What I’ve learned on my journey

Today is my birthday. I’m 38 years old today, and I just realized that it’s been almost exactly 2 and a half years (30 months) since I started my weight loss journey, and it’s now been 6 months since I reached my “goal” weight. I considered this a fitting time for a little reflection into what I learned during my journey.

1) The journey is the destination

As cliche as it sounds, the journey really doesn’t end. Just like a nicotine addict who never really gets over the addiction to cigarettes, food addiction is real and it’s an ongoing struggle. Weight loss is about having the emotional, mental, and physical tools that you need to win the battles every day and overcome the addiction again, and again, and again. Yes, it gets easier with time, but the pizza will always look tempting, the donuts will always call to you, and the gym will never be as fun as it looks in TV commercials.

2) The 4 secrets to weight loss are: routine, planning, routine, and planning.

That’s it.  Incorporating healthy habits into your routine is the key to doing healthy things (even if they’re not enjoyable), and planning ahead is the key to making sure you have what you need to succeed when things get tough. Always know what you’re going to eat, and when and what you’re going to accomplish, and when before your day starts. Don’t deviate from that plan unless it’s an emergency — and even if you DO deviate, have a BACKUP plan!

3) Don’t take weight loss advice from fat people

Don’t buy products from them. Don’t listen to them. Don’t talk to them about your journey. They will only steer you in the wrong direction.  The only people you should listen to are people who ultimately already look the way that you WANT to look. If your goal is to run a marathon, don’t listen to anyone who doesn’t run marathons.  If your goal is to lose weight, don’t listen to anyone who hasn’t lost a lot of weight!  If they haven’t “been there, done that”, do not take advice from them.

4) Don’t waste your money on weight-loss products

There is no shortage of companies and people out there willing to sell you “quick-fix” products to help you lose weight.  Powders with super-food formulas, pills that promise quick results, workout routines on DVD that promise you’ll have ripped abs… You don’t need ANY OF IT!  YouTube has zillions of free (amazing) workout videos, the only “powders” you should be buying can be acquired from the grocery store, and for heavens sake, stay away from weight loss drugs and pills. None of it will help you over the long run, and the people who get involved in that stuff end up putting the weight back on, and then some.  (And my experience is that most of the people peddling these products are overweight.. See previous paragraph).

5) It’s worth it.

Oh man.. is it ever worth it. It’s incredibly difficult. The journey is TOUGH, and there are days you’ll want to just jump off a cliff.  But at the end — there’s nothing more rewarding than looking in the mirror and LIKING the body you see on the other end. LIKING the way you look. Feeling CONFIDENT in a swimsuit. It’s awesome. It’s worth it. It’s even better than you imagine!   And when people say “I want to lose weight, but I’m not willing to give up ________ (favorite food)”, just know that you never have to give anything up completely, forever. I still eat donuts occasionally, I still eat pizza occasionally, but now I eat them in moderation. And you know what else?  If I had to give up donuts, pizza, bread, cheese, cookies, ice cream, or anything else forever more — it’d STILL be worth it.