Patience + a winner!

Here I go again, talking about weight loss. Well, it was my whole motivation for starting this little blog – so I may as well talk it up. Smile

Last week, I talked about just doing it. Well today, I want to talk about that little thing called patience. It’s definitely a hard thing to come by. There’s just so much to do, so little time – who’s got time to be patient? Just like Violet Beauregard (you know, Willy Wonka) – “I want it NOW.”

Here’s the thing – patience truly is a virtue. It’s necessary. It would be really hard to navigate through life without learning how to deal with situations that don’t involve instant gratification. Most things in life do not give you instant feedback – more often than not you have to wait for the outcome. It’s not always ideal, but that’s just life.

As it turns out, weight loss is one of those situations that require patience. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s not going to happen overnight. Heck, it’s not even going to happen within the week. Probably not even within the month.

All too often, we (myself included) are looking for a quick fix. A fad diet that will have us dropping 10 pounds in nothing but a week. The problem is that quick fix weight loss strategies are just what their title says – they’re quick fixes. You could probably starve yourself and work out like a mad woman to lose 10 pounds in a week. But the second you go back to your normal eating habits, you’ll gain the weight back. What’s the point in that? You put yourself through the ringer only to have a few days of feeling good about yourself?

Patience really is a huge factor in being able to lose weight and keep it off. You need to be willing to watch the scale slowly move down week after week. A pound or two a week is what you should aim for.

So how can you gain the patience to stick with it, week after week?

Set mini goals. Rather than declaring I want to lose 50 pounds, break it up. Take it week by week. Aim to lose a pound or two a week. Or maybe you’d rather aim to lose 8 pounds a month. Any way you slice it, smaller goals are much more attainable.

Celebrate the small achievements. Did you reach your weekly goal of a 2 pound loss? Celebrate with a new work out shirt, a new song download, or a coffee date with friends.

Look at each day as a new start. Focus on the present. Don’t stress about how you’ll fit in working out tomorrow or next week, just do what you can right now. If you stay in the present, you won’t feel overwhelmed by what may lie ahead. This is definitely easier said than done, but put it into practice and it will become easier with practice.

Change things up. This is important for fitness and healthy eating no matter what stage you’re in (losing, gaining, maintaining). Doing the same things day in and day out is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. Try a new class, run a new route, exchange DVDs with a friend…do whatever you can to keep yourself interested to avoid burn out.

Patience, patience, patience. You’ll hit plateaus, you’ll have off days (even off weeks), you’ll lose motivation (temporarily). Through it all, you just have to maintain that patience. Realize that nothing happens overnight. Change takes time, energy, and planning.

On all of my many failed weight loss attempts, I would give up when I didn’t see huge changes in short periods of time. I thought that with a little effort things should just fall into place. It took me a while (and a whole lot of trial and error) to realize that in order to make a lifestyle change, you have to work in increments.

Start out small and work your way up through mini goals and simple switches. After a while, it will become natural and things will just click.

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