The journey of losing weight can feel insurmountable when you have more than 50 pounds to lose. Because to lose that weight in a safe and sustainable way, it will probably end up being a multi-year endeavor, which is an overwhelming thought. Having a goal that big feels lofty and perhaps even unachievable, especially if you have had a history of false starts. I’m here to share my story of losing over 70 pounds and the lessons I learned along the way! I hope that in sharing my story, you will be encouraged and grab hold of these lessons to apply to your own situation.
I started with Stay Fit Mom when I was 5 weeks postpartum and 254 pounds. Very quickly after the birth, I knew that I needed to do something because my weight was actually starting to go up. I had had success with SFM a couple of years before, so I signed up again. Despite it being a really frenetic time with a 3 year old, a newborn and no sleep, I dived in. So many pieces of my life were out of my control, but I knew that my food was the one thing that was within my control! Ultimately, it would take almost a year to reach my first goal of getting to my pre-pregnancy weight and losing 56 pounds.
Lesson 1. Prepare for the Long Game
Getting your mindset in the right place at the very beginning is crucial otherwise you will be sabotaged by missed expectations. It is going to take time and the process is slow. 254 pounds is a lot of weight and it doesn’t just come off overnight. In my mind, I knew that I needed to be realistic about how long it was going to take to lose the weight and I estimated that it would take a little over a year to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. Saying that anything is going to take more than a year to accomplish is a hard sell for sure. We love quick feedback and quick results. But…when we have so much weight to lose, we have to embrace the idea of “slow and steady.”
We tend to think that at a higher weight we will lose the weight at a faster rate but that is not usually the case. My average weight loss every week was about a 1lb. Which is really discouraging when the goal is big. But one week builds on another week and after a month you are down 4 pounds. Which again, doesn’t feel like much, but after another 4 weeks, you are down 8 pounds…and now that is encouraging!
The exciting thing about having so much weight to lose is that there are so many milestones to have…each week there is something to celebrate, whether that is the opportunity for a new NSV or weight loss milestone! The game is long, but can be done…and it can be done with a lot of celebration too!
Lesson 2. Consistency
Because I knew this was going to be a long game, I leaned into consistency. I viewed any missed day as tacking on more time to how long it was going to take and I wasn’t willing to add any more time to this already long journey! During my first year of doing macros, I had 20 missed days…more times than not, I was hitting a 7/7 week after week. It is easy to dismiss consistency because it is so basic. All the coaches preach about this, so when you hear it’s tempting to give it an eye roll. But consistency is what gives you steady and sustainable results.
Lesson 3. Small Steps Towards Exercise
I didn’t have a fitness routine and I didn’t have any kind of exercise built into my day. And I think it is easy to want to launch into a big exercise program when you start because eating well naturally makes us want to lean into a more active lifestyle. But, the important thing is that when we are starting out, we need to focus on nutrition first and start small with exercise. We are doing really hard work creating new habits of eating and adding in a massive workout routine can almost be overwhelming. So, I started small. I just walked…I committed to getting in 10K steps and then after a while I was ready to do add in more. So, I started going to Orange Theory a couple of days a week. And then, after a while, I ended up joining Lifetime Fitness and now I get to go 4-5x a week and I do really hard CrossFit style exercise. Where I am today didn’t happen over night, but rather was a slow build over a couple of years. So, don’t despise small beginnings when it comes to exercise! Because what you are doing is creating a history of wins that you are going to build on. And remember…you have the gift of time to do this!
Lesson 4. Be Ruthlessly Determined.
It is easy to rely on motivation and in the beginning we usually all have motivation! We have this compelling desire to do the thing in front of us. But motivation is a feeling based on comes and goes. When you are playing the long game, you can’t rely on motivation to always be around, instead you need to tap into determination. Determination is a decision. To put it simply, you have made your decision to hit your macros and now you are going to do it. Feelings and circumstances have to bend to that end result. This is when you have the mindset “I’m going to hit my numbers today, the only question is how.”
About 4 months into my journey, a dear friend of mine invited me to a weekend in the mountains to celebrate her birthday. I didn’t want to have 3 missed days and it was almost impossible to just estimate what the food situation might be. So I choose to meal plan and meal prep all my own food for the weekend. And I brought my food scale, my blender, and all my food in a cooler. I hit my numbers because I was ruthlessly determined that my circumstances were going to bend to my goal of hitting my numbers.
Lesson 5. Hold Fast to Your Coach and This Community
This is a long journey and it is not meant to be done alone. You need the support of a coach who is not just cheering you on, but is objective in setting your numbers weekly, giving you feedback, talking you off the ledge (if need be!) and giving you the gift of perspective. And the Ninja community is gold. A place where we all support each other and if you have a need or need to vent, the community is here to surround you and lift you up. So, the journey is arduous…but it can be done! You are in the right place with the right people cheering you on. You can do it!