Fools Fighting Fat
In Reply to:
Anyone Here who has Lost a lot?

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By SpeleoFool
August 5, 2002

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I lost 50lbs in ~8 months following Body-For-Life. While I, of course, would recommend this program highly, I think that choosing & following a program is much less important than your attitude & commitment. Below are some of the things I credit for my success:

1. Recognize That Losing Weight Takes Time
This is something that I think most people are willing to say but many have a hard time actually believing. Trying to shed lbs is a daunting task, to say the least, and I think most of us would be happy to get it over with as soon as possible. We'd like to see results--quick, measurable feedback that says we're not working hard for nothing. We've been conditioned to expect quick fixes, and as such it's hard to stay patient with something as slow and tedious as weight loss.

The truth is, fighting fat is a process. Every time I got obsessed with how quickly I was losing (or not losing) in the past, I fell off the wagon. Don't get sucked into that trap. What really matters is that each step gets you closer to the end result you want. Every bit of work puts you a bit closer to your goal. If you discover along the way that it takes more work than you thought it would, well, then it takes more work. If it takes you 2 years to lose the weight you want to lose, well, then that's how long it takes. Quitting only makes it take longer.

2. You Can't Fit Diet & Exercise Into Your Life
Another mistake I made time & time again was trying to find ways to do all the things I wanted to do & still have time for exercise. Similarly, I'd do really well at eating healthy food until I had a late evening at work & there was "no time" to fix a proper meal.

This time around, I really made diet & exercise a priority--I rearranged my life around having time to exercise and having a variety of healthy foods available to eat. It took time and planning to figure out what to do & then put everything in place. I had to get myself used to waking up early in the morning so I'd have time to work out--that meant going to bed early, even when I wasn't quite tired yet, and skipping out on the evening news / Jay Leno / whatever. I also had to totally restock my kitchen & cupboards, which I did by eating up old "junky" foods & gradually replacing them with better options. I also spent a fair amount of time seeking out new recipes for dinners, ideas for quick meals, lunches I could pack up for work. It took a lot of planning & preparation, but once it was in place it was much, much easier to stay on track.

3. You Have To Want It Bad Enough to Fail
This, bar none, is the hardest part of losing weight. It is so easy to get frustrated, to tell yourself you're not good enough, or it's not worth it. The excuses are limitless, and so very tempting. You have to be ready to face those excuses, to see them for what they really are, to expect them and to promise yourself you will work past them.

Consider a runner jumping hurdles. If she hits one, she keeps running. If she gets tangled in one and hits the ground, she will get up and keep running if she's able. If she's not, she'll walk her lap to the cheers of the crowd of onlookers. How many times have you seen a runner trip over a hurdle only to give up and walk away?

It's the same with weight loss. There will be tough times. Stuff happens--we all know that. You just need to realize that missing a workout or eating a pint of ice cream does not mean failure. It's just a hurdle, and everyone has hurdles. There's no reason at all that you can't bounce right back from something like that. The only thing that holds you back is guilt, which is nothing more than an excuse and an anchor on your success. Listen to your heart and let it go.

There is a difference between failure and giving up. Failure means you have no options left. Giving up means you've decided to quit trying. You have to be ready to keep trying until you have no options left.

Of course not being ready to make that kind of commitment is OK, too. It doesn't make you less of a person. Just be honest to yourself--either you're ready & willing to take on this goal & give it everything you've got, or you're not. If you're not ready, kick that guilt to the curb. You deserve to feel good about being honest with yourself, not bad for not being ready to change your whole life. There's no rule that says you can't be ready later, and there's no rule that says you need to be ready ever. Live your life & be happy with you.

4. You Owe Yourself Your Best Effort, But No More
In other words, go out there & see what you can do. Don't get hung up on what anyone else can do or what someone else might expect of you. You can only do as well as you can do. That's not a bad thing--it's just a fact. And there's no way to know how well you can do without trying to do your absolute best.

I didn't care how fast I could lose weight, how fit I could get, or how perfectly I could stick to my plan. I knew some people would do better than I would at losing weight, and I figured I'd probably do better than others. What really mattered, though, was could I give it my all? Could I look back at what I did and think: "Speleo, you put in an effort worthy of pride--you were true to yourself and stuck with your plan to the end"?

Compete against yourself. Just see what you can do, and then try to think up ways to improve. If you're doing everything you know to do and can't find any more ways to improve, then you're doing perfectly. There's no thrill quite like surprising yourself by doing something you didn't know you could do, and I guarantee you have the capacity to surprise yourself.

5. Hard Work is a Good Thing
I think one of my biggest fears with losing weight before was that I'd end up working really hard for nothing. What I've come to realize is that working hard is, in itself, something. It makes me feel more alive. Which brings me to...

6. If You Don't Have Your Health, What Do You Have?
I thought a lot about that old clich�: "At least you have your health." I imagined an old man who had just lost his house, his livelihood, and his loved ones. That line always sounded so cruel and empty before, as though you should still be happy if left with "nothing."

Then I thought about it again. I may have a bunch of nice stuff, a house, and a wonderful wife, but the one thing I will always have is me. My body is the vehicle I get around in, and I can't just trade it in for a new one. Being overweight made it difficult to move around--I'd run out of breath on the stairs for example--and it posed a risk to my future health. Worst of all, being overweight & out of shape was something I could fix but I wasn't doing it. I was more concerned with paying down debt, saving for retirement, affording some nice things, going on vacations, etc. What good would any of these things do me if I weren't well enough to enjoy them?

Anyway, that's one thing I thought about that got me to rethink my priorities & ultimately commit to losing weight. Now that I have, I'm looking forward to those other things in a whole new way. :)


I realize that was a lot, but I have thought a whole lot about this subject in the last year. If anything would make me feel better than succeeding in my goal it would be providing a path for someone else to succeed in theirs. I sure hope my thoughts will help someone to make that promise to him/herself.


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