Monday, November 11, 2013

Trend Bucking

This blog's title is "Unsolicited Advice," a fact which I hope you've noticed.  One of the reasons I started writing it was to share my opinions and my advice, regardless of whether or not folks asked to hear either.  (I also felt it was important to open a discussion on fries and dipping.)  Up until now, though, I haven't really offered any advice to make folks bristle, and I haven't had anyone openly disagree with advice I've given.  This post might buck that trend.

Not my feet.
I'm here to tell you that if you need to, lose weight.  Just do it!  I'll tell you how, too.  Eat healthy, exercise more.  I totally get that it isn't always that simple.  I know there are medications, illnesses, imbalances, injuries, and genetics that complicate the weight loss process.  For those of you with a legitimate medical reason for being overweight, stop reading here; this is not for you.  But for the majority of the people who are at an unhealthy weight, it is that simple.  I realized today (not because of you, or you, or you, I promise) that people need to be informed of this fact.  I'll say it again.  Eat healthy.  Exercise more.

You know what I hear a lot?  "I've tried everything, and I just can't lose weight."  YES YOU CAN!  The "everything" that most people have tried is everything but eating healthy and exercising more.  Think about it.

Pills.  Powders.  Wraps.  Books.  Drops.  Social networking (a.k.a., spending time that could be spent exercising at the computer logging food items into a database, comparing stories with internet friends, and shopping for smaller clothes to wear when you get to your goal weight).  C'mon.  I know you know this is true:  There is no miraculous shortcut.  It isn't that you just haven't found the right pill, the right thing to cut out of your diet, or the right website to encourage you.  It's that you've been trying to take the easy way out of doing something hard.

Here's something else I often hear: "I really want to lose weight, but I just have no willpower."  My (inner, because I'm terrible at saying what I think if it might hurt someone's feelings) thought is immediately, "Then you don't really want to lose weight."  Anything you really want to accomplish, you can.  I'm completely confident in the truth of that statement.  The Ironman in the bathroom stall next to you.  Boston qualified, marathon pacer, mom of 3 boys.  Someone who really wanted to change things.  I could go on for days with examples of regular people like you and me who did hard things.  Me, I quit smoking after over 10 years of a pack-a-day addiction.  I didn't use a patch, or pills, hypnosis or lasers.  I was able to quit because I wanted to quit, and that desire was strong enough to get me through the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  When you really want to lose weight, you'll have the willpower to resist the junk food, and you'll find the will to stick with an effective exercise regime.

I'm not saying it's easy, I'm saying it's simple.  There's quite a difference.  Healthy eating might mean making a lot of changes, some of which might not be popular with your family.  I've found that planning in advance makes it a lot easier to cook healthy meals, and you'll be a lot less likely to stop for fast food if you have dinner already planned.  I'll give you a few quick changes you can make in order to eat healthier.  Ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Baked instead of fried.  Homemade instead of processed.  Less instead of more.  Vegetables don't need butter, cheese, or bacon added to taste good.  Drink water.  I've got a lot more tips and recipes, and I know how to make really delicious treats that are much healthier than they taste.

Making exercise a daily habit isn't an easy thing, either, but it is so important.  You'll feel better.  You'll look better.  You'll be able to think more clearly, breathe easier, sleep better, and live longer.  It's not a shortcut, but the results of regular exercise can seem miraculous.

So, buck the weight-loss trends, and start losing weight.  Eat healthy foods.  Exercise.  If you want to, you'll do it.

Any questions for me?  I'll happily share recipes and exercise plans.

Got an inspiring success story?  Do tell!


  1. Personally I think that any kind of problem someone can't overcome (being over weight, an addiction, etc) comes from the inside more than any external factors; it's not not having the knowledge. It's not dealing with underlying issues that prevent them from taking action & following through with their goal. Most people with weight problems aren't just overweight because they don't eat the right things, exercise, and take the time to plan ahead. Yes, these external factors prevent them from maintaining a healthy weight, but the inner issues are the bigger culprit in my opinion. The attaching emotions with food, overcompensating, low self worth, lack of faith, etc. Plus the foods that they've been putting into their bodies may be like poison (like being addicted to sugar, which I totally believe most people are & don't know it). Not a perfect answer, but just random thoughts I pulled together when reading your post;-) People do blog about healthy living (and losing weight) for many reasons including connecting with others, increasing accountability, learning new things, and finding inspiration/motivation...

    1. I agree with you- most people know what they need to do to get where they want/need to be. But, at the same time, it seems like so many people are looking for the easy way out, and it just doesn't exist. When I was searching for images for this post, I typed "losing weight with" and the first 2 of google's auto-finish searches were: "losing weight without exercise" and "losing weight without trying." I feel that in many cases (not yours, your focus on health, fitness, and strength are really admirable) people spend too much time thinking about, planning for, and talking about losing weight or making healthy choices, and not nearly enough time actually working at being healthier.

      p.s. I'm definitely addicted to sugar. And salt. But, I'm also addicted to running, and I love vegetables & fruits, so I figure that things balance out. ;-)

  2. I do think that people want the easy answers/solutions (including us at times I'm sure!) and it's easier to make excuses/play the victim card (talk about sounding harsh) than to just do something about it...only that it isn't! It's easier (I suffer from procrastination sometimes) to just look at the task once & do it, rather than keep putting it off...maybe we all have something that we don't want/don't like to do that we deal with in this way. It's also normative behavior for someone to "not want to know" (ie avoidance) because they don't want to own it & do the work to make it better (could be anything from a relationship to finances to weight). I know I'm a "doer," but not everyone is and I need to not let the way I choose to handle things allow me to judge others (own personal issue, not saying it's yours!). We all make choices...I feel like this could be a good "how do I feel about life" conversation that we could have in person:-)

  3. I agree, agree, agree. Regarding will power - for me it all comes down to cravings, and avoidance thereof. I have found that certain foods trigger cravings. For example, if I avoid foods made with wheat, after a couple days I stop craving sweets. I find it way easier to skip the wheat than fight the cravings.