8 Things I’ve Learned About Weight Loss This Winter
My Journey Journal Week 11
Hello and happy Spring! I can’t believe it’s already time for the seasons to change. I started my weight loss journey right at the beginning of winter, and so much has changed for me in the past four months. I honestly feel like a stronger and better version of myself! This week, let’s look at what I’ve learned these past three months about losing weight and lifestyle change. Here are 8 things I’ve learned about weight loss this winter:
Starting New Things is Hard
Getting started in anything is incredibly hard, sometimes to the point where it becomes overwhelming. That does not mean that stopping early when it gets hard is an option, however. The first day I worked with my personal trainer was terrifying. I felt ridiculous picking up Zumba again. Counting calories and macros made my head spin. Figuring out a new fitness routine by myself this month stressed me out to no end.
But you know what? I did it. I got all of those things that where stressful and scary and overwhelming to work out, and I am a better person because of all of it. And, I’m 26 pounds less than I was back when I started all of this because I stuck with my plans. So if starting something new feels overwhelming right now, stay with it. Keep at it. It will be more than worth it later.
Creating Routines is the Key to Success
Back in December, I floundered a lot. I was trying 7 different things with no real plan, and just ended up running around in circles. But once I started solidifying routines (going to the gym at 11 AM every day, journaling right after I woke up in the morning, etc.), things started taking off and heading in a positive direction.
So don’t wait an entire month like I did, go ahead and set up some solid routines that you can do every day, and whatever you’re trying to do will start getting done. The magic is in the routine!
Your Body Will Change in Weird Ways
Within 6 weeks of working out five days a week, I dropped a shoe size. Then, a shirt size. Then a dress size. I’m getting more toned, but I look a lot different than I thought I would when I started this. My body is changing, and that’s okay. But definitely be prepared for needing new things that you didn’t think you’d need (like new shoes. I’m never going to get over that one, sorry!).
You Will Grow to Like New Foods
If you told me three months ago that I was going to drink two glasses of milk every day by this spring, I would have laughed hysterically in your face. I’ve never been a milk drinker (be it cow, goat, almond, or cashew milk), and basically had no tolerance for it. But you know what? I drink it with my morning protein shake now and have it as a treat (yeah, a TREAT too) at night. And you know what else? Milk isn’t the only food that this has happened with. Spinach, broccoli, protein powder, and mashed potatoes also fall are new to my “favorite foods” list.
You Will Stop Liking Other Foods
Let me tell you: before I started really focusing on what I was putting into my body, my eating was baaad. Like fast food and restaurant food all the time bad. Yesterday, I went to a restaurant with my family and looked at what I used to order twice a week up in my calorie counter. The meal was almost 2000 calories by itself. WHAT. I ordered a slightly healthier (but still very unhealthy –it was my cheat day) version of it, and realized that I just didn’t like that sort of food anymore. I just felt bad between the sugar from the milkshake, the salt from the fries, and the fat from the burger. It didn’t taste good to me anymore.
That’s a common occurrence for me these days. Half of the food that I liked last summer just sounds bad to me now. I’d rather have some grilled chicken and a side salad than a burger and fries. It is what it is.
Progress Comes with Persistence
There have definitely been some weeks where I’ve stayed the same weight. I felt very discouraged at this the first couple of times that it happened. But the thing is, whenever my mini-plateaus have gone away, I lose double the weight that next week. It all evens out anyways.
Also, since I was a freshmen in college, I’ve always wanted to be able to hold a 2-minute plank. Whenever I tried (which was on-and-off for five years) I would get so discouraged that I could only keep my body up for a minute or so at a time. Well, this month, I decided to focus on my abs more than ever before, and what do you know: last Friday I held that plank for more than two minutes.
Sticking with your goals and being persistent through thick-and-thin are the two best ways to making sure you get what you want. I wanted to hold a plank for two minutes, so I worked on it until I could.
Strength Training is Important
When I first re-joined the gym last summer, I was really hoping to just stick to cardio and be able to lose all of the weight that I wanted. That did not happen. Then, as I progressed and got a personal trainer, it became even more apparent just how important strength training was.
Strength training makes it so that your body is working hard and burning more calories when you are not working out. It helps you preserve your lean muscle mass as well. Definitely do NOT neglect adding strength training to your workout.
Taking Care of Your Mind is Just as Important as Taking Care of Your Body Is
Your mind is in charge of your body. Think of it like this: if your body was the best car in the entire world, it would still need a great driver to make sure that it didn’t crash. Taking care of the “driver” of your body leads to your body working more effectively and efficiently. You need to spend ample time taking care of your mind, so that you can crush your physical goals.
That’s why I started journaling during the day and meditating at night. That’s why my body suffered two weeks ago when my work/life balance got all out of wack. People tend to neglect their mental health in hopes that it will fix itself alongside the weight loss, but that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned this winter: it won’t. You yourself have to work on your mental health ALONGSIDE your physical health to create that huge lifestyle change you want, if you want that change to stick around. There’s simply no other way.
Those are eight things that I’ve learned thus far on my health and fitness journey. I am so excited to see how I will learn and grow while continuing this journey into the spring and summer. It’s been a roller coaster so far, but I’ve always loved amusement parks anyways.
This is a little bit of a different format than my other My Journey Journal posts. Let me know if you like the new format in the comments below. Also, if you missed my last week’s (er, sort of. Oops!) post, be sure to check it out here.
Until next week!