In the seven years following high school, I gained fifty pounds. A medical condition caused me to have to frequently take steroids, which are notorious for weight gain. When I was 22, I took a job working over 60 hours a week and simply didn’t have time to exercise or eat well.
Those were all excuses. Some more valid than others, but excuses none-the-less. The simple truth was I was fat. My excuses, though highly used, didn’t make me feel better. Regardless of the situation, I looked gross and felt worse.
And then, one day I was taken to the emergency room, where the cardiologist desperately tried to get my heart to slow down. Beating over 180BPM, they were worried I’d go into cardiac arrest. I was diagnosed with a condition I’ll have my entire life. And although my weight had absolutely nothing to do with my condition, it definitely wasn’t helping it either. So my cardiologist recommended losing 20 pounds. I didn’t. That was two years ago. But four months ago out of the blue, it hit me: motivation. I have lost over 30 pounds and counting, and here is how:
I wanted it: The idea that you cannot ever truly help an addict quit until they want it is proven. The same goes for those wanting to lose weight. Of course I wanted to be healthy. Did I want to put the effort into actually losing the weight? Clearly not, since it didn’t happen. People struggling with getting healthy don’t realize how simple it is. It’s really not that complicated. People are always asking me “what’s your secret”. The truth is- I just did it. I stopped making excuses and I did it. I wanted it enough that I made it happen.
I took baby steps: In my previously failed attempts to lose weight, I spent tons of money on diet food and gym memberships. I spent two hours every day working out to the point of exhaustion, and then got extremely frustrated when I didn’t see results in a week. This time, I took it slow. I started out just cutting back on fast food, I stopped drinking as much soda, I drank more water, and I started on the elliptical for twenty minutes a day. Slowly, I increased my efforts. After a month I was doing over an hour of cardio every day, easily. And I didn’t get discouraged when the weight didn’t melt off. I actually only started seeing results after a full month. After that, I was losing a consistent two to three pounds per week.
I found time: This excuse that there isn’t enough time to work out needs to be buried. We only need eight hours of sleep a night. That leaves sixteen hours left in the day. Even if 10 of them are working, that’s six hours left. Get up earlier, go to bed later. If kids are the excuse, take them on a walk. Take them to the park and run laps around the play structure. Do squats while you’re brushing your teeth (you can do at least 50 in two minutes). There is time to work out; you just need to want it enough to find it.
I formed a habit: I kept hearing this idea that it takes twenty one days to form a habit. So I committed myself to working out every single day for 21 days. If I was sick, or tired, or just not feeling it, I still did. Even if I only did 20 minutes (there were days this happened…) After about three weeks it did become routine. I stopped thinking about (and dreading) going to the gym. It just became something I knew was going to happen every day, like waking up, sleeping, or going to work.
I found a routine that worked: I found this awesome recumbent bike at the gym with a high back. On my lazy days I would just work out on it for 20 minutes and call it good. Then I saw someone reading a magazine while working out on it and I had this brilliant idea, I’d bring a book. I did, and for about a week straight I’d get on the bike and read while I pedaled. I literally didn’t even notice how much time would go by until I looked up and I was 15 miles in. Not everyone likes reading, but there are other options. Put your machine next to your television and watch an hour-long show. The time will fly.
I completely changed my life; I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been. And I didn’t do it over night. It took motivation, time and a lot of effort but I cannot express how worth it it’s been.