Losing weight is all about trial and error — and learning from your mistakes along the way. (Don’t make us bring up juice cleanses…) And nobody knows that better than these fitness experts, Instagram stars and Daily Burn users who’ve managed to shed anywhere between six and 99 pounds.
Now, they’re doing you a solid so you don’t have to hit the same speed bumps on your journey — no matter how much weight you’d like to lose. So without further delay, here’s the one thing they wish someone had told them before day one of their diet.
12 Things You Should Know About Losing Weight
1. You don’t have to live in the gym.
“No one told me I didn’t have to spend hours in the gym every day to start seeing results. I most definitely would have started earlier if I knew that moving my body for 30 minutes a day — in my own home and without any equipment — could be just as effective.” — Daily Burn 365 participant Adrienne O’Connor, 36, lost 30 pounds
2. It’s all in your head.
“Losing weight is 100 percent [about] a change of mentality. Sure, getting together an eating plan that works for you and figuring out how to properly execute a deadlift is important. But it’s a moot point if your brain doesn’t drastically change…If you nourish your body, and exercise out of a place of self-love, you will find motivation, inspiration and self-acceptance.” — Lifestyle consultant and fitness Instagramer Chinae Alexander, 30, lost 70 pounds
3. Losing weight isn’t everything.
“I wish someone had told me that…it didn’t mean that I would be happy. There are still days when I look in the mirror and I see the old me…But keeping progress pics on my phone at all times helps. It helps remind me of how far I’ve come.” — Fitness instructor and figure competitor Diane Haro, 27, lost 99 pounds
“Exercise is fine, but you can’t just up your exercise and not change your diet and expect dramatic results.”
4. You’re never totally done.
“I wish I’d known that once you lose weight, you’re still going to have to watch what you eat for the rest of your life if you want to maintain it. When I got started, I guess I never thought about what would happen after I lost the weight!” — Social media manager at Daily Burn Theodora Blanchfield, 32, lost 50 pounds
5. “No pain” doesn’t equal “no gain.”
“I was 25 when I started working to lose weight and my body was fairly resilient, so I focused on lots of exercise so I could keep up the youthful partying. That took a bit of a toll, however, and I’m certain some of my middle-aged aches and pains are due to overdoing it [back then]…Being a little more careful with my diet could have allowed for the same pace of weight loss, while also being more moderate with my exercise regimen.” — Syndicated fitness columnist James Fell, 47, lost 50 pounds
6. Your goals are always changing.
“At first I set a weight goal and thought when I reached it I would be happy — and I wasn’t. I realized I needed to do more than just lose weight. I had to shape my new post-baby body. Now that I have a daughter looking up to me, my goal is to be healthier. Otherwise, I’m hurting her and myself in the process. Honestly I’ll never be done setting goals. It’s fun to see myself change and grow muscle — and see confidence in the mirror.” — Stay-at-home mom and fitness Instagrammer Amberly Good, 27, lost 53 pounds
7. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
“I wish someone had told me it really boils down to eating habits. Exercise is fine, but you can’t just up your exercise and not change your diet and expect any kind of dramatic results. And you can’t exercise extra and think that permits you to eat whatever you want. Exercise to feel good and be fit, but curb your intake for weight loss.” — SVP and director of professional services Safiya Edwards, 59, lost six pounds
8. The scale isn’t the bottom line.
“I wish I knew to be patient and put the scale away. Body composition and how I felt was a much better gauge of my health and fitness. Plus, since I was lifting and gaining muscle, it was even harder to make the scale move. Knowing that, six months later, I’d see crazy changes even if the scale wasn’t much different, would have made the process easier.” — Nursing student and fitness Instagrammer Leah Martin, 26, lost 20 pounds
“Take care of yourself spiritually, emotionally and mentally, and the physical will follow.”
9. Your metabolism really does slow down.
“‘Slower metabolism’ was something I thought most women used as an excuse for gaining weight; I thought they really just didn’t have time to exercise. Then, seemingly overnight, it happened to me. Why didn’t anyone warn me that this happens to (I think most) women?” — Certified court interpreter Michele Galasso, 49, lost 12 pounds
10. If you focus on being healthy, weight loss will come.
“You can go on a crash diet and lose all kinds of weight, but if you don’t establish healthy eating habits and fuel your body the right way, you will most likely gain everything back. I’ve lost weight in the past, but it wasn’t in a healthy way or by learning to eat healthier foods and I inevitably gained the weight back. This time, I’ve focused more on just being healthy and the weight has come off and stayed off.” — Daily Burn user Amy Avery, 35, lost 80 pounds
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11. Every little bit of activity counts.
“Keep moving. The body is intended to move, not to sit for long periods of time. So if I have to sit for a while at work, or driving, I make a conscious effort to get out for a few minutes and walk…Get up, get the blood flowing, and move around. Walk the dog, play with your kids, clean the house, have a dance party. It all adds up.” — Development director for Girls on the Run Lauren Psimaris, 35, lost 35 pounds
12. You have to love yourself.
“Take care of yourself spiritually, emotionally and mentally, and the physical will follow. Loving and accepting myself allows me to find peace. Obsessing over what I look like now as compared to what I looked like before stalls my efforts at maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In the past, I would do drastic cleanses that made me tired and gave me headaches and did not necessarily deliver on the promise of weight loss, or at least, not sustainable weight loss…Take each day, each meal, each opportunity to exercise as exactly that, an opportunity.” — Talent acquisition relationship manager for Quest Diagnostics Naa Yirenkyi, 43, lost six pounds
Note to reader: Some of the content in this article relates to the core service offered by Daily Burn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by Daily Burn. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or weight loss program. Daily Burn users who worked out for 30 minutes or more at least five times a week for 60 to 90 days reported an average weight loss of about one pound per week.