Saturday, March 21, 2015

Consistency is Key

This blog entry wasn't written to come off as putting anyone down who may have failed a diet or weight loss journey. It was solely written to help those who struggle to find consistency in their weight loss. I hope this helps.

There was a study that was done back in the 1950's to determine the success rate of those who started dieting. Of those tested, 95 out of 100 failed. I realize this is some pretty old data to go by, but in my research, I haven't found any new statistics that are very different from this. That shows me that in the last 50+ years, it's still been the same type of struggle.  Why is weight loss such a hard thing to stick to? Especially for 95% of people to fail?  I think I've found a couple of different reasons.

A lot of people love the idea of losing weight. Beach season is here and many people like to daydream about being fit and looking good in a bathing suit. I used to daydream about being able to hang out with friends at the pool or beach and not even think twice about my shirt being off. Once I started thinking it, I would eventually remember that I was overweight. Then, overweight Josh would come into the daydream and I imagined everyone's disgusted faces at the fact that I would have the audacity to think that I could physically fit in. Not everyone is like that, of course, but when you're sad and overweight, the theater of your mind tends to go to the extremes.

Back to the daydreaming. Before I made the realization that I was overweight, I would imagine that I WAS fit and attractive and could do everything that everyone else was. That idea made me feel SO good. I'm sure for others, it's that same idea that convinces them they should start a diet. They're inspired. Inspiration is a powerful thing. However, inspiration can also be fleeting and temporary. It's the inspiration that makes the individual sign up for a gym membership or buy the newest weight loss plan. Two weeks later when the inspiration has left, you're right back where you before. Daydreaming but not wanting to put in effort.

Losing 170 pounds is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It took time, dedication, but most importantly...focus. Inspiration gets us to start something. It's the focus that will see us through to the goal and beyond.

The other reason why I think people give up on weight loss is the infamous plateau effect. In case you don't know what that is, the plateau effect is what happens when, after a period of time where you're losing weight and seeing results, everything stops. You're still working as hard as ever, you're sticking to your diet plan, and then boom. No more results. The plateau can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It can also happen more than once in a weight loss journey. I know of several people who hit the plateau and then give up. They tell themselves that they're just not meant to lose anymore weight and convince themselves that it's ok when they really don't believe it.

I had quite a few plateaus in my weight loss journey. The cool thing about a plateau is that it means your body is preparing for a big change. I remember being in a plateau for about two weeks. One morning, I tried on pants that had fit me just a few days before, but now they were way too big! As strange as it may seem, the plateau usually represents that your body is gearing up for a big physical change. Once you're through the plateau, your body begins steady weight loss again.

The reason for the plateau is kind of a beautiful thing because it shows how complex but incredible our bodies really are. Let's say you run four 100 meter sprints everyday for a month. While you might tell a difference for the first couple of weeks, if that's the only physical activity you do, your body will eventually adapt itself to it. So much so that it will stop losing weight the way that it was before. It's a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that part of your body has become strengthened. The bad thing is that the one specific workout you were doing no longer has relevance for a certain amount of time. Thus, the plateau occurs. 

To get through the plateau quicker, change up the sprints for other types of cardio. It's still the same type of workout category, just a different way of doing it which will trick your body and allow continued progress with less prolonged pauses in between.

The above also applies to dieting. Certain food may be eaten more than others. When the plateau happens, change up some of the food you're consuming. It's still the same type of nutrition but the new taste or texture will make your body believe that it's something completely different.

You were made to be extraordinary. If you're reading this and are considering a weight loss journey, are already in one, or maybe have given up on one before, the only thing that I can say is that you've got to stick with it. I've been there and I know how tempting is to want the results without going through the process. But, now that the weight loss portion of my journey is over, I'm realizing more and more that the process is just as important as the weight loss. It's where we grow mentally while shrinking physically. It's where we learn the most about our character and how much we're really willing to go through to fight for what we want.

You have it in you, now it's just a matter of proving it to yourself.

 Like an arrow, you've got to keep moving forward.


1 comment:

  1. Josh - I really enjoy reading about your journey. It helps to know I'm not the "only one". Thanks for sharing! :D