It’s been quite a while since I started my weight loss journey. July 25, 2016 when it all began. And as expected, I’ve made some mistakes along the way, which I’d like to share in this article, in hopes of others not having the incurring the same errors, or at least a chance to do things better. Also, it’s been almost two months since the last time I posted on this blog, and during those two months, I’ve been observing myself and other people inside the gym, finding best practices, as well as also realizing some stuff that I should and should not be doing.
So, without further ado, here are the mistakes I’ve encountered along the way:
- I did not research enough.
Yes, I did my due diligence in trying to find what would work or what wouldn’t work for me over the internet, but along the way, I found better ways of doing my routines. I was able to research that the way I made each step when I ran may be causing enough strain on my body to cause permanent damage. I found out that there was a better way of lifting weights without injuring myself. With the help of family and friends who also went through the same journey, I was able to identify which parts needed to be worked on. Those kinds of things. There are a lot more, and to enumerate all of my findings here would probably use up the entire article. However, the point I want to make is simple, research, research, and research. There were tons of information out there that was very helpful, depending on how I wanted to proceed with my weight loss journey. So, I punched in the time and found out what suited me best, depending on my current physique, and how I wanted to see myself in front of the mirror in 60, 90, or 120 days from now.
- At times, I gave up.
There were days when I would feel a lot of pain, especially after a day’s extensive strength training. The next day I would feel like not going to the gym. And yes, there were days when I would just stay home and heal up, while trying to recall what I may have done (or not done) to cause the soreness. But after a day or two, I’d still get back up on my feet, and head back to the gym, and take some more pain. It’s okay to miss a day or two, after all, moderate physical activity means working out, at most, five times a week. But the important thing is, I never went more than two days without having any form of physical activity because I dreaded that if I gave it a third day, then it would eventually become four, five, until I find myself back in the same position on the couch, eating away and packing up on calories once more, a vision that I no longer want to see, ever again.
- I pushed hard; more than I could take.
During the first four weeks of being enrolled at the closest gym, I found myself very excited to wake up every day at four in the morning, just so I can get my gear and start working out. We were paying good money for the membership, so I figured, might as well maximize the equipment. Wrong. I did more than my body could handle, and this caused my previous point, where I would have to stay at home because my body was too sore to move. This is when I realized that weight loss is not an overnight journey. It’s not something that you decide to do, then lift a couple of pounds extremely, and expect to see results the next day. With what I’ve researched, muscle fiber breaks down every time I lifted weights. This was what caused the soreness the day after. However, because I was lifting way too heavy than my body could handle, I was ripping apart a lot of muscle fiber than I should have. I was able to research that I did not have to over exert myself; I could pretty much be at a comfortable, yet strained, level of work out, and not be too sore the next day. What mattered was that every session, I was able to have the same number of repetitions on my chosen muscle family for the day and complete the number of reps. Eventually, the weight I was able to lift became heavier, simply because the muscles healed better, and not a lot was being ripped apart too quickly, giving it time to adjust and form better ones to replace it.
- I did not hydrate enough.
In everything I researched, there was one common denominator that I forgot once in a while, and that was to hydrate myself. And I mean, really, fully, hydrate myself every time. When we workout and sweat, those fluids need to be replaced immediately. Also, in a previous article I posted, I discussed the body’s natural ability to go into ‘survival mode’ once it detects that it wasn’t getting sustained enough. By not drinking enough water regularly, the body tends to retain water, thus giving me the answer as to why I wasn’t peeing enough, and I wasn’t losing weight too much anymore. My body was retaining the water, because it felt that it wasn’t getting enough of it. The same is true with food; on days when I didn’t eat much, I didn’t go to the toilet as much, and my body was retaining all these carbs and fat, so that it has something to burn later on, just because I was already on survival mode. Losing weight doesn’t mean depriving oneself of water or food, it means hydrating and sustaining with controlled portions. This whole journey made me realize, to always have water with me, and make sure to have a light snack in between meals.
- There are no shortcuts.
The time that it took for me to cram and accumulate all that fat inside me, meant that I would have to exert effort a hundred times to shed it off. If I deprived myself of water or food, so that I could cut corners and lose all these flabs at a short amount of time, meant I wouldn’t get sufficient nutrients, my body would go into survival mode, and eventually, I would get sick. By not following a specific set diet, it would mean that the next day, I would not have enough energy source to complete the 40 mins of running on the treadmill, it meant that I would be too weak to do three sets of 15 reps on the bench press. There were a lot of consequences that I immediately faced just because I gave in to temptation, or simply because I tried to shorten the time it took to lose weight by not eating. There are no shortcuts to losing weight. I had to put the time in. If I had the time to work, earn money, so that eventually I could enjoy a good meal, then I should be able to put in the same effort inside the gym. Besides, office work meant 8 to 10 hours per day, what’s 60 to 90 minutes to give my body the treatment and respect it deserved? Diet pills, diet tea, and all these other drinks and food that one could take, they have ingredients that could definitely help out. However, I became careful with what I ingested. I took the harder route and just put in the time inside the gym. Besides, most diet pills and tea meant suppressing appetite. Sure, it meant I’ll be lighter because I wasn’t going to be eating enough. However, when I thought about it, I needed the energy the next day, I needed something to burn for my physical activity, why would I deprive myself of these fuel cells by drinking or ingesting appetite-suppressants? Big no-no for me. I’d rather feel secured that I lost weight because I sweat it out, because I was replacing fat with muscle, rather than take something into my body and who knows what repercussions I’ll have to face once those are in me.
It’s a never-ending learning experience. But what I learned most importantly: losing weight is a battle. It’s a battle against my own self. It was a fight between me and my laziness, my excuses, my weakness. Something in me was going to eventually cause long term problems, and I wanted to get rid of it while I still can, rather than wait before my body forces me to exercise. I chose to do this now, because I want to, rather than later on, because I have to. Big difference. Along the way, these are the mistakes I made, and I’m sure a lot of people can do better.