Updated: Sep 21
It was a long road, & it didn't need to be that long! Here are the mistakes I made when I wanted to lose weight. Have you made them too?
I'm not sure if I fall into the "thin privilege" category. I say this as a disclosure, because I have never been in a situation where I have needed to lose weight for medical reasons.
However there was a time, when I was busy living my best life dancing, sailing, and exploring corners of the world I had only dreamed about, that extra weight was creeping onto my waistline.
My clothing was getting tighter; my costumes for work were fitting differently (in a slightly uncomfortable way); I was buying clothing in my "usual size," and things didn't fit as expected. I couldn't explain it! Have you ever been in a similar situation?
The ultimate downfall was when my co workers were booking future work- I wasn't. Some of my co workers were getting into unreal shape for their next assignments, and I felt like anything I tried to do was doing the opposite of what I wanted. Here's what I tried.
I went strictly vegetarian.
I thought my problem was that my diet wasn't healthy enough. "It must be the mayonnaise- heavy tuna salad that I eat every day." Rather than pin pointing a specific food as my victim, I wasn't looking at major matters such as my caloric intake vs. caloric use; my alcohol consumption; the quality of my meals overall (not just the suspect tuna salad). So, I went vegetarian in the assumption weight would just melt off me. It backfired, because my protein and essential fatty acid needs were severely deprived. Moreover, the quality of the vegetables that were available to me was less than ideal.
I tried intermittent fasting.
In my Google search- fever of "how to lose weight in a healthy way," I came across a lot of research about intermittent fasting (it was trending in 2016). I thought it would be challenging, but I'd give it a go because I really did need this expanding waistline to go too! Most of the articles I was reading suggested an eating window of 11am to 7pm. That's all fine and dandy...if the bulk of my working hours were in the conventional daytime. I tried adhering to an unrealistic eating window, which was working against my nocturnal working hours. The majority of my energy expenditure was occurring in the evening/ night time (performing in high energy shows), and I would be STARVING after work. More often than not, I would end up breaking my eating window because I absolutely couldn't go to bed hungry.
I hit the cardio machines first, and didn't lift "heavy" dumbbells.
I went against the research here- I wanted to outsmart my own Google history. General fitness advice was telling me to prioritize the bulk of my energy to the first portion of my workout. Cardio= weight loss= duh! Onto the elliptical I went. I hated it. I suffered through it, because cardio equates to weight loss, right?? I didn't come across the fact that muscle tissue requires more energy than fat deposits. Boy, do I wish I could take back the weeks of my life I've ever been on an elliptical against my will.
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I bought a workout programme, from someone who had never worked on cruise ships before.
In all honesty, this was probably the smartest effort I had when it came to losing weight. However, the return on my investment was limited. It was limited, because the workout- obsessed individual that I purchased said program from was neither a certified fitness professional, nor was this individual actually familiar with the equipment that you can find in the gyms on cruise ships! Whilst the structure I got put me into a routine which would allow me to build real strength that I could see and feel, it was discouraging when certain equipment that was itemized in my workout programme wasn't available to me in the actual gym setting. This caused additional stress; at the time, I didn't think of how stress could be an underlying cause as to why I wasn't seeing numbers shift on the scale/ my clothes fitting normally again.
I told myself I couldn't have desserts more than twice per week.
I fell into a vicious cycle of binge and restrict, because I swapped to a restrictive mindset around my favourite foods. I tried to convince myself to cut out sugar, but I wasn't trying to be equally as convincing with the foods I needed to incorporate more of in order to support my nutrient needs. I focused so much on what I "shouldn't have" or "couldn't eat" in order to reach a weight loss goal, that when I did have dessert I would be having double or triple what I would normally have in order to make up for the fact that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the foods on a daily basis (because- weight loss? Right?).
I had a punishment mindset when it came to making changes.
I think this was the biggest mistake of all- I was punishing myself for failing myself. I had always been the "thin" one, the "fit" one; however, my ideal of this was incredibly skewed. In my mind, I was trying to achieve an unrealistic low-point weight that wasn't healthy, nor was it attainable in the longer term. Unrealistic expectations create more stress, which contributes to more inflammation, which snowballs into lack of energy and self- confidence.
I wish I had Empowered To Go when I was experiencing this, because I could have been more successful if I had the right tools and information, from someone who has been there. Mistakes I made could've easily been addressed, quickly redirected, and I would have been on my way to better health in a much quicker time frame!
Have you made any mistakes when you've wanted to lose weight before?