I'm a little disheartened and confused and I'm hoping you can help.
I am very overweight and due to my husband's cancer diagnosis, I decided to change my lifestyle for good in case my young children only have me down the track. It's shocked me into making the change. I need to be healthier. I have too much fat around my stomach area and I know it will become a problem as I age.
For about 5 weeks I've increased my exercise from almost nothing to 1.5 hour brisk walks three times a week, have drastically reduced my sugar intake (my drug of choice) and pasta/bread is minimal. I've increased the good fats in my diet and try to reach for more protein. I'm eating more vegetables and have fruit here and there. I'm not feeling hungry too often because I'm eating quite well. (I think anyway!)
I've lost 5kg in 5 weeks. To be honest, I feel like I've lost much more because I feel so good. Am I right in thinking that this is a good amount to be losing or should I be going at it harder? Any tips would be appreciated.
You are absolutely right that you need to be going slow and steady. As much as the media tries to tell you otherwise with “lose weight fast” schemes, they never work. I have been in this business a decade now, and the only people who experience lasting results are those that make the changes slowly. I know this can be frustrating because you want to see the results now, but patience is your best friend.
Here is something that you may not know. You have to keep upping the challenge. Walking and cutting out sugar is good now, but pretty soon that is not going to be enough anymore. Remember how you felt when you first started walking? And cutting out sugar? Probably pretty uncomfortable and your workouts were challenging. Five weeks in, I am thinking you are feeling great and finding it easy, right? Now it is time to pick it up again.
My clients constantly complain to me that it never gets easy, no matter how fit they are, which can cause them to second guess their progress. What they don’t know is that I just keep making it harder, because you have to continue to challenge and overload your body to keep seeing results. When my clients come in for their first workout, we usually get through ¼ of what we would get through in a workout a month later. But the workouts feel just as hard as when they started. They were working just as hard a month ago, but they are fitter now, so they can do more. It is all relative. If I was to only do a ¼ of a workout every time my clients came in, pretty soon our workouts would only take 15 minutes and the rest of the time we would just be standing around. Instead, each time they come in I up the ante, and push them harder and harder.
The only thing that should feel easier is your ability to get yourself uncomfortable. How many times have I said “You need to be comfortable at being uncomfortable”? When you find yourself on a slow and steady journey to changing your life, remember to continue to find workouts that push you. If you aren’t being challenged, you won’t see improvements – it’s that simple.
Keep up with the healthy eating, and keep chipping away at the weight while pushing yourself harder and harder. Rather than focusing on what the numbers say on the scale, focus on how amazing you feel each time you reach a new benchmark in your fitness. Those are the little things that will continue to keep you motivated.