Don’t Stop Me Now

81.6 pounds down! FABULOUS! It’s a nice place to be at, believe me.

Patrick the Wombat weighs over 80 pounds. You’re gorgeous, Patrick. Don’t let anyone tell you different!

While only a few people have come up to me and commented on my weight loss, more have asked publicly or privately how I’m losing the weight. This is my answer to that, and I’ll probably repost it to all who ask.

I usually give a vague answer, and there’s a reason for that, but I also know that vague answers lead to speculation. Heck, I’ve heard those speculations in regards to others who have had good weight loss success, and there’s no reason to think that the same things aren’t being said about me; I knew they were when I lost 140 pounds a decade ago.

So. A few clarifications.

Why I won’t answer: It’s simple. What works for me is likely not going to be the same thing that works for you — or for anyone else. One of the truly frustrating things about weight loss is finding that magic combination of enough of everything that it results in healthy weight loss, and the cruel fact is that it’s different for everyone. Not only that, but what’s working for me at 81 pounds down may well not work for me at 100 pounds down.

The human body is an amazing creation that is built to adapt to a staggering number of conditions, both internal and external. It’s also subject to an infinite combination of aspects that both help and hinder its ability to function at its best, and at any given moment, our bodies may have both active and latent hindrances to weight loss.

If I were to tell you exactly what I am doing to lose weight, nothing says it would work for your unique set of circumstances; unfortunately, especially if you’ve dealt with excess weight for the majority of your life, you have to find what works for you.

What works: Hard work. That’s what works, and that’s the bottom line. You have to put the effort in to get the results, and often, for the chronically overweight and obese, the amount of work required is much more strenuous than someone who has a better set of circumstances.

You have to be willing to completely throw away the idea of Unfair. It doesn’t matter, at all. Allowing yourself to wallow in the unfairness of being handed a set of physical circumstances that are difficult to manage solves nothing; it’s excuse making. The chances of anyone been a successful dieter while thinking “I can’t ever lose any weight, so I’m going to eat half a gallon of Cherry Garcia ice cream!” are slim. Get your mind in the right place.

The best advice I can give to anyone who’s willing to put in the work is to advise them to be a scientist on their own behalf. Rather than just jumping on a branded diet and expect it to work, do your research. Learn and understand the hows and whys of your body, as much as you can. Learn the consequences of your actions, your trigger foods, the times of day that are worst for you.

If you aren’t willing to put in the hard work necessary, you will fail.

While it may appear to most that I’m losing weight quickly so they want to know what I’m doing to lose it, I’m really not losing weight quickly. It’s been a long process of ebbs and flows, of periods of no loss and some regain, and times where I’ve been so frustrated that I’ve been tempted to give up. I’ve had to stick to it and change my tactics every time I’ve hit a roadblock. Right now, I’m doing well; in a couple of months, I may have to completely change what I’m doing. And I have to find the balance between being impatient and waiting too long to change something. You have to find your own way, just like success in anything else.

Dispelling Possible Rumors: I will say this much. I restrict carbs and calories, and I move more. As I continue to lose weight, I’ll have to increase my physical activity.

I am a middle-aged menopausal female with severe thyroid issues and other complications, including metabolic syndrome. I am under a doctor’s care and I do take prescription drugs for these issues. While medical intervention has helped fight my body’s defective mechanisms, the actual work involved in getting the weight off is mine; simply popping a pill will not be effective for the vast majority of us.

I have not had weight loss surgery. I have several friends who have successfully lost weight with surgical methods; they will be the first people to tell you that it isn’t an easy answer to a tough problem. It still requires commitment and lifestyle changes. While I applaud these women for their hard work and successes, I would not choose this particular solution for myself.

I do not believe in fad diets. While I do take a number of supplements meant to help correct my body’s chemical makeup, I do not use or endorse the use of shakes, bars, products that are meant for other uses but tout weight loss, or other such methods. Nearly all of the foods I eat are whole foods. I may on occasion have a meal bar with me if I’m in a situation where getting a meal on plan may be difficult. But I do not endorse any method that simply helps you lose weight and does not teach you how to change your lifestyle.

The fact is you can lose a ton of weight — and quickly — with many such methods, but if you don’t know how to maintain the loss, and you’ve learned nothing about changing your lifestyle, and your head isn’t in the right place, you might as well expect the weight to pile back on.

The Truth: I know most of this is not what people want to hear, but it’s the truth, in my experience. And in the long run, while I say it’s hard work, it does get easier as time goes on; if you find your rhythm, your support, and your incentives as you improve, changing your lifestyle isn’t as daunting a few months or a year into a process as it is when you first dive in.


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