Since nearly being put on a second medication for diabetes in December, 2014, I have been on a journey to better health. They say the hardest part of starting on any major journey is the first step. But when the motivation is high enough that first step is the easy part. The harder part is staying on course. I’m a member of a site called MyFitnessPal.com. It’s where I learned about calorie control. It’s where I became inspired to take running more seriously. I’m active on that site every day. It keeps me motivated.
On the MFP forums I often see posts from people who are ready to throw in the towel because the scale hasn’t moved for a week. Or two weeks. It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re not seeing results. I recently hit a plateau and I learned the value of patience. Even when the scale isn’t co-operating, you will still see results in other areas if you keep doing the right activities. My weight stayed the same for about a month. Seeing the scale stay the same day after day is tough. But I’m still losing inches. I’ve dropped from size 38 pants to 34 and even those have become loose. Then two weeks ago, after a long frustrating month, I dropped a pound. Then two days later, another. Then another. In fact I’ve now lost four pounds since my plateau came to an end. I guess sometimes your body has to catch up with itself. After losing nearly twenty pounds in a couple of months, my body needed time to drop any more.
Two things I frequently read on MyFitnessPal have helped me keep my calm and stay on course during my plateau.
Weight loss isn’t linear.
Meaning you aren’t necessarily going to lose weight in a steady and predictable way. Weight loss happens in fits and bursts. You may have to wait a week or two and then suddenly you might lose a few pounds in a short time.
You didn’t gain the weight overnight so you won’t lose it overnight, either.
We live in an increasingly instant results driven society these days. People simply don’t want to wait for anything any more. But some things can’t be rushed. Sure, you could jump on whatever the latest fad diet is and maybe lose a few pounds. But you’re more likely to gain most if not all of it back over time when that fad diet ends. Part of the problem is people tend to go on diets. Meaning they take steps to lose weight and then go back to their old habits when they’re satisfied.
But it’s those old habits that caused you to gain weight in the first place. So doesn’t it follow that returning to those ways will cause you to gain those lost pounds back?
Anyone can lose weight. But keeping it off requires a new mindset. You have to be prepared to make changes. You don’t have to cut anything out. Eating in moderation, eating within a certain calorie limit is often all it takes. If you can learn to do that then you have more chance to keep your waistline trim.
Getting active also helps. I had a good month in July. I ran my first 40 plus mile month. I average 3 to 3 and a half miles per run now. I did manage to run four miles for my best run. I’m a runner for life now. Getting off my diabetes medication is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. My fasting sugar is averaging in the 80’s, even in the 70’s some mornings!
If you’re struggling to lose weight don’t be a slave to the scale. While we all want to lose the pounds, just pay attention to how you feel. How your body looks in the mirror. How your clothes are fitting you. Those little non-scale victories are often sweeter and more rewarding than seeing you’ve lost another pound. My collar bone has become more prominent. My face is thinner. My legs are thinner, and they now have muscle definition. A few months ago I couldn’t run a block without being winded. Now I can run three to four miles and I’m not really out of breath. My heart rate after running is averaging between 150 beats per minute to 170. It used to be near 200.
It helps when your partner is on the journey with you. My wife was inspired by seeing my success and she also joined MyFitnessPal. She has lost several pounds and we go to the gym together. Having a support system makes a huge difference as we can motivate each other. She has a love / hate relationship with the Elliptical machine at the gym. She is doing great. She has already lost a few inches and is at her lightest in about thirteen years. She has lost a total of fifty pounds since her heaviest. We’ve both made a vow of never again to gaining so much weight. Losing weight and getting healthy together is a wonderful way to bring us closer together.
Bottom line, the scale isn’t the only indicator of weight loss. It’s the one we all obsess about the most. But getting into better health brings about all sorts of extra benefits. You’re on a journey. Savor every milestone of this journey. Celebrate every success, not just the pounds lost.