I want to first acknowledge that not everyone goes to the gym to lose weight. I’ve spent years, until recently, purposefully putting weight on for on my sport.
But many do. And I think there is a lesson we can learn from a source I love to follow:
Bronson the Cat
Bored Panda Article
Here are some key takeaways
Slow and steady is the way to go.
Situation appropriate exercise
No judgement on the roller coaster it can be
Compassion the whole time
Slow and steady is the way to go
Bronson has lost 2.5 lbs over four months, from 33 lbs to 30.4 lbs. So we’re talking about 10% body weight in four months. And that’s a pace they specifically set for him.
How often do you hear people attempt weight loss crash plans that promise around a 10% body weight drop in 30 to 60 days? The plans might work, but they don’t teach you strategies to sustain the weight loss when you’re done.
Situation appropriate exercise
Bronson is very heavy for the kind of cat he is. His healthy weight would be around 15lbs. As such, his own body can put a lot of strain on his joints, so they make a point to encourage activities that involve playing while laying down or sitting.
If you’ve never used a gym before, or you have a lot of weight to you, this same thought process should apply. Don’t throw yourself into completed programs meant for former athletes or SEAL team members.
No Judgement on the Weight Loss Roller Coaster
The whole time through, Bronson’s owners don’t lament that he’s not at his goal weight yet, rather they celebrate the small accomplishments. They observe what he can and can’t do as information to inform how they approach each day with him.
When they first started, they thought they would having him go up and down the stairs once a day, but then quickly realized that was going to be too hard on his joints. They don’t expect him to “suck it up.” They modified. Without judgement. After all, this is for the long term!
They notice the small things, too. One day they realized he was finally nimble enough and playful enough to play with the other cats using both of this front paws. They LOVED it! Take every sign of moving in the right direction as a reason to celebrate, and make sure you’re looking for wins outside the number on the scale.
Compassion the Whole Time
You can see just how proud the owners are of every step that Bronson takes. When he regularly begs for treats outside his normal feeding times, they try to move his food around to make the process more comfortable for him. When it’s clear that a certain therapy they wanted to try was too stressful for him, they stopped. They didn’t quit, they just said “not yet.”
How often do you try to grit out weight loss programs with low calories and intense workouts because it’s “supposed to be hard!” You’re supposed to suffer! It’s a diet! It’s supposed to suck! Granted, if you’re in a caloric deficit, you’re going to be hungry occasionally, but there is no need to be miserable.
Ease off the intensity, with the idea you can always ease back in if that’s what you really want to do. Move your meals around and experiment. Maybe you do better with 2-3 larger meals than 4-5 smaller meals. Maybe you don’t like eating right when you get up, but are always hankering for a snack before bed. There is no formula that is going to work for everyone. But you have to be KIND to yourself.
Be like Bronson.