I Gave Up On Trying To Lose Weight & I Look Amazing Now

I spent so long being critical of my appearance and desperately trying to shed a few pounds and failed miserably. In fact, it wasn’t until I stopped trying almost altogether that it actually happened.

It’s not that I’m fat, I’m just less toned than I’d like to be.

It’s no surprise that the less weight you have to lose, the harder it is to make anything happen. For me, an all-around fit, average sized person, getting rid of those last few pounds felt like running uphill with a tractor-trailer attached to my back.

When you’ve always led an active lifestyle, losing weight is hard AF.

The easiest way people lose weight is by suddenly starting an exercise regimen or going cold turkey on their habit of drinking a 2-liter bottle of Coke every day or going to McDonald’s five times a week. Those kinds of drastic changes can make a big difference, but since I’m fit, otherwise active, and mostly healthy, every professional I talked to and plan I found on Google said that I had to majorly alter my actions if I wanted to see any results.

Counting calories and cutting carbs is depressing, not effective.

I’ve followed more nutrition plans than you probably ever knew existed, and all that happened was that I got moody as hell. In fact, sometimes it made me gain weight because after a few days of eating 100% clean, I’d say screw it and binge on junk food and do twice the damage I would’ve done just eating normally. The harder I tried to lose weight by working on my food intake, the less the scale budged.

I stopped depriving myself and I felt like a different person.

When I decided to quit ignoring the cravings and stopped keeping track of everything that went into my mouth, a giant weight was lifted (no pun intended). It’s not like I suddenly started pounding back the sugary drinks and chocolate, but when I wasn’t holding myself to impossible standards, I was able to enjoy food again. You can be conscious of what you’re eating and still enjoy the foods that you actually want, even if they aren’t always the best choice.

Turns out confidence is the best weight loss hack.

Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t until I gave up on my strict regimen that I actually lost a few pounds! When I decided that my body is good enough and that my self-worth isn’t tied to my waistline, my body was under less stress, which in turn helped me not just lose some weight but look and feel better and healthier.

You can be active without sweating for hours at the gym.

Some people love dripping after a spin class or pumping iron until they feel like The Rock, but for those who don’t want to work out or can’t because of injury, there are other ways to get moving. I started taking the stairs, using a standing desk at work, and going for walks when the weather allows. My whole outlook on exercise changed when I stopped placing demands on my self to do a traditional workout daily.

The people who love you won’t care about your appearance.

No matter how much I told myself I was losing weight for me, the real pressure was coming from my desire to impress others. Like anything else, doing something for external validation isn’t smart or healthy, and the truth is that the people that you want in your life won’t care if you’re 10 pounds over your ideal weight. It sounds insanely cliche to say it’s what’s on the inside that matters, but when I stopped trying to get a body that would impress other people, I felt more like myself.

Weight is going to fluctuate daily, especially if you’re female.

No matter how low your body fat percentage is, the way our digestive systems works means that the number on the scale is going to move up and down randomly every day, even if you ate the same thing and moved the same amount. Once I accepted that fact and stopped panicking because I was a few pounds heavier after a night of too many shots or when I was on my period, I realized that my general set point for my weight wasn’t as scary as I thought.

When it comes to how you look, sleep matters more than you think.

What you eat and how you move certainly matter when it comes to feeling and looking your best, but don’t shrug off other lifestyle factors. Sleep is one of the biggest things people blow off because they don’t think it makes a difference or because having a life is more fun. But not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your body and make weight loss impossible. I started sleeping more and staying up late less and the pounds started falling off.

Everyone around me has noticed how much happier I am, and it has nothing to do with weight.

It’s totally possible to have a glow about you without being down 10 or 15 pounds. I’m proof that learning to love my body, quitting the fad dieting, and deciding to just live my life have made all the difference. My family, friends and even co-workers have commented on how great I look, and they’re not talking about weight.

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