I'm approached on a regular basis mostly via social media regarding my weight loss journey. People ask me for my exact meal and exercise plans and want me to write them a step by step plan for how to do what I did. I won't do it for a few reasons. One being that, until you're truly ready to change your life, it won't matter what tools I give you. Another being that my journey is unlike any other and yours will be too.
I'm beyond flattered and humbled by people gaining such inspiration from my success, but I feel like my mission is far greater than shoving meal plans you might or might not shop for and exercises you may or may not do, down your throats. The goal with losing weight shouldn't be about fitting into a particular size or seeing a particular number in the scale. It shouldn't be about eating 700 calories a day or depriving yourself of your favorite foods. It shouldn't be about losing weight at all, actually. It should be about creating a healthier you and in turn, dropping unhealthy weight.
It's often said that losing weight is 30% exercise and 70% diet. I believe it's 100% exercise and 100% diet. To truly be successful, you can't afford to only make good decisions 30% or 70% of the time. Don't misconstrue this as making nothing but perfect decisions, but instead making conscious decisions. For example, if you're having one of those days and have a sweet craving that only a Snickers will cure, choose that candy bar 100% conscious of what effect it will have on your goals.
Have I had a fuck-up free weight loss journey? Absolutely not, but I will say my mindset has helped me keep 90% of my weight off for over 2 years WITH some major life changes. Vegetarianism was not a goal for me from the start, but little did I know, decisions I had been making for months prepared me for it. First to go was pork, then beef, chicken and fish were the last to go. I tirelessly researched vegetarian recipes and food alternatives to ensure my transition would be as painless as possible. Preparedness is key.
The key to maintaining a good diet is simply using the knowledge you already have. We all know fried foods and dishes laden with butter, cheese, and fat are unhealthy. CUT THEM OUT. Sodas/sugary juices? CUT THEM OUT. Cookies, cakes, pies, etc? CUT THEM OUT. Now let me be frank, I have a ridiculous sweet tooth, so I will proudly grab a cookie if I give in to my cravings but I also give in with the knowledge that while that cookie may help my mood, it will not help my results. Remember what I said about conscious decisions? That's one I make on a regular basis.
Your success with exercise will be a direct result of your work ethic and dedication to the process. You don't have to go in the gym on your first day and run an 8 minute mile or be able to bench 200lbs. I vividly remember my first day at Powerhouse and 10 minutes into a workout on the elliptical, I literally felt like I was going to die and had no intentions on going back. My friend was paying a daily rate for me to come because my commitment wasn't there yet. But I went back the following week. Then a few days later, then the next day until I was faithfully going each day after work for an hour. That <10 minutes turned into 15, then 20, then 30, then 45, then 60. Same with simple exercises like crunches, sit ups, and even jumping jacks. I started with what I could do and built my strength from there. With countless apps and Instagram pages devoted to beginner and unconventional fitness, it's not hard to run across an in home workout to give a try. My favorite apps are MyFitnessPal (calorie tracker/food diary), Freeletics (workout app featuring exercises that require little to no equipment) and I search Instagram on a regular for different exercises to keep my workouts fresh.
I never treated my journey as if there was a deadline or an end date. Instead I approached it as a lifestyle change. I knew the changes I made would require my attention and effort if I wanted to truly live a healthy life. Now I understand for some, the goals aren't that deep and perhaps a bomb ass dress for a wedding coming up or a birthday outfit you've had your eye on is the goal. Even with that, your success will depend on the same factors I've outlined here.
My secret to success isn't a secret at all. Stop making excuses, start making changes, and most importantly, hold yourself accountable.