Guest Blogger Post:
Today I am so pleased to introduce DubyaWife to all of you. I met her last year at Fitbloggin’ and think she has such an amazing story to tell. Here is her guest post:
After many years of weight loss and blogging about it, many of my friends, acquaintances, and in the "internet" world some people consider me a "guru." (Me? of all people.) Please by all means, do not take that to mean I'm full of myself. I mean don't get me wrong, while I am very awesome (and completely humble about it.) Compared to the enormity of others I'm a tiny fish in a big pond (perhaps a puffer fish?). But nonetheless I'll have friends and e-mails come in from others asking advice and they usually all start the same way... (some slight variations)
I'm fed up with being fat. Starting tomorrow, I'm going on a diet and going to start exercising. I've heard cardio is the best thing to do and that I need to eat more fish. I want to lose about 50 pounds. What is your advice on the best way to lose weight?
And here's my usual response,
Though your e-mail is short, the content tells me a lot.
First and foremost, quit calling yourself fat. What that tells me is that you compare yourself to others, which is already part of the issue you probably have in becoming overweight. It sounds like you lack the most important part of being you - self-confidence. And trust me; you're going to need that on your weight loss journey. You're not fat - you just make unhealthy decisions. Just like many of us do. Quit the self-hate and try some self-love.
Next, I noticed you put "starting tomorrow" instead of "starting today" or "starting right now” That’s another thing you will need on your journey. Each moment, each day is an opportunity to better yourself physically and mentally. When you have a "poor choice moment" and find yourself halfway into the bag of Cheetos there will be a moment of decision-making: Do you keep going and finish off the bag? Well because, who cares at this point right? Already made a mistake.... Or do you have the courage enough to admit the defeat, but try for better by putting them away and learning a lesson? It seems like a small task to say "starting tomorrow I will” but you will need to come to the realization (or face guilt) that "Starting tomorrow" will be everyday, for the rest of your life. And that sometimes, "Starting tomorrow" won't be possible... and that sometimes - it's okay. There's a lesson in every success and failure.
You also went on to say the most hated word in the "health" community. Diet. I know that it is easier to say "diet" than to say "healthy eating" or "nationally balanced meal planning” (which essentially is what you will be doing) Diet implies an end-date - and healthy eating shouldn't ever end. Btw, eating fish everyday isn't going to get you skinny. But for the most part there is no one protein shake, there is no one book, there is no cure all for your physical state. Just as each person in the world is beautiful and unique, such is every journey. So I encourage you instead to not read one blog, one book or one magazine on health and fitness - read ALL of them. Because the better educated you are on the many many different methods of health and fitness the better prepared you are on your own journey. So "eat healthy" - yes. Diet - No.
As far as exercise goes, all I can say is - it's like any relationship. Some days you love it, some days you hate it, some days you don't know how you can live without it, and some days you want to choke it so hard its eyes will pop out of its head. On those first days/weeks of an exercise routine, it will feel forced. But hopefully you'll have that motivation to push you through. As the motivation wanes hopefully by then it will become a habit. And that habit will be like a drug that makes you feel better about yourself. On the days you run/swim/bike you will feel like the ruler of the universe, and on the days you skip/miss you will feel like a failure. Find the motivation and stick to it. And change things up every once and a while. You never know when you'll find something new and different that really excites you.
Cardio while an important facet of fitness is NOT the weight-loss savior. Cardiovascular exercise is one part of a multitude of fitness that is good for our body. Strength training and flexibility are just as important. Start off slow with just a few days per week (3-4) of 30 minutes or more of cardio (run/swim/bike). But as your fitness level increases you'll want to add in strength training. Lifting weights is NOT just for body builders. If you ONLY do cardio you won't gain muscle. Muscles are awesome and they look awesome. Just trust me on this one.
So you say you "want to lose 50 pounds" and that's an admirable goal. Now take it and throw it out the window! From now on, you want to lose 1 lb. That's it, just one. And after that one, you want to lose another pound and then another. And after about 50 weeks you'll look back and realize that you're ever closer to your 50 lbs. Don't focus on the big picture, take baby steps. Focus on that 1 lb. Visualize it. Make it happen.
So finally, to answer your question "What is my advice on the best way to lose weight?" My answer is, there isn't. There isn't ONE way or "the best way" to lose weight. And in fact I don't even recommend anyone trying to "lose weight." Shocked? What I mean by that, dear Nameless, is "the best way to lose weight" is to love yourself and not worry about losing weight. It sounds silly I know, but IMO, you're focused on the wrong thing.
You'll notice in my response I've used the word "journey" multiple times and there's a reason for that. Your goal is not weight loss, but instead a life style change. And any momentous change takes time, acceptance, and commitment. This is not a 3 month endeavor, but a lifelong endeavor - a journey. I'm still on mine. It sounds tough - and it is. Every day is tough, but every day is rewarding. Every day you need to commit to asking yourself, "What can I do today, right now, to be healthier?" And remember that you're not doing it for the weight, how you'll look, your partner, or for any other reason than for yourself. This is for you. This is your health. You are worthy of it, so go out and do it. I'll promise you this, Nameless. If you truly choose to be consistent, educate yourself, and focus on your physical self, you will find way more than weight loss. You will find self-confidence, courage, and best of all self-love.
Good luck to you,