Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Since I embarked on my journey, I have used social media to post my progress partly because it’s a lovely ego boost, but mainly because I hope that seeing my success will motivate others to achieve their own goals.
In so doing I have learnt a lot about the nature of people and have become hardened to the haters and flabbergasted at the audacity of the pervs.
My gosh the pervs.
Who knew that posting a before and after photo would be the catalyst for so many blokes feeling it necessary to send me dick pics?
What in the world do these guys think us ladies are gonna do upon receiving an unsolicited photo of a penis? Do they genuinely think that upon seeing said dick pic we are immediately going to get hot under the collar, get out our foof’s and send a clit pic?
Incidentally I’m now an expert in the privacy and security settings, and I report this crap so often I’m on a first name basis with the Facebook police. :)
And then there are the haters, thankfully these are few and far between and I tend to find that other people who had already commented positive things on my posts go for the jugular of the haters before I even get a chance to read the original comment.
The main two hater comments are to insist “I have lost too much weight and now look anorexic”. Thing is with this I suffered from anorexia when I was about 15, I know what it was like to feel so out of control of everything in my life and feel so numb that the prospect of obsessively controlling my eating and the subsequently feeling of hunger made me feel both in control and alive because even a feeling of hunger is better than feeling nothing at all. Not only are these kinds of comments callous but they are dangerous because anyone on there wanting to ask for advice might think that starvation is the way to do it.
The other usual comment is in response to my before and after face photos, and the haters say, “you looked happier when you were bigger”. This is actually a very common hater comment I see on many other people’s before and afters. On the surface of it, yes, we do look happier but often our wide smiling faces in the before photo is to overcompensate for the true feelings of sadness underneath. We don’t want people to think we are unhappy and so we make out like we are living our best lives. When we have made the changes and the changes are made to our body and of course our faces, we are truly happy and truly living our best lives and we therefore don’t have to overcompensate and as result the after smile is usually a lot smaller because no longer need to hide behind a fake smile.
Though, and thankfully both the pervs and haters are a very small proportion of the people who react. The largest proportion of people simply like the post and sometimes they comment with a ‘well done’ or ‘congrats’ and my favourite s ‘I needed to see this today, thank you’ my fave because this is the motivating for me to post in the first place.
The final group of people that comment is the group of people the rest of this post is aimed at. And it’s not just for those that ask as a response to my posts, but those who out of the blue contact me. This is for those of you that have asked me for help/advise.
Most of the time the person asking for advise has reached a point where they feel like they need to change and so far, no one has ever said I want to become fitter or I want to become healthier, it is also I want to lose weight and they therefore ask me what do I eat, what exercise do I do, what is the secret?
The idea of going on a diet should be absurd because the term diet is having nothing to do with losing weight, in nutritional terms it is literally the food and liquids we as humans and all other organisms consume to gain hydration and nourishment. The problem is over the years the term diet has been confused with ‘going on a diet to lose weight.’ Which brings me to the second issue, weight loss. Our weight fluctuates throughout the day/week/month you could literally weigh yourself 3 times a day for 7 days and you would not be the exact same weight at any point. Not only this but if you are using standard bathroom scales you're literally only measuring your overall weight. So if you are losing fat but gaining muscle your scales won’t be able to tell you the difference.
When you strip away all layers ultimately to lose fat you need to ensure that your intake of calories is less than you burn. There are dozens of apps that can help you work out what your BMR (base metabolic rate), in other words the number of calories you need for your height, age, gender and activity level.
The issue with fad diets including the ones that have you counting points or syns they aren’t a long-term solution in other words they are not sustainable. The reason for this is that none of them address your current habits, they don’t address how you reached the weight you are. They don’t teach you the nutritional or calorific value in anything. What they do is teach you to rely on them so that you will keep spending your money or their membership/products.
Why we often fail and how to avoid them.
We are vague with our goal. Such as ‘I’m going to be good’ well what does that mean? It’s like not actually having goal posts on a pitch and expecting the striker to know where to kick the ball. Then berating them for missing the invisible goal.
Think about what you want to achieve, and then back engineer it into the steps you need to take to achieve that goal. Each one of those steps becomes a goal on its own. The other thing is to be realistic about those goals, is it achievable and is the timeframe I’ve given realistic?
We try to take on too much at once. This is this possibly the most insidious of all the reasons because we don’t realize we are doing it. There are very few people in the world who can completely change their diet overnight and sustain it. Most of us bite off more than we can chew, in other words setting ourselves up to fail. Trying to make all those changes at once almost always fails and we then berate ourselves, think of ourselves as weak and the fat that we wanted to lose seems even more impossible. And it puts us off trying again because who wants to feel like a failure?
Following on from solution number 1, making small changes often adds up to big changes overtime. I’m Vegan, but I didn’t suddenly just wake up and decide to be. It took time to phase out things in my diet and adjust. If I had tried to go Vegan overnight, I would have failed. Same with running, I’m now at the stage of being able to run continuously for over 2 hours but when I started, I couldn’t run 2 miles without stopping and if I had tried to get anywhere near 2 hours of running, I’d have given up. I gradually built up my strength and stamina week by week.
As another example of this, if you take x2 tsp of sugar in your coffee/tea reduce that to x1tsp and once you have got used to the taste, half it again and so on. If you have a couple of biscuits with your afternoon tea, reduce that to one biscuit, then to no biscuits.
Picking an exercise based on the belief that it will get you the fastest results regardless of if you enjoy that activity. In other words if you’re making yourself do an exercise that you hate, you are significantly less likely to be consistent at it and it’s just going to feel like torture and like number 2, you will stop doing it and feel like you’ve failed, and that fat loss goal will seem like a fantasy.
As mentioned in my example above, I love running it’s my thing. As a child I was always on the sports team in secondary school it was cross country in the winter and athletics in the summer. When I left 6th form, I just stopped, it was like my18 year old brain didn’t realise I was allowed to carry on running outside of the school environment and over the years I got out of the habit. When I made the decision to become healthier mentally and physically it just made sense to me to run. What it meant was even if I didn’t feel completely up to exercising I did it, because I knew that as soon as I got out there and started running, I would enjoy it. Group exercise sessions are not my bag at all, it’s just not for me and if I had to do them to get fit, I would have given up. The other point is its ok to try a bunch. Don’t feel like there is nothing for you because you’re not a runner or a gym person.
Keeping it to yourself is never a good idea, because the people around you will not know to change their own behaviour to support you and will continue to offer you foods that you have decided to cut down on.
Tell the people around you, particularly if you live with other people, they will need to know what you plan to do, so if you did decide to cut down on sugar in your tea, they will need to know this when they are making you a cup. Tell the people you work will, tell everyone. Not only will they then be able to support you, but in moments of weakness knowing that people will ask you about how it’s going might be enough to avoid the temptation.
Not exercising at all. If you don’t become active fat loss will be much harder because you will have less calories to eat to remain in calorie deficit and each time you measure yourself or try those jeans on, you will feel disheartened.
Walking is exercise and even if you hate all other kinds setting yourself a walking goal will help you achieve your other goals.
Have more than one goal. If your only goal is to lose fat, then you will be hyper focused on seeing fat loss results and this takes time, but if you have others goals some short term and some long term then this will help you shift focus. It could be an activity such as aiming to take 10k steps for a week if you were averaging 8k
When I embarked on my own journey, I decided that my exercise goal was to run my third marathon, and my nutritional goal was to become healthier and the hidden goal (the one which at the time I was not ready to talk about) was cutting down/out alcohol. Fat loss was not a goal, I knew I would lose fat in achieving my other goals, but it wasn’t what motivated me. I ended up losing just over 6 stones, and I genuinely believe that if fat loss had been my only goal, I would still be 6 stones heavier than I am now.
I hope this helps.