Week 5: Patience is a weight loss virtue

 

As I slowly adapt to my new lifestyle I find myself restless and impatient. I want to lose weight fast. I have been eating well and I have been exercising regularly and I want to see results. Faster.

For three weeks in a row now I have lost less than 1 kg a week. When I did my weigh in on day 44, I had had a really focused week, and I was confident I would lose 1kg or more. I stepped on the scale and it was only a 0.6kg drop. I was so mad. didn’t know how this could happen and I was angry because I didn’t know what else I could do. I was working out, drinking water, exercising, no sugar, free veg, small portions. Everything.

I think my trainer could see my distress and she basically explained to me that she is happy and that she doesn’t want drastic weight loss and she does not want me to cut carbs (which I really felt like doing). The focus should not be on the scale but on the centimeters I lose. When I train with her I am building muscle and when I lose each week, it needs to be pure fat loss only. So to lose 0.6kg is like losing a block of butter of body fat. Ok, so picturing the block of butter made me feel better. That block was gone. Forever.

What I learnt from our chat is that diets and eating plans that drastically eliminate carbohydrates, make you lose weight quickly, but when you lose weight, you also lose muscle. Not good. This affects your metabolism and can slow it down. So, you lose muscle and you slow down your metabolism. Then when you (inevitably) cannot sustain the “no-carb life”, most likely in a weak moment involving freshly baked croissants for example, it all goes downhill. You revert to your carb-filled life at a rapid pace, and gain all the weight (and more) you had “lost” coupled with a slower metabolism. Sadly, you just end up back at square 1 of your weight loss journey and feel hopeless. Then you do it again. And thats how you end up years later, still over weight. I know this life. Enough already.

I realised I just need to change my mindset. My mind has been indoctrinated for years that I need to eat high protein and minimal carbohydrates and then I can ‘drop 7kg in 30 days’. I was actually so proud of that, not so long ago.

But now I know better and I just need to relax and ntot put so much pressure on myself. Its tough, because I have to rewire my brain and lower my expectations. Its a struggle but I need to be patient during this process and grateful for what I have achieved so far; 7.1kg fat lost, fitter and stronger, sleeping better, mental strength, feeding my body good foods consistently, getting my family to eat better, started hiking and being a positive influence on my kids.

There is much to be proud of, so I will just remind myself of these things and try to be patient through this life-changing journey.

 

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Siham Arieff
Siham Arieff

Siham is a wellness writer, stroke survivor, mom of 3 and coffee lover on a health and fitness journey who recently relocated back home to Cape Town, South Africa.

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