It's common to start your weight loss or feel great journey with a real bang and expect to feel amazing, to kick ass, and to look how you want to within a few weeks only. The reality is often the complete opposite, so we touch on some of the good and the bad expectations of your health journey.
A couple of important things we want everyone to understand is that health is most definitely not a box that once you're there, you'll just hang out with all the other healthy people forever, happily ever after. More realistically it is a terrain full of obstacles and hurdles that for every step closer you get to "healthy" the goals change and the direction you need to travel is different to last week.
It's not easy.
In fact, sometimes it feels damn near impossible. Someone brought some ice cream over, and you promised yourself you wouldn't have any, but two bowls in, you're feeling awful, yet still spooning more into your mouth. It happens, but it is important to figure out to get over it.
Starting out is tough, mentally and physically. Everything burns during exercise and aches afterward. You get back to the gym one morning and forget easily how far you've come and struggle to get through the next 45 minutes. You focus too much on what you can't do instead of looking at what you can do. You forget that the challenge is to keep doing the painful and hard things until you nail them.
You may not reach the picture you have for yourself, because it is not realistic.
There can be no such article like this one without mentioning our horrific media, unrealistic pressure from society, and the painfully brutal images that we feel we should fit into. What the hell is thigh gap and why should we have one again? We forget constantly that the quotes we see about strong being the new skinny is still not true in our minds. It needs to be, but we focus on a small population box we want to fit into. Comparison will be the death of you, and while yes this is all easier said than done, it is important to note that at some point in your journey, you'll need to figure out why you're doing this and work out if the reason is sustainable enough to drive you forever.
There can be some ugly symptoms
Headaches, skin breakouts, bowel issues, tiredness and emotional turmoil to name a few are some of the consequences of "shaking up" your system and starving it of some of the processed foods you've been feeding it. Think of your unhealthy habits as a family of sleeping giants that need to be woken and kicked out one by one. It's going to take some time, it's going to give you a headache, it's going to cause bathroom and skin issues. Don't give up, because you'll get there eventually, one step at a time, and for every giant, there are tools and people who will support you.
Stress is a killer
We will touch on stress in its own article another day but know one thing if you know nothing else. Stress will be your biggest obstacle. It will make you overthink, it will cause sugar cravings, it will stop your progress in its tracks and it will make you feel awful throughout. Training and good food is step one, managing stress and mindset is very closely step two. If you do nothing else this week, learn how to take a meditative moment or a 20 minute yoga class online.
Weight and size loss
For some it may be dramatic, for others not so much, but if you are overweight, then you should see some weight loss. Usually it is quite a lot at the beginning and then it starts to plateau but you should still see it. Don't focus on the scales alone though, instead take a look at how your clothes fit and how you feel. If you're not seeing anything but you're being honest about how well you're doing, then seek some professional help to find out if there are underlying issues that may be hindering your efforts.
Food will get better and your tastes will change
The best thing about eating better food is you stop craving the less than ideal. Chocolate and wine can stay, but the deep fried and drive through options become less of what you want, and if you do eat them, you don't get the same satisfaction from them anymore. You start to enjoy new recipes and your tastes vary and widen.
You will get better, stronger, and healthier
No matter how slowly, you will continue to do better than the week before. If you started off barely being able to do one push up, and now you can do three then that's an improvement. If you used to have a muffin and coke for breakfast and now you have a smoothie and some nuts you're nailing it. One step at a time remember. You're allowed to fall off the wagon at times, that is called living, but the way you get back on will be easier and less complicated each time.
You deserve this
People often see the negatives only of new lifestyle changes but think about it as if you really deserve to be healthy and happy, because you know what? You do! You should start to feel more confident in your ability in everything. The smile you have should be wider and more genuine and you should feel happier in general.
By reducing chemical exposure, stress, and processed foods and focusing on more whole vegetables and fruits you will help your liver do the best job it can. This creates a better organ for estrogen detoxification for example, which is key to weight management, more energy and better sleep. It's not just good enough to look good, but you want to feel amazing.
Reduced need for medications
Companies make a lot of money off medications and keeping people sick but one of the biggest changes many of my clients see in their health journey is the reduction in simple meds like statins, pain meds, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety meds. Of course, this happens with the advice and watchful eye of their specialist or GP but the amount of people who have healthy bloods, pain free lives and reduced need for medications is a huge indicator of what appropriate diet changes and correct exercise can achieve.
Weight loss aside, we see time and time again how much people glow when they feel good about themselves. It's a combination of great immunity, healthy skin, better sleep and more vibrant energy. At a cellular level, it is hormone balance, neurotransmitter production, gut health and anti-inflammatory conditions. A smile is the sexiest thing a person can wear and this is by far the best thing about feeling healthier.