Last night the noisemakers at a million New Year’s Eve parties sounded off the official start of the 2007 dieting season. Two years ago when I started losing weight, finally for real this time, I didn’t quite know what I was in for. Sure, I knew I’d have to change my eating habits and pull myself out of that butt-shaped impression on my couch, but here are some of the things nobody told me about weight loss.
It will take time
I don’t just mean this in the sense that it will take a year to lose 50 pounds, though it will assuming you lose a pound a week, a safe and attainable rate. I mean you have to take time out of your day to exercise and prepare food. When I started my plan I would come home in the evenings and run on the treadmill. Now I also do Pilates. Then I’d have to go into the kitchen, shove off papers and dirty pans to make a clean section of the counter, and cook something.
By the time I was done, at least an hour or an hour and a half of my day was gone. Now it’s just a normal part of my day, but at first I was wondering how I was going to keep up with all my TV shows. Hint: You can watch TV while you’re on exercise equipment. Ah, multi-tasking! Too bad you can’t also dice vegetables for dinner too, though maybe some mad genius will come up with a salad spinner powered by an exercise bike. If so, it was my idea first! Better go get the patent on that.
You will have to cook
Sorry, it’s inevitable. I suppose it’s hypothetically possible to eat out and eat healthy, but you’re probably going to get sick of salads or fall victim to the huge portion sizes most restaurants dish out that could feed a family of three. I know some programs like Nutrisystem or Slim Fast include food, but eventually you’re going to have to ditch those training wheels and fly solo. If you’re rich like Oprah, maybe you can hire a chef to cook all your foods. Or trade sexual favors with your spouse to take over cooking duties. The best way to control what you’re eating is to prepare it yourself, or at least select the tastiest TV dinners from the freezer section yourself. I hate, hate, hated cooking at first, but now it’s a normal part of my life and I enjoy choosing what I’m going to eat every day. I always keep the kitchen stocked and never rattle all the cupboards yelling “There’s nothing to eat!” like I used to.
You’re going to screw up
It happens. You’re doing great, completely in control, and then it starts raining Hershey bars on the way to work. One just fell in your mouth. It’s not your fault, it’s the apocalyptical weather conditions! Everyone messes up. There are still days when I eat too many cookies or skip a run I should have gone on. Don’t beat yourself up over it. That’s as stupid as letting your brother grab your hand, slap your face and ask you “Why are you hitting yourself?” Why indeed? You are not a bad person or weak, just human. Don’t let one screw up be an excuse to halt your whole program. Keep trying. When I first learned to crochet my first piece looked like a ball of yarn the cat yacked up. But I practiced and now I crochet hats that don’t look anything like vomit. Healthy living is a skill, just like crochet, that you will get better at with practice.
Anyone got any more tips for the newbies? Drop them in the comments.