Everything good in life has a downside, including losing fat.
By knowing ahead of time the nine risks of losing fat, you will be better prepared and less surprised if they happen to you, and better able to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
Just over two years ago, I began adopting an anti-inflammatory diet.
The idea behind the anti-inflammatory lifestyle is that you begin to listen extremely closely to your body — especially after you eat — in order to determine through which foods your body thrives and heals, and which foods make you puffy and tired.
It’s amazing what you can learn when you really start to pay close attention to what your body is telling you — indeed, what your body has probably been trying to communicate to you for decades! Many adults discover that dairy, sugar, and flour are their three biggest energy-sappers.
Working professionally as a fitness trainer for decades, I was able to recognize that the weight that comes off slowly, is the weight that stays off forever. Whenever my clients would lose weight at the rate of 1 pound each week or less, it almost always stayed off. Those that dieted to lose more than one pound a week often gained it all back (and then some).
The Downside to Losing Fat
In my case, over these last 2 years, I’ve been losing weight so gradually that I barely even noticed.
It feels good to be healthy! The physical sensation of being healthy is that I feel lean and fit, and that my body hums with a cohesive energy.
The emotional sensation of being healthy, is that my future is unbound and that anything positive is possible!
However, everything has a downside, and now I confess to you the nine most surprising risks of losing fat:
Weight Loss Risk #1: Your Entire Wardrobe Disappears
Pretty much nothing in my closet will fit me properly anymore. Not even a single pair of jeans or Lululemon yoga gear. As much as I like fashion, I detest shopping, and the thought of having to replace all of this stuff is kind of a drag — and, frankly, I don’t feel like spending the money.
Weight Loss Risk #2: You Become Visible
There are few things more invisible in the world than a middle-aged, puffy white guy. The drawback to being thin and fit, is that you’re suddenly — shockingly — back on society’s radar again.
As anyone who has had a traumatic childhood knows, being invisible gives you the luxury of dealing with your PTSD at your own leisurely pace; but when you’re strong and trim, people will notice you and interact with you much more often, and this may take some getting used to.
Weight Loss Risk #3: Your Body is Set to the “Detox” Cycle
Every fat cell in your body is like a suitcase, filled with good stuff and bad stuff. The “bad stuff” are the accumulated toxins from living in our modern culture and eating the standard diet. As you lose weight from eating healthily, your body gradually empties those fat suitcases and releases the contents into your bloodstream. Then your liver and skin have to try to process and eliminate them from your body. Blemishes, anyone?
Weight Loss Risk #4: Your Blender Becomes Your Best Friend
In my case, the anti-inflammatory diet is achieved through freshly made green smoothies. I usually have two a day. It takes time to buy all of these vegetables, and then to clean, dry, and sort them all. It’s totally worth it, of course, I’m just saying: it’s work. Plus, I use my blender to make fresh rice and almond milk, and to make special green tea concoctions that I imbibe on throughout the day. Basically, my blender is running all day. I’ve become a blender nerd.
Weight Loss Risk #5: You Become a “Soaker”
Several times a week, I soak a variety of foods overnight in lemon juice. Almonds, rice, black beans, oats, quinoa — you name it. Soaking removes some of the less helpful chemical properties found in nuts and grains, making them more digestible and healthy for the human body. This can be challenging if you’re a person who has low energy at night (I’m a morning person). Cleaning and soaking these food items, and squeezing all these lemons, is not exactly what I feel like doing after dinner. But I do it anyway.
Weight Loss Risk #6: You Become Eccentric (worse yet: You Don’t Care)
People think it’s kooky when you don’t participate in the birthday cake in the office breakroom. Or join your co-workers for the daily 3pm frozen-yogurt break. I’m the guy that’s always saying “thanks, but no” to the pizza, wine or beer. It’s not that I think I’m above these things or that I mind if other people have them. I’m just not interested, and I’m not at an age where I can pretend anymore merely to fit in.
Weight Loss Risk #7: Your Sleep Cycle Changes
Though I’ve always been a morning person at heart, since I turned my health up a notch, I’ve really become a morning person. I don’t even like to talk after dark. My spouse and I just read books, or watch television comedies while we return emails on our laptops. I don’t accept dinner invitations because they keep me up too late. On days when I don’t exercise, I feel great on even just 6 hours sleep (but on days when I workout, I still need the full 8 hours). I’ve heard from others that their sleep cycle changes when they get thinner, too.
Weight Loss Risk #8: Your Social Circle Changes
You learn quickly that your success rate for adopting new, healthier habits increases exponentially when you surround yourself with other people endeavoring the same lifestyle improvements. It’s the small nudges that come from mutually reinforcing relationships. Researcher Dan Buettner refers to this as creating your own “healthy lifestyle ecosystem:”
“The big aha for me, having studied populations of the long-lived for nearly a decade, is how the factors that encourage longevity reinforce one another over the long term. For people to adopt a healthful lifestyle, I have become convinced, they need to live in an ecosystem, so to speak, that makes it possible. As soon as you take culture, belonging, purpose or religion out of the picture, the foundation for long healthy lives collapses. The power of such an environment lies in the mutually reinforcing relationships among lots of small nudges and default choices. There’s no silver bullet to keep death and the diseases of old age at bay. If there’s anything close to a secret, it’s silver buckshot”
~ Dan Buettner, NY Times
Weight Loss Risk #9: You Feel Less Negative Pressure to Exercise
Now that I’m around my target weight, I feel less pressure to roll out of bed in the morning and go for a run. I still workout, of course, because I want to help my body be its healthiest, and my brain benefits from the mood-enhancing effects of exercise. But now that I’ve reached my fat loss goal, I must admit that I feel a bit less…. urgency (which means, of course, that it’s time for me to set a new goal).
Slimming Down: Taking the Bad with the Good
I think it’s important to be realistic about what’s really involved in weight loss — the ups, and the downs. If we’re better prepared for the downside of becoming a calorie-burning machine, we’ll encounter less surprises and be better poised to see our goals through to the end!
What has been your experience with losing fat? Please share your comments below!