I used to be very, very fat. I felt isolated, I was ashamed of myself and I beat myself up daily for being so weak. None of those feelings helped me get fit. In fact, I’m pretty sure they were keeping me fat.
I never understood why the guilt and shame never were enough to motivate me to change. Not understanding made me even angrier with myself.
It wasn’t until I radically changed my mind that I was able to transform my body. I sometimes wonder if someone had shared these insights with me years ago if I would have been ready to receive them. But, since we can’t go backwards I figured I’d share them with you. I’d love for you to let me know if any or all of them resonate with you!
- You’re not weak – your body is fighting against you
I really felt like my inability to follow through or succeed (long term) on a “diet” was because I was weak. I just wasn’t strong enough to fight off the cravings, temptations and laziness. Here’s what I didn’t understand: my body was fighting to keep me fat. Literally. I’ve got a lot more to say on this subject – I really didn’t understand that my food choices were signaling my body to store fat and eat more!
- Guilt is not serving you
I wasted a lot of time feeling guilty. I tried to guilt myself into “diet compliance”. When I finally stepped back and realized “uh, so this guilt thing not only feels TERRIBLE, it’s also flat out not working!” it was so freeing. It’s not an effective strategy, stop wasting energy and MOVE ON.
- Perfection is not required
If I strive for perfection I’ll fail before noon. I’d wake up and give myself the “I’m gonna be so disciplined today” pep talk and inevitably I’d let myself down in the first few hours of the day. At that point, the towel would get thrown in. Day wasted. It wasn’t until I asked myself “what is it that you want?” and answered “progress” that I realized perfection has NOTHING to do with what I’m after. If I can make progress without perfection then striving for perfection is a total waste of energy!!
- It’s OK to go to slow
Oh man this was a tough one! I used to (often) sit down with a calendar and figure out how much I’d weigh by a certain date if I could just be strict enough to lose 3 lbs per week. I’d get all excited, I’d write out a plan and I’d be so frustrated and disappointed when that date came and the number on the scale wasn’t what it was supposed to be. For years I approached the journey as a race with success marked by how quickly the number on the scale would go down. That philosophy held me back, no doubt. It wasn’t until I learned (and embraced) that changing my life was about a forever process and the pace of my success was totally irrelevant that I found success.
- You’re misinformed
This is such a big one. You cannot severely restrict your calories, cut food groups, exercise daily and expect to maintain your results. Sure, sometimes I managed it for a month or two and saw really great results but inevitably, I ran out of willpower, compensatory eating went into overdrive and I gained allllll the weight right back. (And then some.) I put in the time to do my homework. I searched for a way of eating that I could not only maintain for life but that supported my need to eat and feel satisfied and the hormonal balance I needed. This meant getting rid of all misconceptions about low calorie, low fat, low anything, really.
- You don’t have to be hungry
Though fat, I swear I spent years being hungry. I’d restrict for days and then totally snap, eating my way through a grocery store. I dreaded the thought of starting a new diet because I hated to feel hungry. Who can focus on ANYTHING when you’re hungry? Not this girl. I can honestly say that throughout my weight loss journey if I was hungry, I ate. I didn’t suffer through hunger ONCE. For me, getting (and staying) hungry leads to compensatory overeating. Instead, I eat for quality AND quantity. My portions are pretty freaking huge but the foods I eat are clean and wholesome so there’s no guilt when it comes to eating to satisfaction. I do NOT do hunger. (And you don’t want me to!)
- Everyone has excuses
I always had a million reasons to eat junk. A stressful day at work, a weight loss plateau, a special occasion, convenience, emotion….the position of the moon. I had as many reasons to sleep in, not workout, wait until Monday, etc. There will always be excuses. My ability to succeed depends on my ability to ignore all of them and make things work.
- Exercise is optional
At this point, I really enjoy working out. It makes me feel strong and vibrant. But I can promise you that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I didn’t set foot in a gym for the first 50 lbs. I didn’t pressure myself to workout, I just focused on eating clean. The majority of your results are going to come from what you eat (and what you don’t eat) so if you’re feeling like you can only reach your goals if you are exercising, you’re wrong! Take the pressure off, get your food right, and revisit exercise when you’re ready.
- You can sleep your way to weight loss
I never gave enough credit to sleep. I didn’t realize how much sleep could accelerate my progress, help me make healthy choices and allow my body to do what it needs to do. When I started making sleep a priority I found that I made healthier choices and my body was MUCH more responsive to my cleaner diet. When my results started to slow one of the first things I’d look at was my sleep patterns. More sleep = more success.
- There is a biochemical component to eating (and overeating)
This is such a big one. Cravings aren’t all in your head. Yes, they certainly have a behavioral component but they also have a very strong biochemical component. There are actually chemicals in your body triggering you to have a burning desire for sweets or salty, fatty foods. It’s real. There’s nothing wrong with you. Recognizing that your body is asking for these things and it’s not just that you’re obsessed with Cheetos is a great tool. I started to listen to the cues I was getting from my body and learned how to work with them. I adopted strategies for dealing with cravings and I learned to outsmart my body.
If you are someone who has a desire to lose weight but finds yourself cycling through the same behaviors and emotions without making progress towards your goals you really need to look at the beliefs you hold. If you aren’t making progress then you NEED to change your approach. More than likely, you need to change your mind. It’s not a matter of needing to hear the same thing you’ve been telling yourself for years – whatever you’ve been telling yourself for years is the WRONG MESSAGE. If it was the right message, it would work. Stop. Just stop. It’s time for something new.