Hi Aqilah. I’m currently 75kg. My goal weight is 60kg. Can I do it in 3 months?
I remembered when I first tried to lose weight 4 years ago, I counted a lot. Numbers. Weight. Calories. Fats. Carbohydrates. Everything. I was counting to an extent that I was obsessed with it. Like a calorie counter, I knew how many calories that tub of yogurt has. I knew how much weight I have to lose per week, in order to get to my goal. I knew a lot, and it wasn’t fun.
The result? I failed.
Looking back, I saw some weaknesses over the approach I made when it comes to losing weight and while it’s easy to say the fault lies in my counting of numbers too much, it was really because I was looking at the whole weight loss thing as an event, instead of a lifelong journey.
And that mistake was a price to pay.
When it comes to losing weight, most of us are concern about how much we have to lose and by when. While it is important to know your goals and make solid ones, being concern to a point where you get to obsessed can be dangerous for your progress.
If there is three big things I want you to get out of today’s piece is this: Fitness is not an event. Eating right is not an event. Your health is not an event. It’s a lifestyle and until you can distinguish the difference between those two, you’re making it hard on yourself to get to where you want.
Think Of The Last Thing, First
Fitness is a journey, not an event. Think of the last thing, first.
After that failed attempt in November 2009, I decided to restart my life a few months later, this time doing it differently. How? By asking myself this question before I even started: What am I going to do after I’ve lost all the weight?
Why? Because losing weight is not as hard as maintaining it.
First things first, keep in mind again that the journey you’re about to make is there for life and not for the next twelve weeks. Yes, it may seem that way on the outside, you wanting to lose this amount of weight over the next amount of months, but try to think about what’s going to happen once you get there. By doing that, you’re making yourself aware of the future, even if it’s vague.
Instead of getting too worked up over how to lose weight, reverse that sequence and think about what you’re going to do after you’ve lost that weight.
Let’s put this into example.
You have a goal of losing 10kg in six months. That’s great. It’s measurable and it’s realistic. But what happens after you lose 10kg? Are you going to just quit exercising? Or are you going to fall back to old habits and spend days watching tv with a bag of kettle chips four nights a week?
I know it’s easy to just shrug and say ‘Meh, of course I won’t.’ or ‘Meh, I haven’t even gotten there yet.’ but putting the end first can help you make this journey a lifelong, successful one.
After I’ve lost 20kg in 8 months, I remembered laying in bed thinking, where do I go from here? Keeping in mind that I was a serial calorie counter at that point of time, I asked myself questions like, ‘Do I still count calories?’ or ‘Do I still consume 1200 calories a day?’. It left me confused, tired and frustrated and because I can afford some of the time in the world then, I started studying personal training so that I know what to do.
Had I spent some time to think about the end first, I probably won’t even have that problem when I succeeded.
It’s like your armour and your shield for when the end comes. Like how you won’t take up a four year course in university without knowing even vaguely what you want to do when your course ends, I encourage you to think about it before you even start this journey.
Once you’ve done that, then you can think of ways to get to your goal weight.
Make Solid Goals, But Don’t Get Too Obsessed
Fitness is a journey, not an event. Make solid goals but don’t get too obsessed.
Yes, I agree, goals are important, but getting too obsessed with it isn’t. While you should be making goals before you start trying to lose weight, don’t get too caught up with it, because it’s typically one of the reasons why most goals fail.
Let’s put this into perspective.
Again, you’re trying to lose 10kg in six months. You know that it is a SMART goal — it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Based. It also has a hint of significance behind it, you want to lose weight because you know it’ll make your health better.
Now imagine if you start working out how much weight that is in terms of weeks. There’s 24 weeks in six months, which means technically, you do have to lose about 400grams per week to get to your goal. Now imagine you start working out, you have an awesome plan and then you lose 0.7kg in the first week. Great. Another 0.6kg in the second week. Awesome job. And then in the third week, you only lost 0.2kg or nothing. Boo.
What happens then?
For most of us, that small shift on the scale is enough to freak us out, start blaming our fitness plans and give up. Yes I’ve been there. But here’s the thing, it’s because you were too obsessed with your goals.
Instead of being too obsessed with the numbers, get obsessed with your fitness plan instead. Hit the gym at your 80% but leave only when you feel like you’ve given a hundred. Run a second faster than you did in your previous session. Turn up every single day. Just get on with it and results will come.
You know that saying, ‘Life happens when you’re busy planning?’. Works for your fitness too.
Don’t let yourself sabotage your progress. It’s not worth it.
Choose Your Plans Wisely
Fitness is a journey, not an event. Choose your plans wisely.
If there was one thing I’ve learned over the last four years in my journey in fitness is this: Most fitness plans focus on the weight loss part, and don’t give a damn about what happens after that. Check it out. Go to bodybuilding.com and look at all the fitness plans there. Typically, most of them have the same kind of titles — ‘Fitness Person Name Here’ ‘Number of Weeks Here’. It’s not wrong, but, it’s not complete either.
Again, ask yourself, what happens after the 12-weeks or so is over?
Don’t focus too much on what happens instantly and think of it over the long term.
See the thing is, most of us are adults and we know that in order for us to get something worthy, it will take time. Losing weight is a big thing, it’s a commitment and it’s not just something that happens for a while. And it is something worthwhile to do.
If you’re planning to try losing weight quickly, let me tell you this: it is not worth it. Yes it may take a shorter time, you might not even have to do a second of exercise but again, ask yourself, are you going to do that for the rest of your life?
Chances are, when you get to your goal weight, that instant gratification is enough to keep you happy for the time being, and in due time, it’ll go away and it’ll leave you unsatisfied than ever before even if you weight 10kg lighter.
Choose a plan that you know, given time and effort and most importantly integrity towards it, can give you results for life. It should also impart some knowledge into you, like why are you doing 3 sets of 12 squats and make you feel awesome because you know something new every time you workout or eat something that nourishes your body.
Most importantly, if it promises you something within the next couple of months, it probably isn’t worth your time in life years.
Be wise in your choices, it’ll go a long way.
One Question: How Serious Are You?
I don’t want to be such a massive party pooper but I have to ask you this, how serious are you in losing weight? Or wait, don’t tell me you don’t know. Surprisingly, most of us don’t and that’s okay. It’s not your fault. Again, it’s the instant gratification monkey here, the one little pet you have up in your mature adult brain that tells you something else in a spur of a moment.
If you always find yourself thinking about losing weight after you’ve had a big 10-course buffet in a fancy hotel and you feel like your stomach is bursting, then you’re not serious.
If you always find yourself thinking about losing weight after scrolling through your Instagram feed full of #fitspo and #fitfam and then tell yourself you feel so motivated, then you’re not serious.
And if you always find yourself thinking about losing weight after you’ve read some epic success stories, then I’m sorry, again you’re not serious.
If you can take all those ‘spur of a moment’ moment and then have a moment or two every day where you just sit down and feel like you can do better for your health and body and then think about losing weight, then that’s the exact moment where you are serious. Phew!
And that’s when I want to welcome you to my office.
I don’t mean to push you in the corner but it happens to me too. A lot in life, business and fitness. As someone who comes up with random ideas all the time, I get that feeling of building, starting or doing something new every single day. And that feeling usually comes after I see something external that did not ever lie within me. It’s normal and as I’ve said it before, that’s instant gratification at work.
But I know it will not work because I only thought it was cool at that point of time. I don’t think I will put in effort into doing the dirty work to make it happen.
Having the ability to distinguish the difference between being totally serious about your weight loss goals and just thinking about it being cool if you lost 10 kilos is important before you start. Think about it, and I mean seriously (pun intended) think about it and ask yourself if you’re serious about it or it’s just a passing thought.
Go For Gold
Putting it all together, once you have a solid goal, a realistic plan and you know you’re serious about your goal, then go for it. Don’t stop halfway because you don’t think it’s working for you. And if it’s all too hard, take baby steps. Start with just one simple goal and then work on it for the next 30 days.
Once you’ve built the momentum, keep going. Remember this, losing weight is a journey. It’s not something you do for the next 12 weeks. If you can put your mind in this frame, then I know you can achieve those crazy goals of yours.
Here’s To You
I’m going to end this post with something I’ve never done before. I want you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and answer these two questions. It’ll allow you to have a think about your goals and what you really want from your fitness so take some time today and do it.
The questions are:
1. What are your goals (make it SMART!)?
2. How serious are you?
The sky’s the limit when it comes to answering them so tell me your whole fitness story if you want to. I’m going to read it over this coming week and reply to you individually.
Why? Because I care. And I want to help you carve your own fitness journey that will span over the rest of your life.
Let’s make this happen.