Wednesday, November 13, 2019
I'm three and a half weeks into my routine and one of the biggest lessons I'm learning, especially this past week, is how to manage my expectations. Like most people, I hop on the weight loss train, see some quick water weight loss, and feel like I could bask in the glow of the honeymoon stage forever. But that's not the case or I obviously wouldn't still be working on getting this weight off. One thing that I am trying to do this time around is pay attention to what I'm asking of myself.
We've all seen the articles that say it's safe to lose 8-10 pounds a month. Naturally, that's what I would love to happen. In college, losing weight was a cinch and I would easily lose 10 pounds a month. (It was the keeping it off that was my problem.) I never plateaued, really, and I always felt like I had forward momentum. Sadly, that's not the case anymore. The closer I get to 30, the more I find myself grateful if I lose a fraction of a pound in a week. The first expectation I had to reevaluate was how much weight I could realistically lose. I made a goal for a 5 pound loss each month. I'm sure there will be times that I don't reach that goal but I know for sure if I make it higher, I will only set myself up to fail.
The next area I'm working on is giving myself some leeway in my nutrition tracking. It's okay if I don't know how to track every morsel and crumb I consume. Of course I want to be as accurate as possible but I'm also not going to avoid restaurants or work potlucks just because I don't know the exact calorie count. Since these situations aren't daily occurrences for me, it's not as big of a deal and I'm learning not to sweat it. If my tracker is off for a day, so be it. It's not worth the energy to fret over.
The third major expectation I'm reevaluating is my fitness. I'm one of those people who remembers how fit and strong I used to be and, in my mind, I think I'm still there. Every time I go to the gym, I'm quickly reminded how not true that is. I have difficulty even with small breaks. I was diligent in going to the gym for two straight weeks then I got super sick last week. I slept for four days with a nasty cold. I had to take a week off from the gym to recuperate. In such a short time, I already lost a lot of what I had started building. Today was my first day back at the gym and I keep having to tell myself that it's okay that I had to bump down the intensity. I will keep getting stronger.
In my experience, one of the biggest reasons why I, and perhaps many others, fail at adopting a healthy lifestyle is because I ask too much of myself. I'm not willing to take the baby steps to make myself better. If I do, I only keep the mindset for a couple months and then go right back to old habits. I need to learn to hold myself accountable but forgive myself when things are outside of my control. All I can do is the best I can and it is enough.