A few years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was at an uncomfortable weight, working full-time but not seeing the results I wanted. As a businessman, I was faced with a stark choice: to let things slide, or take action and make some sacrifices. Luckily for me, I chose the right path and made some major changes. Here’s the blueprint.
Lose The Bloat
No one likes to feel bloated, and for some people, that feeling comes with specific consequences. For example, people with a bloating issue know that when their stomach is bloated, it presses against their backbone and it’s really difficult to get comfy. This makes them less effective at their job, and it also prevents them from having a good time, because they’re not comfortable in their own skin. Let’s face it, no one likes to look or feel bad, especially when there’s so much pressure to be thin. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Now, normally, I would’ve taken the easy route and continued letting things go, but I had a hunch that if I worked at it, I could change my life for the better. So, I made a decision to take matters into my own hands, and with some trial and error, I narrowed my choices down to two simple yet highly effective remedies: diet and exercise. I decided to go with the tried and tested method of losing weight, so I started on a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. My body fat started to come off, and after a few weeks, I was noticeably thinner than I’d ever been in my life. My jeans were feeling a little bit tighter, and I had more energy than I’d ever had before. Then, I made the decision to take a longer break from work to focus on my health and my family. When I came back, I was determined to make the most of my new found energy, so I upped my workouts and I soon found myself hitting the weights again. It was an unexpected side effect of the diet that I hadn’t counted on, but it happened nonetheless. What I found out is that when your body undergoes a transformation like this, it prefers to stay in shape, so it adapted to the new lifestyle with more effort than I could ever have expected of it.
After about a year of healthy living, I took another look at my finances and wondered where the $40,000+ that I’d saved over the past year had gone. I’d essentially re-paid for my car, bought a couple of gym memberships, and paid off some bills, but the biggest chunk of change had vanished into a little black hole: my bank account. When I checked my investments, I found that they’d completely lost their value. It was at this point that I decided to take another hit out on my old lifestyle, and I eased myself back into my old routine. After all, not seeing your friends and family for so long can be a strain, and what’s the point of being thinner if you don’t enjoy life?
Make Better Choices
Inevitably, as you make changes to lose weight, you’re going to come across less appealing food options. In fact, after going on a low-carb diet, the most tempting foods are the starchy carbs that you’re no longer eating. When this happens, you have a craving for something sweet, and that’s when the battle starts. The brain develops a taste for sugary foods after going without them for so long, and that’s when the weight starts to come back, so you’re constantly battling this urge to consume carbs. It’s an unproductive cycle that’s bound to happen, but it’s one that you need to learn to live with. The key is to not give in too easily. Instead of looking at a bowl of ice cream or a doughnut, which are both highly processed carbohydrates, as a natural way to satisfy that craving, try to think of something healthier. Maybe you need a protein shake or a piece of fruit to satisfy that particular need. You may also find that taking a brisk walk, or going for a swim, can allay those cravings significantly. Whatever it may be, make sure that you have a nutritious option in mind when you’re faced with that particular decision point. If you think carefully about what you’re craving, you’re more likely to come up with an appropriate alternative that won’t completely undo all the hard work you’ve put in.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Inevitably, when you start losing weight, the drinks that you’re having to avoid become the targets for your cutting back. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the more you drink, the more you eat. The strong, sweet drinks are the ones that pull you into a food trap; the drinks that you’re having to avoid are the ones that you’re wisely cutting out. After you’ve made this adjustment, you won’t miss the fizzy drinks all that much, as you’ll find that sweet juices and freshly-squeezed fruit juices are more to your taste. What’s more, as you reduce your alcohol intake, you’ll become less bloated, as your body will finally be receiving the fluids that it needs. Instead of waking up bloated every morning, you’ll experience a gradual weight loss as you get rid of the toxins that are stored in your belly due to too much booze.
If I’m being completely honest, even now, three years later, I still hold on to those old habits. During the day, I’ll get loads of texts from clients or friends who want to enquire about my health and my progress. Every day, I’ll get messages from people asking me for advice on how to lose weight. And when I look at those numbers, I have to remind myself that it’s not really about me anymore. It’s about the people who are counting on me and the people who are interested in my wellbeing. When you start to lose weight, you have this nagging insecurity about your appearance, especially if you’re not used to being this shape. Every so often, I’ll have a little bit of a breakdown and I’ll binge on something, just to remind myself that this is temporary. One of the hardest things to do is to stay confident, even when you’re not seeing the results that you want. At the end of the day, you have to trust yourself, because if you don’t, no one else is going to. And that, in turn, can lead you down a dangerous path. That’s why I make sure to tell myself everyday that this is a process and that I’m heading in the right direction. If you want to be successful at losing weight, you have to believe that you can succeed. No one else is going to do it for you. You’re in charge of your own destiny, and that’s the best place that you can be, especially if you want to lead a healthier life.