your new calorie intake. I had also read something about increasing it for a week or two and then dropping them down again.

I did a week of increasing my calories by 300 a day. While eating a little more was nice, I did notice I felt a bit more sluggish. But that week went by quickly and before I knew it, I was back to eating 300 calories less a day – which was hard, but I found I wasn’t as sluggish as I was the week before. (That means that I had consumed an extra 2,100 calories the previous week and then immediately dropped 2,100 calories the next. 300 a day adds up fast!) After that test, I dropped 1.4 pounds and was stoked! When you’ve lost close to 50 pounds, the scale stops showing you 1, 2, and 3 pound drops in a week and instead shows you half-pound drops, 1.4 pounds is extravagant! I decided to try it again, only with two weeks high and two weeks low. I’m on the second week of low now, but I weigh myself weekly so last week’s weigh-in showed I had dropped another 1.8 pounds!

I’ve been recently turned on to a book by Mark Lauren called, “Body by You: The You Are Your Own Gym Guide to Total Women’s Fitness.” A friend uses the “You Are Your Own Gym” version (since that’s more catered to men’s needs) and is aware of how I feel about diet gimmicks and he recommended that I look into this. I have read through the book and started the evaluation process, but man, am I excited to really get started! It’s a book that not only talks about healthy eating, but also designs workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own home – without any workout equipment! Which is great when you don’t have a gym nearby, can’t afford to go to the gym, don’t have the time to travel to and from the gym, or simply realize that your body’s own resistance and a towel and a doorknob can work wonders.

The bottom line is, I’ve lost 51 pounds – not through the assist of any diet program, starving myself, or even paying for anything besides groceries, new workout gear, and some weights…but instead by eating normal food in smaller portions, adding more fruits and veggies to my diet, consuming water and eating my calories (mostly) instead of drinking them (lattes and wine – I will never let you go…), doing the occasional google search to find the answer to why the scale hasn’t budged, and, you guessed it, patience.

“Patience is a key element to success.” Bill Gates