Fitness Tips

5 Truths About Fitness I Learned From Reaching My Goal Weight

The heaviest I had ever been in my life was at the start of 2017. Teetering on officially overweight, I had been neglecting my health for years while working a sedentary desk job. I got little exercise and ate pastries and sweets like it was my job. I knew things had to change, so I promised myself that I would lose at least 20 lbs.

Well, I reached my goal, but it took me no less than three years.

Some people would say that it shouldn’t take three years to lose 25 lbs, and they’d be right; had I known certain things at the start of my fitness journey, I would have dropped the weight a lot faster.

But the long trek taught me some invaluable lessons that have shaped how I think and approach my health. In particular, these five truths not only help me maintain my weight loss but motivate me to be the healthiest, happiest version of myself each day.

woman looking at herself in the mirror

1. There Is No Finish Line

Truthfully, when I first set out to lose weight, I imagined that I would be “done” once I reached my goal weight. On some subconscious level, I assumed a 12-week program would be enough to get the results I wanted. Then, I fully expected to go back to exercising infrequently and eating whatever I wanted.


While 12 weeks is definitely enough time to get some fantastic results, it’s only the beginning. In fact, I’ve done more 12-week programs than I can count by this point, and I’m going to do countless more.

Because once you hit your goal weight, you need to work to maintain it. Plus, the life-enhancing benefits of exercise make it, so you don’t want to stop working out. (More on that later!)

On the food front, I continue to make healthy food choices to not only support my current weight but to optimize my overall health.

They say fitness isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. This is true, except the marathon has no finish line. And while that may sound depressing at first, it’s not because I’ve grown to love healthy living — and once it becomes a habit, you likely will too.

2. Weight Loss Won’t Change Your Body Image

“If only I could lose five more pounds, then I’d look good in this skirt.”

“I just need to tone up my belly a bit more, and then I can wear that bikini.”

These are examples of everyday thoughts I had at the start of my fitness journey.

I equated weight loss and fitness with creating a positive body image.

But I was wrong.

Listen, I’m not going to say that getting fit doesn’t boost your self-confidence. It does. But for me, it’s because I began to realize your potential as a person, not because my appearance changed.

If you have a negative body image, no amount of exercise or weight loss will make you love your body. When you lose 10 lbs, you’re going to wish it was 15.

And when you lose 15 lbs, you’re going to wish it was 20.

You’re always going to find things about your body that you wish you could change.

It’s kind of like earning money. No matter how much money you make, you wish you had more. You forget about how far you’ve come and what that money you already have is doing in your life. And you remain unhappy because of what you lack instead of finding gratitude for what you do have.

I had to deal with this when I first hit my goal weight, and then I realized that how I looked wasn’t the problem; it was my perception of how I looked.

Having a positive body image comes from your mindset and self-talk, not from your weight.

Because as corny as it sounds, your true beauty is tied to who you are, not how you look.

And it’s within your power to learn to love how you look no matter where you’re at in your fitness journey. When you can learn to appreciate your body for how it serves you, you start to see the physical beauty in it, too.

3. Obsessing About Food is Counterproductive

Unfortunately, people’s approach to nutrition often devolves into a twisty labyrinth of faulty information and over-complicated diet plans.

But who can blame them? They’re being bombarded by conflicting information every day.

“Carbs are bad!”

“Carbs are good!”

“Counting calories doesn’t work!”

“Counting calories does work!”

“Keto is the best!”

“Keto is the worst!”

And what happens is you become obsessed with what you eat, trying to follow all these “rules” and freaking out every time you slip up and eat a french fry.

You get so hyperfocused on food that you end up thinking about it all the time.

But it ends up being counterproductive because you’ll be stressed and miserable, inevitably swinging the other way when your willpower crumbles and sabotaging your diet.

I speak from experience here.

So forget strict, obsessive diets.

Instead, proper nutrition boils down to this: Quality, whole foods in moderate amounts.

Consume a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, seeds, nuts, and high-quality, lean meats. Use a calorie-counting tool to get an idea of how much you’re consuming every day. Allow yourself scheduled, premeditated treats in moderation.

That’s it, honestly!

4. Health is More Than a Number

The problem with losing weight is that it’s easy to get obsessed with the number on the scale. At first, all I cared about was reaching my goal weight.

But weight is only one metric in a much more complex equation. For example, it doesn’t factor in your muscle-to-fat ratio.

And the closer I got to my weight loss goal, the less that specific metric helped me track my progress. It was only by taking measurements and progress photos that I could see my efforts were still working.

For example, I currently weigh a few pounds more than I did a few months ago, but that’s a good thing.

As I lift heavier, I’m gradually putting on more muscle. Muscle is denser than fat, so I look even leaner than I did a few months ago, even though I’m technically heavier.

But health is about more than body composition.

Living a healthy lifestyle has helped balance my hormones and optimize how my body functions. As a result, I have so much more energy and focus than I had before.

You can’t weigh that with a scale.

So there’s no need to be hyper-focused on weight. In fact, it’s easier to stay motivated when you measure your progress in other ways.

Drop a pant size? Broke your 5 km record? Managed your first pull-up?

Those are all solid indicators that your health and fitness level are improving!

5. Quality of Life Matters Way More Than Physical Appearance

I’ve said this before, but the more fit I get, the less my healthy lifestyle becomes about vanity.

I’m not going to say I don’t appreciate the physical changes that exercising and eating well have produced — I most certainly do!

But improvements in physical appearance aren’t what cured my body image issues — as we covered earlier, it was changing my self-talk and shifting my perspective that conquered that beast.

The real power of healthy living is in how it transforms the rest of your life.

You become more productive and interested in your work.

You feel more creative and self-aware.

You start to feel like every obstacle is surmountable.

And when life kicks you down, you find you have more mental strength to get back up.

In other words, fitness helps you become the best version of yourself — inside and out.

Weight loss simply doesn’t compare to the increased energy, focus, resilience, and optimism that comes with a healthy lifestyle!

Final Thoughts

I’m sharing all this because I wish I’d known these truths when I started trying to lose weight. I would have approached weight loss from a much more gentle and balanced headspace.

And it would have helped me get grounded in my “why” and avoid self-imposed setbacks.

So if you are on your own weight loss journey and struggling, hopefully, these lessons will help you recalibrate your goals so that you can continue walking the path to better health with resolve and confidence.

Corrie Alexander is a former ISSA-certified personal trainer, home fitness advocate, and founder of The Fit Careerist. A proponent of personal growth and a self-proclaimed fitness app-junkie, Corrie shares tips and product reviews with the goal of helping others on their own fitness journey.

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