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Weight loss: 10 things I wish I knew before getting started that would have changed the game

These 10 things will help you overcome common weight loss failures, achieve your weight loss goals much sooner, and skip many of the mistakes that make weight loss unnecessarily hard and lengthy.

They’ve helped me get on the right track, see better results, and live healthier overall.

I tried my first diet when I was just the tender age of 15 and weighing 245 lbs.

Since then, I’ve tried all types of diets, learned all types of stuff about healthy eating (some of it dead wrong and some of it spot on), and implemented what I could.

I’ve lost a total of 75 lbs but gained 30 pounds of it back.

And with this whole weight loss journey (weight gain included), I’ve got some tips and books that will help you out.

Below, I share 10 things I wish I knew about weight loss when I first started that can help you avoid or overcome the weight loss mistakes I’ve made (and several others make) on this journey.

weight loss tips for beginners 10 things I wish I knew about weight loss - pin

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Full disclosure.


1) The real reason we get fat

We definitely aren’t getting fat because we eat too much and don’t workout enough. Thassah (that’s a) lie!

Ok, maybe “lie” is a bit of a strong word, but I did feel lied to after reading Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat.”

According to Taubes, we aren’t getting fat because we’re eating too much and not getting enough exercise. We’re eating too much and not getting enough exercise because we’re getting fat.

And what’s making us fat? Highly processed foods, carbs, and sugars biochemically manipulating our bodies into having out of whack appetites, unstable blood sugar levels, and crazy cravings.

Knowing this when I first started with weight loss would have made me give up the “everything in moderation” concept that made me feel like a very hungry individual that struggled to stick to her diet.

If you’re struggling with cravings and a crazy appetite while dieting, this might be why. You’re trying to eat in moderation foods that are sabotaging you even when eaten in moderation.

Suggested reading: Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes

2) What is truly healthy food and what healthy food myths to watch out for

Remember when egg-white omelets, salads, dry ass chicken breasts, and low-fat milk were the “only” diet foods? We avoided butter and full-fat anything like they were sure death if we were dieting.

Now we’re tossing back sticks of REAL butter in confidence, eating red meat, and some of us are even ditching fruits and vegetables all together. Myself included when the budget permits.

I’ve followed dietary guidelines to eat low fat that had me sitting on my hands to avoid knawing on my arm (being dramatic) in-between snacks and meals.

When I started eating healthy animal fats and proteins and cutting out the “healthy” foods that caused havoc, my appetite decreased naturally.

So much so I went from genuinely being hungry enough to eat 6 times a day to actually forgetting to eat. That is a story I will tell my kids and my kids’ kids, ok.

Learning what is actually healthy food and how real healthy food is supposed to make you feel can cut out a lot of headaches and confusion.

Suggested reading: Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe

3) Eating a low-fat diet was bad for weight loss and overall well being

As you can probably gather from reading the last “wish I knew” point, eating a low-fat diet was definitely not it. Especially for a recovering hungry, hungry woman like myself.

When you’re already tussling with a crazy appetite, the last thing you want to do is go on a low-fat diet for weight loss. It only makes weight loss hard and for no damn reason but to make you hungry and miserable.

Can you tell I’m bitter about this?

After adopting a full-fat, red meats, dark meats, limited carbs approach to eating healthy, so many things besides my weight improved.

My eczema cleared, my curly hair grew longer than it ever had, my knees stopped hurting from workouts, my flimsy ankle stopped aching after sprints, and my appetite became something I could trust had my back.

And on the mental health side, I stopped having those dark and gloomy, my-life-ain’t-sh!t days that used to have me crying at work or curled up in my bed in a full-blown, puffy-faced, head-pounding cry.

The crazy part is when I go off this way of eating for too long, some of those symptoms I’ve cleared do come creeping back.

If you’re still trying to make a low-fat diet work for you, but find yourself struggling like all to be damned, give full-fat, nutrient-dense foods a try.

Suggested reading: The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz

4) Insulin and how to “work it” for weight loss

This is probably the geek in me, but learning about insulin and how to work with it for weight loss helped on so many levels.

It helped me understand on another level what foods I should avoid, what foods worked, and how eating less often in the day was hella helpful for weight loss.

You see… When you keep your insulin low for longer periods of time, you increase the amount of time your body is tapping into fat stores and losing weight.

When you eat, you raise your insulin and stop the body from burning fat.

Some foods will keep your insulin raised higher and for longer periods of time (sugars, highly-processed carbs, high-carb fruits, and roots) while other foods won’t raise your insulin as high and will raise it for shorter periods of time (healthy fats, protein, low-carb fruits, and veggies).

What this means for getting the best weight loss results in the shortest period of time is eating a diet that gets enough fat and protein, limits carbs, and implements intermittent fasting.

Through my research and experimenting, understanding insulin in this way has helped a lot.

Suggested reading: The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Dr. Jason Fung

5) Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting works. Period.

When my appetite started naturally decreasing on a nutrient-dense, animal-based diet, intermittent fasting became something I just did because I wasn’t hungry enough to eat later in the day.

When you’re eating a diet that improves your appetite and transforms you into a fat burner because your blood sugar isn’t out of whack, your body will naturally start burning the fat that’s on it for fuel. It’ll require less food since it has “food” on it.

Practicing intermittent fasting allows your body to “eat” off of the fat you have stored.

Intermittent fasting can also help with maintaining muscles, slowing aging, improve your immune system, strengthen self-discipline, and tighten loose skin among many other things.

Suggested reading: The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung

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6) The keto diet

Some of these kids today will never know the struggle of trying to diet on a grapefruit a day for rapid weight loss. Or chomping on celery sticks and low-fat dressing with an attitude because you only lost a pound last week suffering through the same tired snacks.

And fortunately, they don’t. Keto is getting popular enough to save many people the trouble of suffering through diets and “healthy” eating habits that simply don’t work and, or make things worse.

Keto is definitely something I wish I knew about when I first started dieting back in the day.

Actually, the first diet my mom put my brother and me on consisted of eggs, cheese, and chicken scrambles for breakfast, chicken for lunch, and roast for dinner. Very Atkins, keto-ish.

We melted and if I knew it was what worked better than anything else I ended up trying, I would have stuck with keto after falling off instead of trying other diets.

Blah. Shouldah, couldah, wouldah… At least now we know.

If you haven’t tried keto, I definitely do suggest you give it a go.

Suggested reading: Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet by Jimmy Moore with Eric C. Westman MD

7) A plant-based diet wasn’t the best for weight loss, the environment, and overall human health

I tried being a vegetarian. When my health didn’t improve, I tried being a vegan. And when that didn’t work, I went all raw foods.

Eventually, I became an all-raw-juices faster struggling to sleep because hunger pains and headaches kept me up.

Plant-based diets kept me bloated, moody, hungry and stalled my weight loss.

I went back to eating meats because I felt horrible eating plant-based. My health improved, my period finally started being regular, and I felt better overall.

Later, I learned the truth about plant-based diets and that pretty much convinced me they weren’t for me. Although much better than eating the Standard American Diet, and they can help you lose weight, they can still deteriorate your health.

Not to mention how they can increase your appetite and cravings because of the high-carbs.

Plant-based diets are also not so good for the environment considering what it takes to grow soy alone. Ecosystems get destroyed, animals do suffer, the soil gets ruined.

There’s also the unfair farming practices and the pollution created by shipping in fruits and vegetables that aren’t in season where you live.

These diets aren’t only rough on your health, but they are actually also rough on the environment.

But if you support local farmers raising cows and chickens humanely, sustainably, and on their proper diet, you’re supporting your local community, reducing your carbon footprint, and putting your dollar towards farming practices that improve our environment.

You’re getting some nutrient-dense, meant-for-humans, food too.

Suggested reading: Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith

8) Work on my mindset and relationship with food as part of my weight loss journey

My mindset is something I STILL work on daily to live healthier, support a healthy relationship with food, and do better for myself.

Before working on my mind, I mindlessly self-sabotaged and gained the weight I lost. I was on the weight loss rollercoaster for sure. Hell, I’m still working through that. It’s a journey.

Getting your mindset aligned with your weight loss goals is pretty crucial to the success of a weight loss journey. 

Don’t mind your mind and you’ll be struggling with self-discipline, consistency, and sticking with your weight loss goals. Mind your mind and you’ll find this weight loss journey much easier and will establish healthy habits that automate weight loss. 

Many people that try to lose weight, but fail, and those that have lost weight but regain it do so because they have not taken the time to work on their mindsets. This includes me.

Suggested reading:

9) Food addiction and which foods trigger binge eating

I attended my first Food Addicts Annonymous meeting a few years ago but unknowingly struggled with binge eating and food addiction for over a decade before then.

Wondering why I couldn’t stick with my clean eating routine and why I would sometimes eat to the point of being in physical pain, I decided to start asking a different set of questions.

I started asking about my relationship with food and why even though I was eating all the right foods that cut cravings and regulated appetite, I was still struggling with discipline, consistency, and self-sabotage.

Definitely wish I knew how to identify binge eating and food addiction so I could get the proper support.

If you think you might be dealing with a binge eating disorder or food addiction, take it serious enough to get diagnosed and get help.

Unfortunately, our society fails to recognize eating disorders in overweight and obese people. It’s time we start speaking up about feeling out of control with food. Realizing you might have a problem and asking for help are great places to start.

Suggested reading:

10) Power is in the decisions I make RIGHT NOW and not later

Ever talk yourself into eating better later? Starting that diet on Monday? Going back to the gym next month when your stars align?

Truth be told, as I write this post on December 4th, 2019, I have an agreement with myself to start eating clean again after Christmas.

See… what had happened was… I feel I know myself good enough by now to not kid myself. It’s a process.

Many of us do this “later” thing. Some of us do it so much we end up never being on our weight loss routines good enough to see the results we want. I’ve done this too.

That’s where understanding when transformation happens needs to be learned and applied. Transformation can’t really happen if we’re putting off our transformative decisions for later dates when we “feel like it” or finally finish that last slice of pie.

Transformation happens now.

Something I’m still working on and wish I knew earlier in my weight loss journey.

Suggested reading: Chasing Cupcakes: How One Broke, Fat Girl Transformed Her Life (and How You Can, Too) by Elizabeth Benton

There are many things I’ve learned on this weight loss journey, and still learning, that have helped me course correct, give up what wasn’t working, implement strategies that work, and live a healthy life for the health and not just the weight loss.

If you didn’t know these things already or haven’t used them like you know you should, take these 10 things in and work with them. Check out the suggested reading. See how this information helps you with your weight loss journey. It for sure helped me with mine.

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