A friend sent me a quote the other day that read
“Your body is not Amazon Prime. It’s not going to show up in 2 days. There is no magic pill. Do the work. Be patient. Focus on your goals. Change WILL happen.”
The quote has been one I’ve been living by since she sent it. We live in a world where we can’t work for what we want and wait for the results. We’re impatient people. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of working out and eating healthy for a week and assuming I’ll be skinny and healthy at the end of it, then reverting back to my old ways because I wasn’t so “what’s the point.” A while back I decided to take matters in my own hands so to speak, and I discovered a meal plan where you eat every 3-4 hours which sounds great because small meals more frequently speeds up you’re metabolism. The problem though was that it wasn’t real food, it was meal replacements, with just one actual meal a day.
At the time it all sounded ideal: eat every 3 hours, do some light working out, and lose weight fast. Pretty much everyone’s dream. So what was the problem? Even though the intentions were good, it’s not sustainable nor is it preparing you for real life after you’ve lost the weight. Not only that, it’s NOT healthy – I’ve seen so many people who have had gall bladder problems, stomach issues, and have even lost muscle eating this way.
A selling point for some of these programs out there is that all of the meal replacements have the same nutritional value so if you want to eat a brownie for breakfast or a chocolate bar you can. But you can’t. You’re replacing those unhealthy habits you thought you had before with even more unhealthy habits: meal replacements. Since only certain meal replacements have such low caloric value, you’ll forever be relying on them to help you maintain your weight loss.
I’ve talked to a few friends who were doing something similar, and these are the REAL healthy habits we’ve learned after giving up the bells and whistles of paying for health.
1. Water: drink as much as you can throughout the day. Don’t like it? Find water substitutes. Miss soda? Try a carbonated water. Sure it’s not the same, but at least you’re not drinking your calories away. Those are much better spent on actual food.
2. Take it one meal at a time: don’t beat yourself up if you have something unhealthy for one meal. Lucky for you, the next meal can be your restart and you can make a better choice.
3. Some form of working out everyday: yoga, spin class, chasing your toddler, going for walks. Just keep moving – that’s the important thing. I usually do 10 squats every time I go to the restroom; you’d be surprised at how many squats you’ve actually done at the end of the day!
4. Give yourself time: sure you wanted to be smaller yesterday. But wouldn’t it be worth it more to learn how your body works and make those everyday decisions to actually appreciate the results as well as learn how to maintain your weight loss?
5. Community: have a group of friends who are on this journey with you to be able to lean on. Ones who will encourage you and not put you down. Ones who aren’t just your friends because they want to publicize your weight loss to make money.
6. Calorie intake: Make sure you’re eating the right amount of calories for you. Do some research to see what works and what doesn’t. You don’t want to starve your body and eat only 900 calories a day to just lose weight.
7. Save your money: or at least spend it elsewhere. A gym membership, a personal trainer, even a nutritionist. Anything that will guide you and help you fulfill your goals in a way that will be life changing and not just season changing.
It’s taken me over a year to get where I am. I finally have a healthier mindset where I don’t think meal replacements are the only way to lose weight. I’m not where I was, but I’m doing this the healthier way. I’m eating real food, making friends at the gym I go to, and being patient with my results. Sure, maybe I did lose 80 pounds in 7 months – but was it worth a bald spot and other health issues? Definitely not. Give your body time and enjoy the process of being able to reach your goals in a way that’s possible without meal replacements.