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“Weight loss”—the most common item on new year resolution lists, one of the most searched w0rds on google, and, undeniably, our favorite topic for teatime chitchat.
Millions of people across the globe are chasing their ideal body weight. I have personally been on the pursuit of the “weight loss” goal and have fortunately experienced success in this area.
So, I know for a fact, that a “weight loss journey” is much bigger than just burning calories and getting back in shape. It is about setting a personal life goal, chasing it with undistracted focus, building strategies to achieve it, and putting all your energy into it.
Even today, whenever I am faced with a new challenge, I look back at my weight loss journey and try to motivate myself with the lessons learnt during that time.
With the hope that my experience will also help you achieve your life goals, I am sharing my weight loss journey with you.
I started my job in 2011, and the end of student life also marked the end of my high metabolism. Within the first three years of having my job, I gained 16 kgs (35 lbs)—all thanks to my sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, and a newly developed taste for alcohol.
Initially, I was blind to the growing inches around my waist, and if one of my “shrinking” dresses raised any concern, I would brush it off by thinking, “A little weight gain after college is normal.” But what all these taut dresses couldn’t do was instead done by a “talking weighing scale” at Juhu beach! The machine screamed my weight, and the realization of gaining 16 kgs hit me like a bucket of cold water. I saw it on the scale, I heard it with all my friends, and I felt it in my heart.
I realized that I was way past the stage where the growing inches could be dismissed as baby fat and had already reached the unhealthy side of the bridge.
And this eye-opening awareness pushed me to my decision to lead a healthier life. In the next four months, I dedicated myself to clean eating, cardio, and yoga. The results showed, and I lost those 16 kgs. Though it sounds simple today, my success was built on small strategies I formed at different steps of the journey.
These strategies have become a “go-to guide” for me whenever I set a new goal for myself. I hope these will help you too:
1. Listen to yourself.
As simple as this sounds, most of us have forgotten to truly listen to ourselves. The noise of the city has engulfed our senses like a fire and we no longer pay attention to our feelings. Falling prey to the same noise, I also ignored all the signs that my body gave me in the first three years of weight gain:
>> Being breathless after climbing two levels of stairs was a sign of reduced stamina.
>> Frequent skin breakouts were a sign of nutrient deficiency.
>> Feelings of emptiness, even after finishing a full cheese pizza alone, was a sign of missing passion in my life.
During my weight loss journey, I started paying more attention to my body and soul. Trust me, nobody knows you better than yourself. If you pay enough attention, your body will tell when it is full, or when it needs a new adventure, or when to revisit an old hobby, and much more.
In Italy, there is a popular phrase: “Il dolce far niente.” It means, the blissfulness of doing nothing.
We all should practice this “far niente” as often as we can—away from our phones, TV, or any disruption—and spend time instead with ourselves doing what we love: cooking, gardening, painting, anything. When the outside noises are shut out, our inner voice becomes clearer.
2. Expectation mapping.
Whenever we venture out on a new journey, it not only affects us, but it also disturbs our dynamic with the people we love. Certainly, they are bound to react.
In my case, it was my friends complaining that I had stopped eating and drinking at the parties, my boyfriend grumbling every time I refused to go to our favorite pizza house, and my roommates rolling their eyes when I chose my evening walks over our gossip sessions!
These reactions are inevitable, and we should be prepared to manage their expectations from the beginning. A healthy discussion with them about our passion for our goal and their role in it will bring a lot of cooperation.
Whatever your goal is—quitting your job and starting a new business, learning a new skill, or losing weight—discuss it with your partner, friends, and family, and set clear expectations with them. It will always help in building a positive ecosystem for your goal.
After all, what’s the fun in a journey when the passengers are unhappy?
3. Overcoming self-doubt.
“Embrace change, even when the change slaps you in the face.” ~ Walter Breuning
Sulking and self-doubt are unavoidable mileposts of the journey toward any goal. I have spent hours feeling glum about not losing inches as fast as I thought I would. In fact, I remember feeling miserable every night before sleeping during the first week of my diet. At times, I used to doubt my ability to continue with the changed lifestyle and get back in shape.
But we always learn from our experiences. Today, whenever I have self-doubts, I know it is natural, and it means I am on the right path. The stomach rumbling, the heart-pounding, and the feelings of restlessness all are the signs of my new endeavour, and that’s great—I welcome them! If we continue forward from here without losing faith, we can achieve our goals.
4. Stop micro-measuring.
I want to believe that my goals are too gigantic to be measured through petty milestones!
While some people believe in dividing their goals into short-term outcomes and keep measuring success each tiny step, my experience on this differs.
After the first week of my diet (which, by the way, was the hardest) I was already feeling lighter and healthier. So, I thought to measure this success through the scale. When the needle refused to move from the previous weight, I could feel my heart sink 1,000 miles down.
I’d never felt so disappointed and heartbroken—and right then, I decided to break up with the scale and not see it for another month, which then turned into four months. Just like with any relationship, a little time apart was a healthy solution.
Instead, I started paying attention to changes in the way I felt—lighter after eating, refreshed after the cardio, and more energetic throughout the day. Remember, the body gives you signals.
To this day, I trust my feelings more than any machine to check if I am going down the right path.
So my advice is: “Keep your vision focused on the big picture, and let your heart show you the way.”
5. A secret key called “consistency.”
Weight loss, like most goals, is not a destination, but a journey. Even after reaching the magical number on the scale, one cannot go back to old habits. Today, though I am not as strict about my diet as I was during those four months, I am still observant of my feelings. I monitor my health regularly and take immediate actions if I feel tired or gloomy.
Similarly, to achieve and retain any amount of success in any field, we must be consistent on our journey.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has put it too well when he said: “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”
I hope these lessons will help you in the journey towards your goal! Let me know under the comment section—what are your personal strategies to stay focused?