Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I was just posting a thank you to another members page and it occurred to me that this weight loss journey has not been as difficult as I expected it would be back at the outset.
I've tried to lose weight before and have lost and gained it back, twice. The second time it was on SP but both times it was due to injuries flaring up because I over did things. If you try to do too much too soon you risk breaking yourself and ending back at square one. I thought I had to thrash myself so I did until my body gave out and i failed. Once you fail it's hard not to blame yourself or make excuses.
I decided to take it easy this time. I haven't been lifting weights or doing anything strenuous. I've simply been eating right and walking on my treadmill. So far I have had consistent weight loss with zero health issues. I think that is the key.
Only a few of my friends have ever known me as anything other than fat. And that was so long ago I'm sure they barely remember. They are all amazed that I look completely different which is great for keeping my motivation to succeed high. But they are even more amazed at how little I've had to do to get to this point. They assume I'm shelling out big buck on some flash program and spending hours slaving away at various exercises. This belief seems to be pretty universal and when I think back to my failed weight loss attempts I realise I once used to share it. I think these assumptions are what keep people from trying to lose weight. "I just don't have the time or money for that", sounds like a justifiable excuse.
When I tell my friends that I simply eat right and go for a walk they all look at me like I've just claimed fish can play the violin. I explain that tracking food is 95% of the "work", and thanks to SP it is super easy. The 3 hours a week I walk on the treadmill is barely worth mentioning. It's one step above "couch potato" on the lifestyle ladder.
I think society and marketing have convinced everyone that they need to spend their entire lives at the gym if they want to lose weight. I know not everyone has a treadmill, they can be bulky and expensive. I only have one because I didn't want to risk suffering an injury flare up 5 miles from home. (Pessimistic much?) If I didn't have it I'd just walk around my neighbourhood. It's just walking after all, whether on a treadmill or not.
Another concern is food. We are all told that healthy food is expensive. And it can be. But my wife an I spend less on food now because we simply don't eat as much. Our shopping trolley has less in it each week but we feel better fed than ever. We tend to graze all day rather than eat meals. I'm also baking a lot which gives us healthy treats for far less cost than the store bought equivalent. I can bake 12 fruit muffins for the cost of one store bought muffin! As our attitude towards food has changed we can always find something in the cupboard to eat. Before if there wasn't some tasty processed treat available we'd claim there was nothing to eat and we go buy something.
Even though I'm planning to lose more weight I will soon be looking at building muscle. This will mean weights, but this I will be taking slow and easy also. I don't want to aggravate my old injuries and end up out of action. I don't consider this part of my weight loss journey. The desire to build up some muscle is secondary to losing weight. I can live without bulging muscles, but I refuse to live with a bulging waistline.
Luckily I have a weight bench and weights and the room to keep them in. I know a lot of people may not be able to afford the floor space or the cost or the option of using a gym. But just like the treadmill, you don't NEED weights to be healthy. If you are not planning on becoming a body builder there are plenty of exercises you can do around the house to help sculpt and maintain your physique. The internet, including SP, is full of good advice on weight-free exercises.
So contrary to what we may all be told:
DON'T tell yourself that you can't lose weight because you can't afford to join a pay-as-you-go weight loss program.
DON'T tell yourself that you can't change your eating habits because good food is just too costly.
DON'T tell yourself you can't get fit because you can't afford a gym membership, or workout equipment.
Chose instead to say, "Hey, I CAN lose weight because I don't need to worry about gym membership, paid programs or food costs"
I wish everyone success and happiness in their weight loss and healthy lifestyle endeavours!
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*Disclaimer: If you have a gym membership or are on a paid program, good on you. Stick with it, make it work for you to ensure you get a return on your investment. If it works for you then I am happy for you. I've spent money in the past to lose weight, (the weights and treadmill were not free!). But they were paid for long ago and this time around I have lost nearly 1kg a week without spending a dime and with minimal changes to my lifestyle.
I wrote this post because I don't want people using gyms, programs, food or money as a personal roadblocks to stop them trying to lose weight.
I'm nearly 40, I have a bad back and busted knee. I'm pessimistic and have suffered from depression. I'm self employed so my wages are sporadic. I've tried, I've failed. If I can lose weight as a busted, broke, grumpy old bastard by simply using Spark People and a scraping together a little determination to better myself then so can anyone.
Don't let society tell you it will be hard. It's not hard.
Yes, I've broken a sweat. Yes, I've been hungry at times. But these are not hard things.
Hard is looking in the mirror and seeing a fatty looking back.
Hard is failing to find clothes in your wardrobe that you can still fit.
Hard is not being able to live the life you want because you are over weight.
Hard is knowing you might drop dead because of the extra stress on your heart.
Hard is knowing people don't take you seriously because of your weight.
Hard is worrying that you are teaching you children how to live unhealthy lives.
Hard is staying overweight! It might be easy to do but it's hard to live with.
Losing. Weight. Is. Not. HARD.
Say it. Believe it. Do it.