The Waiting Game: Trusting the Process of Dieting

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 They say patience is a virtue.  Well I can tell you it’s something that does not come easily to me.


My lack of patience and my “I want it now” attitude seems to have gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. One way in which it did improve though was when I dieted for my competition.


In fact, when I first decided I wanted to try my hand at competing, I told friends and co–trainers that I was giving myself 6 months. Their reaction? “Try a YEAR, Michelle.”


I was crushed when I first heard it would take me that long to reach my goal. But they had competed and they knew better than I did. I sucked it up and worked harder in that year at losing the fat and getting lean than I had ever worked at anything else. I don’t even compare it to my marathon training from the year before.


This was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And the rewards were worth it. I didn’t win a trophy of course, that was never my intention. But I made it to the stage. 


Was I disappointed that it had to take a year? Nope. In fact, looking back, I wish I would have set a 2 year goal instead. Why? Because losing fat and gaining muscle are two totally different things and you can’t do them both simultaneously.


And it takes TIME. Lots of time.


What about you?


Does it seem like it’s taking FOREVER for you to see a change in your physique?


You need to ask yourself what kind of goal you set for yourself. If you set a goal of losing more than 20lbs but you only gave yourself 3 months to do it, you probably overshot your goal. Deadlines and dates are good solid goals to set, but do yourself a huge favor and set your goal for twice as long as you THINK it should take. This way, if you hit it earlier than you thought, it’s a bonus!


Are you still feeling frustrated because of the time it’s taking? Take a step back and ask yourself why you’re doing this. Why are you dieting. What prompted you to decide one day, “I’m going to lose weight, I’ve had enough.” Are you doing it to stick around to see your grandkids grow up? Did you outgrow all your clothes and you didn’t want to go up another size? Have you always struggled with food and lack of exercise?


The point here is that there is more than just the number on the scale and more than buying new clothes. There’s the look on friends faces when you walk into the room and they say “Have you lost weight?! You look great!” There’s also the feeling of accomplishment as you turn down the desserts and the donuts at work and opt for your prepared snack instead.


There’s the increase in your energy as you have gotten better sleep lately, due to the fact that you don’t snack late at night anymore. Embrace the behavioral changes that you have made since taking on this goal. These things aren’t reflected on the scale or even in the measurements that you’re tracking. They are small but very important changes that you have made since making this lifestyle change.


I know the words “the process” aren’t exactly everyone’s favorite words. We roll our eyes when we think of it but we know it’s true. You have to trust that what you’re doing now is working. And if it isn’t, you need to make the necessary adjustments.


But if you are losing weight every month, and you see changes in your measurements, as subtle as they may be, remember THAT’S PROGRESS. You are doing it! You are succeeding! It might be the smallest shift in inches or the smallest increment on the scale, but it’s something.


The worst thing you can do at this point is stop and give up. I’ve seen it happen many times and I’ve heard it from a few clients as well. They got started on a plan from someone, they were on a roll with meal prep and working out and they were losing fat. Then one day they didn’t see any changes. One day turned into a week, then maybe another week. Instead of making an adjustment to what they were currently doing, they give up. Why? It’s baffling to me.


Trust the process.


Fix the process if it isn’t working.


Ask for help.


Seek out a professional to find out what you’re doing incorrectly, or what you could be doing differently. What else can you do while you wait? You enjoy your life. You don’t ever have to obsess over a number on the scale or getting down to a 24 inch waistline. Because guess what? When you finally reach your goal, you have to learn how to maintain it. So there’s plenty of time to figure this whole diet thing out.


There’s no rush at all. You may have heard the slower the weight loss, the longer you will keep it off. I believe this to be true. How many times have you seen ads for the quick fixes where they show these phenomenal almost-too-good-to-be-true Before and After pictures of people?


It’s tempting to give in to those because they promise “Quick Results” and you just can’t wait to be thin can you? Yes…Yes you can. You don’t want those products.


They make false promises and get your hopes up that you’ll be their next success story. No one wants to wait for anything these days. Don’t be one of those people. Be patient. Trust the process and enjoy the slow long ride to your healthy, happy new you. It’ll be worth the wait!  

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