I have struggled with belly fat for years. Weight lifting has changed my body

For over ten years I have been trying to lose the extra weight I was carrying. I’ve tried different techniques, from fad diets to lymphatic drainage, and even dangerous methods like just not eating.

But 13 months ago, I decided I was done with the same cycle; I would make a point of lifting weights and eating enough protein. I had already explored the gym community on TikTok and seen many videos showing body transformations using the same process.

At the time I loved carbohydrates and they made up the majority of my diet. I haven’t eaten meat since I was a child, so I didn’t have enough protein in my diet. I included a lot of vegetables, but I also ate a lot of sugar: sweets, cakes and brownies.

Eva “Fitzye” Nour is a fitness influencer living in France.Eve Nur

I tried to commit to exercise for a year before trying weight lifting, but found every time I couldn’t stay consistent

For me, watching so many videos of other people’s fitness journeys, seeing how people have changed over the course of a year or so, has been so motivating. I got to the point where I really wanted to change the way I was.

During the first couple months of my fitness journey, I was doing relatively random workouts—every time I saw one online, I just copied it. I knew it was a transition period because I was trying to figure out form and exercises without the help of a personal trainer which was really hard.

The first couple months were the awful part. Initially, I was in pain every day. Sometimes I had to skip the gym or even work because I was in so much pain.

Eventually, my body got used to the exercises, but at first I didn’t feel like there was any change.

For those first few months, it was really hard to stay consistent and motivated. At the same time, I was rebalancing my diet to include 50% vegetables, 30% protein, such as tofu, tuna or cheese, and only 20% carbohydrates, which was causing some digestive problems.

It’s been hard to stay committed, but I think I’m mad at myself. I had tried so many methods and spent so much money on weight loss but nothing worked.

I knew that lifting weights would not only cause me to lose fat for a month before regaining it when I returned to my maintenance the same way as a calorie deficit, but it would boost my metabolism and help change my body in the long run.

The gym was two minutes from my house and I forced myself to stay consistent and keep doing my workouts until I noticed a difference, because I knew I wouldn’t see a difference in my body for about three months.

Eva has spent years trying to shed stubborn belly fat, noticing changes after nine months of lifting weights. Eve Nur

After those first couple months I created my own workout based on the exercises I had tried, but just getting the form right took me about six or seven months.

I took a lot of photos and videos and became really obsessed with observing the little changes in my body. It was the only thing that could really push me to continue.

In fact, at one point, I quit for a week and it was just noticing how slightly my body had changed since one of my photos that encouraged me to go back.

I didn’t do cardio. I really wanted to start soft, with about 30 minutes of weight lifting using compound exercises and light weights. I think starting with cardio, weights, and a change in diet at the same time may have been too hard to maintain at first.

Before I hit six months I had noticed really subtle changes that made me want to keep going. Prior to this, I had quite a lot of belly fat, which was really stubborn, and my main goal was to get rid of it.

But after I hit the six month point, I noticed drastic changes in my stomach area. I think I really cried because I felt so happy. I have struggled with that area for over ten years and to see it start to disappear has been such a relief for me.

I felt so proud of myself for staying consistent and never giving up, even when I wasn’t seeing any results.

Eva now shares her fitness routine with others on social media to encourage others to try to lose weight. Eve Nur

I feel much better mentally and physically. I am much healthier and no longer stick to my diet because I want to lose weight. I know that a more nutrient dense diet makes me a healthier person now and in the future.

For me, consistency is key: If you stick to something in life for more than three months, it becomes a habit. Sometimes I don’t think about why I go to the gym, it’s just part of my routine. I also believe it’s really important for mental health to do something for your body every day.

For anyone struggling with weight loss, I feel consistency is the hardest part because it takes discipline. You have to accept that it will probably take a long time.

For me it’s about wanting to do it every day, not just at the beginning, or even for six months. I think instead of wanting to burn fat as fast as possible, you need to commit to something that will last a long time.

I hope my social media videos now motivate people the same way others have done for me. What I post now is always what I wanted to see, so I’d love it if mine helped people stay consistent until they see the result they want.

Eva “Fitzye” Nour is a fitness influencer living in France. You can follow her on TikTok or Instagram @fitzye.

All opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.

As told to Newsweek’s My Turn associate editor, Monica Greep.

Have a unique experience or personal story to share? Email the My Turn team at myturn@newsweek.com.

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