So, you’ve joined the gym with the goal of weight loss in mind – congratulations! You’ve taken the first step toward a better life. Just imagining that that is possible, and then believing in yourself enough to invest in a gym membership is a big deal, so take a moment to congratulate yourself. In fact, write it down somewhere permanent – a journal is a good spot. We’ll talk more about that journal in a minute.
But first, there are a few things you need to know if you’ve joined up to lose weight. Are you ready? Would you like the good news first or the bad news?
The Bad News
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. If you are planning to lose weight by working out in the gym without making some significant nutritional changes, it will happen very, very slowly. If you are planning to lose weight by working out in the gym AND making incremental nutritional changes one step at a time, it will happen slightly less slowly. But it will be a long, S L O W process.
The Good News
Ready for the good news? The good news is, if you add regular exercise to your lifestyle and make incremental improvements to your nutrition habits, you will be making the best choice for your health and longevity, and those are the changes that are likely to stick over the long term. The other good news is that yes, weight loss done right is a long, almost painfully slow process when the scale is the only metric you use to measure your progress. Other changes you (and the people around you) will notice very quickly: inches will fall off your waist and hips, your eyes will sparkle, you’ll have fewer aches and pains, you’ll feel muscles where you haven’t felt them before, you’ll sleep better, you’ll be more alert and energetic, you’ll stand up straighter…
Wait, what? Stand up straighter? Why does that matter?
It matters because fixing your posture is the absolute fastest way to look like you’ve lost ten pounds.
Check this out:
These pictures were taken within minutes of each other. But the difference is significant, right? And it can be achieved through increasing your core and upper back strength, which can happen within a couple of weeks. Other metrics to track include measurements (which any of the friendly trainers at your gym would be happy to help you with), body composition (because when you’re getting stronger you will put on some lean mass and your blood volume will increase as your body fat decreases), watching how your clothes fit, and paying attention to how your body feels.
The Scale is a Bad Measurement
Remember, the scale is like that friend we all had in college who showed up late to class, didn’t know what was going on half the time, and took longer to figure things out because they were too busy planning parties to pay attention to what was going on around them. Its information is not entirely trustworthy and incomplete at best! But, like that friend, it will eventually figure things out. In the meantime, remember that journal that we talked about? Use that to record your new lifestyle wins for each day: inches lost, random compliments that will start coming your way, what you are liking about your workouts and how your body feels, and whatever other good things that happened – practicing a little bit of gratitude every day will keep you inspired and keep the needle on the scale moving down!