Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Secret

One of my neighbors (who seems to know way too much about what's going on in my life, even though I try to avoid her...) commented on my weight loss the other day. Then she asked the question I get a lot, "What's your secret?" This question, well meaning though I'm sure it is, has become a slight pet peeve of mine. Why? Because there's no secret to being healthy. There's no magical combo to losing weight. It's pretty cut and dry.

What's my big secret? Uh, just that you have to burn more calories than you consume. That means exercising more, whether that means you are going to start putting in 20 or 30 minutes a day walking or if you already exercise and need to push yourself a little more or try new things. Some people are okay with that one. "Well, you run," someone recently said. As if because of that one thing my body changed; as if because they don't like that activity, the same results aren't possible.

There's more to it than exercise (for me anyway). I could exercise an hour a day, but if I don't watch my calorie intake, it's not going to do a bit of good. That was the hard part for me to commit to in the beginning. Counting calories. Not in a crazy obsessive way. But, you have to know what you're putting in your mouth and how it's going to affect your goal to lose weight. I've said before that when I started counting calories in the beginning I was SHOCKED to realize exactly how much more I was really consuming than I would have guessed. Know your numbers!

And that's it...Barring some kind of other health condition, if you keep your calories within the daily limit for your BMR and exercise, you should lose weight and become healthier and stronger. There's no magic pill. And, don't even get me started about the Taco Bell diet. Are you kidding me?? The commercial makes me angry when the spokeswoman says, "I wanted to lose weight but I wasn't going to give up fast food." Really? I'm not saying healthy people never eat takeout. But, I will say that when I realized how counterproductive it was to my goals, I started visiting those drive-thrus significantly less often than I did before.

Changing your life requires some sacrifice. You might have to give up your venti white mochas (with their mucho calories) for something a little less fattening. You might have to make ice cream an occasional treat instead of your constant evening companion. You might have to miss your favorite show or get up earlier than you want to because there's work to do at the gym. There are things you'll have to eliminate, things you'll have to reduce, things you'll have to increase, and things you'll have to do whether you like them or not (hello, strength training). But guess what, when I started seeing the results of skipping Sonic, limiting sweets, and upping my intake of veggies and fruit, it didn't feel like such a huge deprivation anymore.

Maybe exercise and food awareness aren't the only ingredients to losing weight...Maybe there's one more very important, but certainly not secret, ingredient. Call it what you will: commitment, will power, determination. You have to be ready and willing to put the work in. As I found in the months and years of "trying to lose weight," if you're only sorta trying, you'll probably only "sorta" lose weight.

Stop looking for quick fixes and silver bullets. Stop imagining that people who have been successful got there easily or by magic. They did the work. If you want what they have, you have to DO THE WORK.

And, here's where I'll step off my soap box...*sheepish grin* If nothing else, this was a good pep talk for my inner dialogue about why I should get to skip working out today because it's 4 degrees. The gym is heated after all!

1 comment:

  1. People constantly ask me the same thing. And I want to shake them :)

    When I tell them, "eat less, move more" they act offended. Like "ok, that may work for you, but its not that easy for everyone" WHAT?!?!