The road to a healthier life is awfully hard, so even if you’re just reading this I commend you. The beginning of a weight loss journey, be it a goal of losing 100lbs or 10lbs, starts with a mental game. To have a conversation with yourself that you’re not where you should be and allow for a change. That’s really hard.
Then you have to research and find lifestyle changes that you want to adopt, some people start here and unfortunately set themselves up for failure. If you start your weight loss journey with a “Diet” and not a “Lifestyle Change”, then you’ve already set the wrong tone. You may lose the weight you’d like, but you’ll gain it back and then some when you stop your diet.
Next you have to tell your family and/or friends. It’s rare that a person does this whole journey on their own, and I don’t think anyone should. For some, telling the family can be either embarrassing or even deflating. How many of you have told someone that you’re going to try to lose 20lbs only to hear them brush you off or tell you what you’ll be “missing out on.” Not exactly supportive. Or they go the other extreme way and start telling you everything you need to do and they tell you eating only eggs helped their friend lose 30 lbs! Obviously, this is another fairly unsupportive response. Most times you just have to let it roll off your back and keep going.
If you get past these obstacles, you’ll be ready to implement your new lifestyle foods, learn new recipes and figure out how many calories you should be eating. You’ll have to figure out your carbs, proteins and fat percentages to eat and to cut out all the bad foods that got you to where you are. So, you’ll be dealing with sugar withdrawal for sure.
You’ll have to start working out as well, and this is another area people often fail at. If you think spending 30-60 minutes on a treadmill is going to help you lose any weight, you’ve already failed yourself. I think this is where most people don’t allow themselves to get outside of their comfort zone and really push themselves. You need 30 minutes of hard work with an appropriate warm up and cool down to really get to a fat burning zone. Then you still need to eat correctly or you’ll just spin your wheels with no results.
But this post isn’t about those previous steps. If you get pass all those obstacles you’re up for an even harder road that most people don’t expect. I certainly didn’t. I started out this weight loss journey different then all my other attempts. I educated myself and changed my nutrition before I ever went for a workout. I tried to tackle what had been my biggest failures before and succeeded at them.
I did my research, went to my doctor for a blood panel, changed my nutrition and watched food documentaries, and even CrossFit documentaries. They say you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. I can’t spend my days with nutritionist and CrossFit athletes, but what I could do was put the documentaries on a loop and drill the concepts into my head.
Once I felt confident on how I was eating and how I adjusted my days, I did my first CrossFit workout and got my ass kicked. All my years as an athlete in high school and college, I never worked out so hard that I almost vomited. I was surprisingly hooked. Like most people, you realize that working out with the CrossFit Methodology was going to really help you become healthier and leaner.
While I love CrossFit, I know it can be intimidating, just realize that most people scale their workouts (I still do), and that it works for all ages. Again though, this is not an article for CrossFit.
This is for anyone who has gotten this far in their weight loss journey and finds that they still cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. I expected everything that I listed, I expected it to be hard in the aspect of pushing my body and keeping on target, but what I didn’t know was that along with losing weight came depression, anxiety and insomnia.
According to Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, “Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” While I don’t want to “take out” my husband, I do find that the depression and anxiety I’m prone to is more at the forefront of my mind. I’ve hit a ton of milestones so far in my journey. I’m down 22lbs, I’ve lost collectively over 30 inches and my ability to move around has gotten better. My body composition is changing from fat to muscle and that seems to prove a challenging aspect for me.
My appetite has gone down, which you don’t want to happen when you’re going to CrossFit 5 times a week. You need the calories so that you’re body doesn’t eat the muscle that you’re trying to gain. I cannot sleep as often as I should, which you need to allow your body to rebuild. There are days where I don’t want to speak to another person or see the sun. One fact that I am proud of is that with the exception of injury or being sick, I haven’t allowed myself to miss a workout, even if it’s been an unmotivated day.
My emotions have been everywhere! I literally cried at a Harry Potter video that my sister posted on my Facebook because I thought they did such a good job. I’ve become the girl that cries at things that are cute or sweet and I’ve never been that girl. It threw me off so much that I went back to the doctor thinking I had lost my damn mind!
Turns out, when you’re in the process of changing your body composition and eating healthy and working out, it’s a lot for your body to process. Once I thought about it, it made sense. Then I was kind of irritated that no one even talks about how hard mentally it is on you! This journey is hard but not for what most people think. It’s hard on your mind and your emotions more than it is on your body.
I literally went back to my doctor for another blood panel because I thought something was wrong with me. Turns out, my blood work got better, which I was happy about, I’m not even close to being pre-diabetic so that was a huge win!
But now I’m up for another battle and it’s one that I wasn’t ready for. I never thought about why I got fat and what emotions went into becoming overweight. So I never thought about the emotions I would have to reconcile with as I went through the process of losing the weight.
This is where starting your weight loss journey with a support system saves you. My husband as been awesome with just letting me cry it out and celebrating my wins with me. My sister (who is in medical school) allows me to pester her with medical questions until I understand each concept and my mother has been there to listen and answer questions when it comes to body movement and “is this normal?” questions.
My coaches at CrossFit Ohana have listened to me and help scale the workouts so that I can still push myself without injury. They’ve listened to me telling them about what emotional state I’m in and jabbered with me about food and goals. My recent milestone was being able to jump rope without pain in my knees. For someone who is over weight that’s a huge win!
Learning what it’s like to not be hindered by my weight is a process in itself, but one I enjoy. While the struggle is real and I still have dark days, I can now put a name to what’s going on and realize that this is normal and part of the process. My hope is that someone else will read this and have a bit of a warning, that you will probably cry on your steps at a super cute Harry Potter video and that’s totally OK!
Just keep going, trust in the process and above all, don’t give up. I do believe in my heart that the journey is worth all that we’ll go through, and we can go through it together if you’d like. Just. Keep. Going.