Have you ever said to yourself, “Okay, that’s it. It’s time to make a change.” Me too. We all have. Most (if not all) people have been unhealthy for periods of their lives. Falling off the wagon has detrimental effects on overall feeling and self-esteem. That feeling of disgust encourages us to make a change. Many really do try to make a change, but after a week or two of no results, most give up because they are convinced it isn’t working. We live in a society of quick fixes and quick results. Everyone is so eager to see results that they look past the time they need to invest to see those results. Real, sustainable change takes time. Being healthy takes time. Yeah, you can lose 20 pounds for that wedding you have in two weeks if you want. But that would require starvation or some type of weird juice detox. And what will happen after those two weeks? You’ll most likely gain it all back plus more because those quick fixes aren't sustainable. We have all heard this before, but I’m going to say it again: You didn’t gain all that weight in two weeks, so how do you expect to lose it in two weeks?
I think a big reason for this dwindles down to the ‘why’. Why do you want to make a change? If your ‘why’ is because you want to lose 20 pounds for the wedding coming up, once you reach that goal you will revert back to old habits. And so the cycle continues. Your ‘why’ needs to be so deep and powerful that it motivates you every single day. Looking at the bigger picture can serve as consistent motivation. What is your bigger picture ‘why’? Reasons such as wanting to be happy in your own skin or wanting to get healthier so you can be active with your kids or wanting to live long enough to see your grandchildren get married are good examples of deep, meaningful motivation. I am not saying don’t set certain fitness or body composition goals because I believe those baby step goals are necessary in order to reflect on your progress, but having that bigger picture reason for being healthy is reassurance that this lifestyle is worth it.
Because our society is so focused on quick fixes, many often use a scale as a measurement of progress. If the number goes down, it’s working. If the number stays constant or goes up, something is wrong. That is so incredibly inaccurate, and I will give you a real example to explain why.
I started dialing in on my nutrition over two years ago. I began with a general nutrition program, then worked my way to a nutritionist, and now I adjust my nutrition on my own. Before I started my journey, I did a body composition analysis. Body composition machines are incredible tools to see where you’re at and figure out where you want to be. As you can see on the picture below, on my first reading on 12/15/16 I weighed 126.7 pounds and was 23.9% body fat. Following that, I did paleo for awhile which I spoke about in my second post. I want to focus more on the last three readings in the image. The one on 6/2/18 was before I started tracking my macros. I was 130.4 pounds, 22.8% body fat, and I had 56.0 pounds of skeletal muscle mass. A little over a month went by of hard work and discipline with my nutrition and I had gained weight. Fast forward a whole entire year-I gained seven pounds, but my skeletal muscle mass went up (which is good- it means I’m stronger!) and my body fat percentage went down. For individuals that have excess fat to lose, they will see the number on the scale go down, but for the others who have already lost that excess fat and are looking to gain muscle mass, the number will inevitably go up. It is true that muscle weighs more than fat.
I am solely sharing this to stress how your weight is one tiny measurement that does not define you. I’ll say it louder for the people in the back- Your weight does not define you! I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life, but I am also the fittest I have ever been. Most importantly, I have never felt this good before.
My weight going up was not a bad thing. I gained ten pounds in two years, but I look a lot better now than I did two years ago. Also notice how long it took to get where I am today. It took two years to go from 22.8% body fat to 19.1%, reiterating my first point- sustainable change takes time.
If I could give one piece of advice it would be go off of how you feel. You didn’t lose weight, but your energy levels are amazing, and your mood is consistent? Great! You didn’t lose weight, but you’re finally sleeping a quality 8 hours a night? Amazing! You didn’t lose weight, but you no longer have chronic pain? Incredible! Do you get my point? One little number does not define you and it certainly should not dissuade you from continuing down the path to a healthy life.