Weight loss: Things I’ve learned thus far …

Things I’ve learned on my weight loss journey …

Set realistic goals
One of the first goals that I set was to go to the gym every day for an entire month. With a loving, supporting and flexible wife I was able to hit that goal.

In retrospect, probably not the smartest goal I’ve ever set. I wasn’t killing it each visit, but still, I learned that your body needs time to rest between workouts.

Share your journey with your spouse and/or close friends. It’s always great when you have others to hold you accountable.

It’s better with friends. 
Getting connected with my F3 buddies (Fitness. Fellowship. Faith.) has made all the difference in the world. I’m thankful for them pushing me to be better physically and spiritually.

Also because I’m back in the gym, our friends signed up for a membership too. So now Kyndal and I have gym buddies. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard from mine in a while. Time to send a few texts!! We’ve got to hold each other accountable.

It needs to be hard!
Yes. You read that right. If it isn’t hard, you’ll get bored and drop it. By setting the bar high and pushing yourself, it makes all the difference in the world. That’s one of the key principles of F3. Who willingly gets up to workout at 5:30 a.m. with a bunch of guys? It’s because it’s hard and we encourage each other along the way.

For example, when I started working out with F3, the other guys would do 10 push-ups, I would do 5, then 8 and so on. Building over time. Don’t try and kill it, but you do have to push yourself. I still struggle with this. Just ask my buddy, John.

Don’t step on that scale!
If you want to see progress then don’t step on the scales often. It was at the 2-month mark before I stepped on the scale once I started this go-round. 2 months! Do you know how hard it is to walk past the scales in your office and at the gym, all day, every day?! It’s ok. You can do it! Push yourself.

How do you know you’re making progress without the scales? For me, my clothing — especially my belt — told me that progress was being made.

I’ve since stepped on the scale more often. In the past, I’ve tried to only weigh on payday (every other week). If you allow a period of time between weigh-ins, it will help you to see a difference, that’s for sure.

There’s an app for that. 
I started using an app, then after getting my Fitbit I transitioned to their app. There are several. Pick one and you’ll thank yourself in the months to come.

Track what you’re doing. 
Track your food and your exercise. You don’t have to have a fitness tracker (Fitbit or smartwatch) to do that. App + input = accountability and a way to measure your progress.

Calories in. Calories out. 
Before February of this year, I had never counted a calorie. I can’t even begin to imagine how many calories I was eating at one point in my life. Crazy!!!

Exercise is good. It will make you feel better, BUT it is really all about portion control. What are you consuming and what are you burning each day.

Talk about your journey. 
People will gladly chime in. Some will offer helpful tips, others might confuse you or overwhelm you. Find a place to start. Some people focus on carbs others on sugars, sodium, etc. I found calories to be a great place to start. Easy to find and easy to track.

You CAN eat fast food and lose weight. 
I eat at Chick-fil-A multiple times a week. I hit up J. O’Gradys in downtown Sumter and even Subway. You just have to make good decisions about what you’re eating. I’ve also found the Artisan chicken sandwich, grilled snack wrap and the strawberry banana smoothie at McD’s to be quite good too.

The Market Salad from Chick-fil-A is the bomb! Whoever thought grilled chicken, nuts, berries, granola, strawberries and honey mustard could taste so good!

Also, steer clear of frozen dinners or prepackaged meals, those jokers are packed with sodium!

Drink LOTS of water. Sodas are wasted and empty calories. Sometimes I’ll mix my tea — 1/2 water and half tea — just be mindful of the calories you’re consuming as you hydrate. You can cut sodas and notice a difference right off the bat.

It’s going to be hard but push through. 
There have been times when my family would order a pizza. I’d eat what I was going to eat to align with my goals and the remaining pizza looked so darn good. I had to keep telling myself, “You don’t need it!” Keep telling yourself that. Seriously.

Also when you see how long it takes to burn calories, you’ll think twice about that slice anyway!

It’s OK to cheat, once a week.
Set aside one day  — at most two — where you can go over a little. Save a special treat like a milkshake, big cookie or slice of Baker’s Sweets cake. However, when you see how many calories are in that milkshake, you’ll never look at them the same, just saying.

Kill two birds with one stone. 
I sometimes go to the gym, set my pace at 3 mph, walk and read my Bible or book via my Kindle or iPad mini. I’ve found it relaxing. I could care less about TV, so it’s a good way to exercise both my body and mind at the same time. Plus I get in some much-needed reading.

Food and nutrition labels are your friend. Make sure to look at portion sizes and the number of servings per package. Some items will say 70 calories, but the package contains two servings.

Last, but not least, prayer!
Thank God for the strength to move and exercise your body. We take so many daily tasks for granted. Talk to Him as you go on this journey. He wants to hear from you.

A man for whom Christ died,

Walking daily and encouraging others along the way!
1 Corinthians 15:58