The Hardest 20 Pounds to Lose

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve undoubtedly had someone in the peanut gallery remind you that, “the first 20 pounds are the easiest, and it’s all water weight.”

Every time I hear someone say that, I want to smack them upside the head. I really do.

Losing weight is all about developing new habits, so I would argue against anyone that the first 10 to 20 pounds are actually the hardest.

About 5 years ago, I lost around 50 pounds, and right now I’m trying to lose a bunch more. I can remember with total clarity, that although I dropped the first 20 much faster than the last 30, they were the hardest, because that’s when I was getting used to my workout routine and the changes in my diet.

Many of you may be trying to gain weight and there are some great articles on this site regarding that. But if you are looking to shed some extra pounds to get into your best athletic weight, the trick to losing weight, in my experience, is all about controlling your environments and developing good habits. Trust me, it’s a whole lot easier said than done, but that’s the trick.

Developing good habits is pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t go into that. It just takes some discipline to take the same repeated action over and over, until it becomes second nature. Trust me, once you get used to not reaching for the potato chips, after a while, you can walk right past the snack section of the grocery store without flinching.

Controlling your environments is a much harder task. One of my biggest challenges has been that I was raised to eat all the food on my plate, because “you don’t waste food.” Unsurprisingly, I usually overeat in each meal. There’s a couple of ways to try and handle this. Ignore the way I was raised for 28 years, or start eating out of smaller plates. Which of the 2 do you think is easier?

I hope you’re getting the picture. If you have a sweet tooth, buy dark chocolate and eat small pieces of it. It’s a whole lot easier to wean yourself off sweets this way, than it is to quit cold turkey.

Soda was a huge challenge for me. I love the fizzy flavored stuff. I managed to slowly and steadily wean myself off it, but if you really love soda, you may have to replace the experience (and empty calories) with something else.

Your meals are also a big deal. If you know how to cook, take some time to become familiar with a spice rack. You’ll be surprised how often you can replace beef (which is fatty) in most meals with turkey, pork, or chicken. If you don’t know how to cook, or you’re not the one cooking at home, this is a good time to start learning some new recipes.

It’s going to take you some time to figure out what works for you, but if you pay attention, you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. This is why I think the first 10 to 20 pounds are the hardest.

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