“Shape” magazine is targeted to women and is filled with new stories about weight-loss secrets and special cayenne pepper, seaweed diets. There is typically a bikini-clad photoshop job on the cover and pages of pictures of flawless muscle definition and perfectly proportioned supermodels demonstrating stretching methods. It’s essentially the Cosmo of the Weight-Loss Industry.
As I sat on the stationary bike yesterday, thinking about what I would have for dinner, I glanced over at the woman next to me because she had this magazine resting in front of the annoying yellow lights that tell you you’ve only been working out for 3:52 and you’ve only burned 2 calories. Stretched out along the top margin (above the red bikini) was the headline, “An Easy Workout to Burn 950 Calories Without Breaking a Sweat!” I didn’t think much of it, just rolled my eyes at the $5.99 she spent on the trashy magazine and resumed my virtual mountain biking. But later (aka now) I got to thinking about how lazy we all are. We want results without work; we want a workout without the hassle of sweating. It’s the instant gratification we crave that gets in the way of committing to losing weight, or just plain getting healthy.
I get frustrated when I don’t see results right away. I will think, “but I watched what I ate today and I went to the gym once last week, so why am I gaining six pounds a week?” (or just that one week...whoops!) Weight-loss would be so much easier if you went to the gym and the next morning you had lost a pound. But in reality, it just doesn’t work like that (and if you did lose a pound, it’s water weight, sorry). It takes real dedication and a real time commitment to become a healthier person, and it’s not going to happen without some honest hard work. It’s not going to happen without sweating.
Since I’ve been watching what I put into my mouth, basically since I was forced to tweet everything I eat, I have been falling to the same traps I usually fall to when dieting. I cut things out. I eliminate carbs, or fat, or sugar, because in my head it’s easier to stick to a plan if you know exactly what you can’t eat. If you’ve ever tried this, you know it doesn’t work. The minute you tell a child they can’t do something, they do it. The minute you tell me I can’t have a cookie, I’ll eat three. So, I’m not doing that. I’m putting in the hard work it takes to actually diet correctly. I am eating what I want but I am counting calories as I go, and tweeting them @Adnsbelly. I’ve set a daily minimum and maximum, and I’ve noticed that I’m eating better, but I can still have a ramekin of ice cream (1/6 of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s is 150 calories, jerks).
I guess what I want ya’ll to take away from this, is that hard work will pay off in the end, and a half-assed effort will result in dangerous weight fluctuation (don’t look at my graph). The goal in all of this isn’t what the scale says, but how you feel and the quality of your overall health. Good health is hard work, sweating is good for you, and six-dollar trashy magazines don’t fit into my budget.
Okay, so I have to admit how much of a sucker I am. I saw the title of this in the email I get every time there’s a blog post, and was like WOAH, REALLY? I figured you had just found a miracle exercise or something.
So you’re totally right. It’s built into our nature as a society these days. We have all sorts of cool things that make our lives easier, so it comes as a surprise to us when there isn’t some magic gadget that will make us fit and healthy instantly.
I happen to be one of those “weight fluctuating” people. I went to NYC this past weekend to see some family and I wasn’t responsible with my nutrition. Although I did fit a run in (and extra walking because that is how you get places in the city, unlike here at home), it’s not the same. But it’s not just half-assed-ness for me. It’s because randomly my schedule changes and I haven’t learned how to modify my eating habits when I can’t control the food on the table…or even the table itself. At least now I can see a problem I missed. Thanks!
I can confirm this. I use the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. That paired with regular exercise, 3 times a week, has helped me get to the weight that I am currently at. I started losing weight before I started this site. When I started dieting I was at roughly 215lbs. Limiting my consumption of food has adjusted my body to eating healthier portions. Now I don’t need to eat as much as I used to back in college to feel full which is making the calorie counting easier to follow.
Hmm, I’m glad you mentioned MyFitnessPal. I am thinking about switching, as I currently use Noom, but it just isn’t doing what I want it to. I’ve heard some good things about MyFitnessPal, and now I’m seeing more and more people using it (like, within the past week). I have yet to find another person who uses Noom (and recommends it). So, while it was good for getting me started with exercise and food logging, I’m thinking a switch is in order.
Congrats on the weight loss!