Losing weight isn’t easy, and I’m sure if it were, you wouldn’t be on my site right now. During my 50-pound weight loss, I’ve learned many things I wish I’d known when I first started out. Things that would have made my weight loss journey painless and less complicated if I’d known them. Here’s a list of what I wish I’d known before losing weight.
1. Meal Prep for Weight Loss Success
Having healthy food options prepared beforehand is important-and not just for saving money on food. Sticking to a healthy eating plan is tough if you’re always eating out or preparing every meal on the spot. Save time and money by making sure you meal prep and never let your fridge get low on healthy food options. Making healthy eating easier will help you stick to your plan long-term.
2. Before Losing Weight, I Tried to Be Perfect
Perfection is an unreachable goal, even more so if you’re trying to lose weight. Trying to be perfect with your eating and exercise will not only drive you mad, but it’ll also make your body start fighting your weight loss. The human body can’t thrive on 1200 calories a day, so there’s no need to make yourself miserable for the sake of losing weight faster. Especially if your body ends up fighting you every step of the way.
What you eat doesn’t just affect your physical wellness, but your mental and social wellness, too. It’s totally fine to say no to food that’s being offered to you (I do it all the time). However, if you’re always saying no, you may miss out on the joy of eating the foods you love or the connections made over a night out.
Don’t feel like you’ve failed because you ate some cake at the birthday party you were invited to. Be glad that you got to enjoy the party (and the delicious cake), then get right back to eating healthily. I’ve learned moderation is the ultimate key to weight loss success.
3. Expect Relationship Issues After Weight Loss
When I say “relationship issues,” I don’t necessarily mean you’ll be fighting with your significant other (although this can happen). I had relationship issues after weight loss, but they were all friends and family. I’ve had to change who I spend my time with due to conflicting interests. Unfortunately, some people take this personally.
I no longer keep around people who are always dieting or reminding me of my old, disordered eating thoughts. I don’t want to spend time around someone who makes me feel guilty about enjoying that birthday cake. Also, I limit the time I spend with people who always want to eat out and have no intention of creating a healthy lifestyle for themselves.
Remember, you’re a product of the company you keep. Spend your time with friends who are happy to share the same goals as you. Contrarily, limit the time you spend with people who would rather see you give up. You may offend some people, but honestly, you shouldn’t have to defend your choice to be healthy. Do what’s best for you.
4. Stressing the First Day of a Weight Loss Journey
For over a decade, I’ve been trying (and failing) to lose weight. Each time I tried, I’d make a crazy elaborate plan that I was going to start on a specific day and perfectly execute. Then, if it didn’t go as planned, I’d quit, eat everything in sight, and tell myself I’ll start another day.
The first day of a weight loss journey doesn’t need to go exactly to plan: it just needs to happen. Understand that you WILL make mistakes and what matters most is you don’t quit. Just get started and figure out the rest as you progress. You’ll be amazed at how far those days filled with mistakes will take you.
In my post, How People React When You Lose Weight, I talk about the many ignorant comments I now deal with since losing weight. Honestly, people asking if I live off salads or telling me I looked fine before is starting to get a little old. It seems once you lose weight, your body is now an open subject on any occasion.
The worst comments are the ones where people tell you how much better you look now. I think the fact this even comes to people’s minds says a lot about our society and obsession with thinness. First of all, it seems like they’re saying I was ugly before. Secondly, I could have lost weight because I have a serious illness. Lastly, I didn’t lose weight to look good and don’t understand why that’s important.
6. You May Still Not Like Your Body
Chances are, if you hated your body when it was heavier, you won’t magically love it when you’re thin. Sadly, poor body image isn’t something that changing your physical appearance can fix. Especially if losing weight makes you notice new things to dislike or creates problems like loose skin.
How you view yourself is a mental state. If you’ve spent your life hating your body, then you’ll likely need to do some extra work to love it and accept it unconditionally. At some point, you’ll need to choose to accept your body the way it is or spend a lifetime stressing over it. This is why I recommend improving the most important things but finding peace with the rest.
7. Love Your Body Before Losing Weight
To add to this, you should learn to love your body THROUGH your weight loss journey instead of waiting until you reach your goal. Be patient with your body, and forgive it when it doesn’t look or feel the way you want it to. If you need help learning to love your body for all it can do, I advise you to take my thank your body writing challenge. It’s very eye-opening!
If you need more expert help healing your relationship with your body, I have an excellent recommendation! Befriending Your Body by Ann Saffi Biasetti is a book written to help readers reconnect with their bodies. It graciously teaches you to have compassion for yourself, pay attention to your thoughts, and heal from the inside out.
Befriending Your Body gives you the power to discover who you really are and opens the door to healthy self-improvement. It also offers many simple practices using guided meditation, yoga, and journaling. If you want to learn more about the book, I wrote a complete review of it here.
Click below for quick links to the book!
8. Ride Out the Weight Loss Plateaus
Hitting a plateau when trying to lose weight is never a fun time. It’s one of the main reasons people feel defeated and give up. However, weight loss isn’t as linear as people think it is. You can still be losing fat even though your weight isn’t budging. Things like muscle gain, having your period, loss of sleep, stress, and even salt intake can make your body retain water (not fat) and appear heavier.
One thing I noticed is if my weight doesn’t budge for a couple of weeks, but I wait it out, my body will “catch up” and lose a lot all at once. This happened a few times during my weight loss journey and can be explained simply as the body holding onto water. When you burn fat, it becomes water and carbon dioxide. You breathe out the CO2, but the water can be retained for a while.
So, I recommend ignoring the scale when plateaus happen and checking in every week or two. You may find you peed out all the weight one week and caught up to where you should have been. Until then, it’s best to look at the other small victories you’ve had, like having more energy or maybe lowering your blood pressure!
9. Before Losing Weight, Take a Snapshot
The greatest motivation is being able to look back and see how far you’ve come. Making sure you take pictures of yourself at your heaviest (along with measurements if you like) will give you proof of your progress. When I started documenting my weight loss transformation on this blog, I was already down 14 pounds, with no proof! I wish I had taken a picture when I had the chance.
10. Don’t Forget Non-Scale Victories
Since we’re talking about motivation, I’d like to point out what I found to be the greatest way to stay on track. Setting non-scale victories or smaller goals along the way will give you little achievements to look forward to. These smaller, non-scale goals can be anything from fitting into an old pair of pants, sleeping better, or doing your favorite workout without getting winded.
11. Prepare for Terrible, Unsolicited Diet Advice
You won’t be able to avoid it, so prepare for it now. Most people have some sort of restrictive diet in mind when they think of weight loss and have no trouble telling you about it. Whether it’s intermittent fasting, low-carb, or something crazier like a liquid diet, you’ll hear all about it.
I try my best to inform people that I still eat anything I want, just in moderation. Honestly, I hope some of them see my results and realize food restrictions are harmful and unnecessary. I’ve had many people ask me what my secret was, and they seemed pretty disappointed in the answer. People truly want some crazy, out-of-this-world diet to exist and be the magic pill they never tried.
12. Exercise Throughout Your Weight Loss Journey
Although exercise isn’t necessary for weight loss, I highly recommend you get active while losing weight. Honestly, I recommend getting active no matter what you’re doing with your life. Exercise is great for many things, such as improving bone density, sleep, and mental wellness.
Also, resistance training helps speed up your metabolism, which the body will try to slow down during weight loss. This will help keep you from hitting a dreaded weight loss plateau. Just make sure you’re eating enough for the amount of activity you do in a day.
13. You’ll Be Changing Your Wardrobe. A LOT
I probably don’t need to mention as you lose weight, you fit into smaller clothes (no duh). But as you slowly make it through your weight loss journey, you realize you have to change your wardrobe unusually often. Yes, I continued wearing my t-shirts no matter what size I was, but underwear and pants had to change about every 15-20 pounds.
For someone with a significant amount of weight to lose, this means frequent trips to cheap clothing stores. You’ll be buying clothes that fit now, only to have them be too loose in a couple of months. My recommendation: buy what you can at thrift stores and donate them when they no longer fit.
If you’re interested in how much clothing changes during weight loss, click through my clothing transformation post!
14. Before Losing Weight, Follow People Who Motivate You
If you’re spending time on social media, make sure you follow accounts that inspire you to reach your goals safely. Ditch the “thinspo” and Instagram models and follow people who have been through what you’re doing right now. The people who are honest about the difficulties of losing weight and keeping it off are also the ones happy to cheer you on!
15. Journal Throughout Your Weight Loss Journey
I learned before starting this blog that journaling each day is a great way to stay goal-oriented. Journaling helps you straighten out your thoughts and gives you the opportunity to remind yourself of your goals. An added bonus is it can help reduce stress, letting you vent out your anger by putting it into words. I would never have learned to understand why I binge eat without it and consider it one of the keys to my weight loss success.
Journaling doesn’t require much time or effort. Simply download a free journal app onto your computer (I use Journaley) and write what’s on your mind. I get writer’s block at the start, so I end up writing about what I did that day until my feelings start to pour out. I found journaling more effective than meditation, so I suggest you try it!
What I Wish I’d Known Before Losing Weight: Takeaway
As you can see, there are many things I wish I’d known before losing weight. Regardless, I still put in the effort and found results. I hope anyone looking to start their own journey reads this and is better prepared for success. Prepare for loss of motivation, loving your body throughout your journey, and possible relationship issues after weight loss.
Most importantly, from the first day of a weight loss journey until the end, don’t worry about being perfect. My journey wasn’t perfect and is still ongoing, but accepting that it won’t be easy or perfect led to my success. I did it, and I know you can too!
How about you? Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your weight loss journey? Share what you’ve learned in the comments!
That’s it for now everyone. If you’ve found some value in this post, please share it to inspire others too! Thanks!
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