How to Start Losing Weight When You’re Sick and Tired: 3 Tips to Get Started
Losing weight is not easy. Even for those who seem to lose weight at a much faster rate than the rest of us, it’s still not easy. You have to make a lot of decisions every day, and when you’re trying to get healthy, those decisions require further consideration. So where does one even begin?
I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight. ALWAYS. Like pre-teen years. Both my brother and I have had our issues with food and weight. It all started when our parents would take us to our grandparent's house in Maryland where we were free to consume as much Cherry Coke, bacon, eggs, etc. as one’s heart would desire. At the time, my brother was about 8 and I was 10. YIKES.
In high school, the majority of my friends ate fast food daily and did not workout aside from what their sports of choice required of them. Meanwhile, I was getting up at 5:30 am to do Tae Bo followed by a Slim Fast shake, eating food with Olean in it, and taking Xenadrine. That’s what I had to do to even lose the littlest bit of weight and keep it off.
Flash forward to 2015… At this point, I’ve been diagnosed with the following conditions which explain to some degree WHY it’s so hard to lose and maintain my weight:
Then I get injured and have to have reconstructive surgery on my left knee. I end up having complications (blood clots) that put me out of the gym for a while. As a result, I gain about 15 pounds making me 165 pounds(for reference, I’m about 5'6").
I want to be clear about something…
There is nothing wrong with weighing 165 pounds. Or 143. Or whatever your weight is right now. Weight is NOT a measure of your worth.
What was difficult for me is that I was actively trying to lose weight and somehow gaining it. I don’t think it hit me that I’d gained weight until a male coworker called me “flabby.” For the record: this is and was highly inappropriate. No one should be making comments like that to you. Period.
On top of everything else, I was about to be in my friend’s wedding and was not sure if I was going to fit in my bridesmaid’s dress. Spoiler alert: That bitch barely zipped up.
There’s a lot to my weight loss journey, but today I want to focus on the first step. What can you do to get started right now?
#1: Accept where you are and be honest about how you got there.
How did I get here? That is a very important question to ask yourself, and more importantly, answer honestly. When I got up to 165 pounds again, there were a few things at play. My internal operation (thyroid, etc) was making weight loss and maintenance difficult, but I also wasn’t helping the cause. I had surgery and was recovering, so I couldn’t work out like I had in the past. Fine. But my eating was shit. And up until I took this picture, I did not want to admit that I wasn’t doing the best that I could to eat better.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people who complain about things but do nothing to improve them. This can be attributed to a lack of disciple and/or a lack of honesty. Your current behavior is what got you here, so continuing that behavior is going to keep you there.
You can’t expect to lose weight and drink an entire bottle of wine every night. You can’t expect to lose weight and not pay attention to how much you’re eating.
The list goes on.
All that to say, change is not going to happen until YOU accept that YOUR behavior needs to change. You have to be honest with yourself.
#2: Document where you are.
I know that this sounds painful and potentially upsetting, but it’s very much a part of accepting that this is where you are right now. You can look at my face in those pictures from 2015 and tell that I look sad as hell. Nonetheless, 5 years later I am so glad that I have those pictures to look back on.
Take your picture in your underwear, shorts, etc. Take measurements. Weigh yourself. Write it all down somewhere.
Weight is not the end all-be all, and you’ll want to have data to help measure your success. It might feel uncomfortable to do the tasks outlined above, but it will help you take that first step.
#3: Ask for help.
This advice has two parts to it: 1. Ask for help from a paid professional; 2. Ask your loved ones for help in supporting your goals.
Up until January 2019, I had never sought out help from anyone to lose weight. I have a background in exercise science and health education that included basic nutritional education, so why would I need help?
Looking back, I wish I would’ve found someone like Kasey (my former nutrition coach) long ago. This lesson of asking for help applies to every facet of life — not just getting healthy and losing weight. Having a coach provided me with accountability, support, and education.
Getting a coach is not feasible for everyone. I am privileged to be able to afford one and understand that’s not something everyone can do. There are other services out there that are more affordable that might be a good place to start if you haven’t yet tried them, such as Noom and Weight Watchers.
Regardless, you will need the support of loved ones to be successful in getting healthy.
This comes in a lot of forms, some more direct than others. Here are some examples of what a supportive loved one can do to help you be successful:
Example #1: My partner helps me plan healthy dinners.
Example #2: My friend and I go for a walk/hike/bike ride as a means of spending time together.
Example #3: When I am feeling down and ready to give up, my loved one reminds me of my goals.
To be clear — this doesn’t mean that having fun is cancelled. This is about creating behavior change and making your loved ones part of it.
On the flip side, these are some examples of behavior that are not supportive:
Example #1: Making a big deal because you are ordering something healthy and they’re not.
Example #2: Chastising you for anything that relates to your goals to lose weight and be healthy.
This is not an exhaustive list, but I think you get the picture.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I hope my journey can be helpful to you as you try to make changes. One thing that I want to close with is to not overwhelm yourself. Trying to do too much at once is not a good setup for success. Start with one small thing. Conquer it. Move on to the next.
More to come…In the meantime, check out my blog: www.jamiepittman.com