The only two things on my mind when I started my weight-loss journey were diet and exercise. I was about 13 kilos overweight, and I was convinced that these two factors were the only ones that mattered if I had any hopes of getting back to my healthy, fit self once again.
Before I was even able to change my eating habits and start working out again, I cleared out all the toxic relationships in my life.
What you eat and what you do are certainly two important parts of getting your health on track, but what many people don't realise is that overall health doesn't only come from the food you eat and the workouts you do. There are so many other facets of your health — adequate sleep, hormonal balance, emotional and mental health, etc.
When people ask me today what the biggest lifestyle change was that helped me return to good health, they're always surprised by my answer. Before I was even able to change my eating habits and start working out again, I cleared out all the toxic relationships in my life. That had more of an impact on me than intermittent fasting, strength training, and giving up caffeine.
The people we surround ourselves with have a tremendous impact on how we feel, the choices we make, and how we treat ourselves. When I was about to embark on my weight-loss journey, I took a long, hard look at the people in my life. My now ex-boyfriend had a lot of redeeming qualities, but he liked to party a lot, he didn't support my professional goals, and he was pretty damn lazy.
My first piece of advice to anyone who is trying to lose weight is to clear out the emotional clutter first.
The company we kept wasn't much better. I was surrounded by people who weren't ambitious and had no interest in taking care of their health. There were many nights full of fast food and many mornings full of hangovers. This made it nearly impossible to eat healthy and get to the gym at 6 a.m., which I used to do almost every day. It's also very hard not to say no to bar hopping and drinking when that's pretty much the only time your friends get together and hang out.
Once I (finally) broke up with my partner, said goodbye to my toxic friends, and moved to a brand-new city, I was finally in a position where I could get my health on track. Without clearing out these people who were bringing me down, I really don't think I would have ever made the diet and fitness choices I made.
Remind yourself that you're worth the hard work.
I see others who are struggling with the same issues today. They have so many positive goals set out for themselves, but it's extremely difficult to reach them because they don't have a supportive group of people around them. That's why my first piece of advice to anyone who is trying to lose weight is to clear out the emotional clutter first. Get rid of the people who are weighing you down. Spend less time with the friends who make fun of you for eating healthy.
This will make it so much easier to remind yourself that you're worth the hard work, and changing your habits won't feel like such a chore, because you won't have to explain your choices to anyone.