Many who look at my current condition assume it was an easy process; that I was just one of the lucky ones. Good genetics. Amazing, God-given discipline. Just random good luck. It was just in the cards. I was one of the fortunate 1% that make it out of obesity alive.
But they never will.
This isn't true. Lasting weight loss is possible. But most people fail because they don't understand the real rules of success.
Related: Submit Your Transformation Story to Tiger Fitness
In this article I am going to outline eight big lessons I learned during my 100 pound weight loss. I hope they help you reach their goals. Remember them, come back to them, and never stop fighting.
Lessons From My Weight Loss Transformation
Lesson #1 - You Don't Need to BelieveHow many times have you heard things like this...
"Believe and achieve!"
"Find your motivation and you'll be successful!"I'm here to tell you two things. First, you don't need to believe in yourself. Second, you don't need to find your motivation. What? Heresy? Nope, not at all. Hear me out.
You don't need to believe in yourself, nor to be super-motivated. What you need to do is take small steps forward each day. Consistent effort over time helps you to build the body you are after.
Just wake up and do what it takes on that day. Then wake up tomorrow and do what it takes. Rinse, and repeat. Focus only on today. This focus doesn't require belief and motivation, but it does require effort.
And this effort will lead you to a very happy place; a place where you will find your motivation along the way, and build confidence as each day passes. Confidence and hyper-motivation are rarely things that are just found. They have to be worked for, like everything else worth having in life.
I didn't "believe." In fact, I thought I would probably fail again. Heck, I tried to lose weight about 2,365,966 times. The only thing different during my transformation period was consistent effort. I didn't quit. I just kept taking small steps forward each day.
These small steps add up to big change, and to belief and motivation.
Tiger Fitness Editorial Director Steve Shaw's 100 pound weight loss.
Lesson #2 - Be PatientStop trying to rush the process. It took you many, many years to gain weight. Tons of bad days, poor food choices, binge sessions, alcohol-infused stupors, and sugary-filled drinks out the wazooski.
Weight loss should be slow and steady. Don't try to rush the process. Rapid weight loss usually results in bounce-back weight. You aren't worried about adopting a healthy lifestyle and making lasting changes. Instead, your goal is to reach "X" pounds lost in 3 months.
Slow down. Be patient.
I can't tell you how many people see my transformation story and approach me with questions like this:
"I've hit a weight loss plateau. Help! What can I do?"Here's what I know... When I hear this claim, 99% of the time it's nonsense. I return their inquiry with the following question:
"How much weight have you lose during the last month? Last 2 months"The answer is usually something like: "Well, only abut 5 pounds this month, and 6 pounds last month!" Here's a newsflash! That's not a plateau. That's quality, consistent weight loss. The problem isn't a plateau, it's impatience. You're doing it right.
Keep doing what you're doing, just learn to temper it with a little patience. It took you many years to pack on the pounds. Instead of trying to get them off by some arbitrary rate, approach weight loss through a reasonable lens.
As long as you are losing weight, you're doing it right. Rejoice in this reality. Trust the process, and understand where it's leading you. Don't rush.
I lost 100 pounds. It took three years. During this time I didn't worry about rate of weight loss. Instead, I focused on living a new lifestyle and eating better. I learned that good choices applied over time ALWAYS forge the body you are after.
Don't rush. Be patient.
Lesson #3 - Sellout to a New LifestyleI've tried many fad diets over the years. I've also tried many dieting approaches that didn't necessarily fit with my current eating habits and tendencies. This was a recipe for disaster.
Intermittent fasting. Keto diet. Carb backloading. On and on and on.
This approaches all work. They are reasonable and effective. But with that said, most people look for a new approach instead of trying to return to the basics and simply fix their poor eating habits.
You. Don't. Need. Anything. Radical. What you need is to fix your poor eating habits and simply adopt a new eating lifestyle, one that focuses on making good food choices 80 to 90 percent of the time.
Instead of adopting a radical fad diet or the popular and hip fitness diet of the month, try limiting the following:
- Sugar and flour
- Calorie-filled coffees, energy drinks, and soda
- Fast food
- Food choices from cans and boxes
- Other processed foods
- Chips, cookies, and cracker
- Deep friend foods
Take care of yourself. Eat right. Adopt a longterm approach focused on a healthy lifestyle rather than a short term fad diet.
Lesson #4 - Mistakes HappenLet's get something straight. Bad days happen. If you live in some sort of fantasy world in which you believe your weight loss journey will be perfect, you're crooked and setting yourself up for failure.
A long road is never smooth, flat, and without challenges.
Stop complaining about the challenges and start responding appropriately.
Most people live in a vicious cycle that goes like this... They start a diet, have a few good weeks, and then fall off the wagon. They binge eat or make bad food choices. Regret sets in. Maybe depression. And what is the reaction?
Instead of returning back to a healthy lifestyle they jump ship. The dieter runs towards junk food, fast food, and quits for a while - only to wallow in regret, get more depressed, and finally start "over" again.
This is not a recipe for success.
Here's how your journey should go. You have a bad day? So what! Forget about it and return to healthy eating the next day. Mistakes happen. Give over them. They are part of the journey.
No life is ever perfect. And no one with a perfect body has perfect eating days every day. The key is consistency over time, and a relentless pursuit of health, not an expectation of perfection.
Lesson #5 - Ban the TriggersTrigger foods must not be allowed into your house. No exceptions. Make it difficult to get that ice cream or nacho cheese, take and bake pizza or Coca Cola.
This way, when a craving hits, to satisfy it you must actually get in the car, drive, and walk the store to retrieve it. You'll be far less likely to binge eat or break your diet if your trigger foods aren't 10 feet from your couch.
This is probably the most challenging aspect of dieting for most people to deal with. But you must be steadfast. You must adhere to this practice. If you leave the door open and allow Doritos and ice cream into your house, weakness with settle in and you'll break.
Weak days always come. The key is to fight back; to make it a challenge to stray and cheat.
If you refuse to keep these trigger foods out of your house you're simply being stubborn and setting yourself up for failure. Period, end of story.
But what if you have kids? A difficult spouse or partner? Then it's time to have a talk. Your health is important. For the kids you'll have to find healthier substitute foods they will enjoy eating.
During my weight loss, I only kept fruit and cheese around as a snack. My triggers were banned from the house. This way, even if I had too much to eat, my calorie intake was much lower.