Losing weight isn’t something you do overnight, and it’s definitely not easy! You’re going to struggle with weight loss, no matter how hard you try, how strictly you diet, and how much you exercise. Going into your weight loss efforts with this understanding is crucial for the long-term vision that fitness demands. Below are a few more cold, hard weight loss truths that will help you be realistic about what to expect when trying to lose weight:
Working Out More Isn’t Always Better
If you’re trying to push yourself to work out five or six days a week, know that you could be doing more harm than good. Not only could you be straining your muscles and wearing at your joints, but a lot of exercise can make you hungrier, which makes you eat more. One of the hardest weight loss truths to accept is that no workout can ever compensate for a bad diet. If your workouts are making you eat poorly—the wrong thing at the wrong time, or in the wrong quantities—it may be worth scaling back on the workouts just to keep your eating in check.
Diet > Exercise
While exercise is crucial for fitness, it takes second place when it comes to weight loss. If you work out an hour or two every day, you can burn as many as 1000 or more calories per day. But put that into perspective: that’s one small order of KFC food, four jelly donuts, or two Starbucks Frappuccinos. You’ll find it’s far too easy to eat more than you burn, which means all of your workout efforts are going to be negated by the food you eat. If you’re serious about weight loss, you’ll clean up your diet and eating habits as well as focusing on exercising more.
Diet Changes are Tough
No two ways about it: changing the way you eat and your appetite for food is going to be a challenge even on the best of days. Even if you never over-eat, you’ll find that it’s still damned difficult to cut out all the unnecessary and unhealthy junk food from your life, simply because it tastes so good! It’s too easy to snack on the wrong foods, eat more than you should at each meal, and load up on extra calories. Improving your diet habits is guaranteed to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do!
There is never going to be a day or week when you can expect absolute perfection of yourself in your workouts or diet. If you try to be perfect—always following the rules, ONLY eating what you’re allowed to, and working out every day no matter how hectic your schedule—you’re going to wind up burned out or demotivated. So stop trying to be perfect! Do your best, and make it a goal to clean up your eating habits a little bit more every day. Fight to avoid temptation but don’t guilt-trip yourself if you slip up. Perfect is impossible, and striving to reach perfection is just going to discourage you.
Be Careful of Restrictive Eating
When you can’t eat certain foods you love, you find yourself missing them, wanting them, perhaps even craving them. Eventually, you’re going to slip up and give in to that temptation. When that happens, you’re far more likely to binge-eat because you’ve been so strict on yourself. Be careful with your diet, and make sure you’re not being too restrictive, especially of your favorite foods.