When I look at pictures from when I weighed over 300 pounds I inevitably wonder how I let it happen. At some point along the upward journey why didn’t I stop and say, “Woah now, enough is enough”? Why did I just keep buying larger sizes without recognizing that things were out of control?
I had no accountability. I’m not talking about a counselor or trainer; I’m talking about the fact that I never allowed myself to see what was happening. I avoided scales like the plague. At times, I cancelled doctor’s appointments to avoid finding out how much I weighed. I never looked in the mirror. It’s true – the only mirror I would use was the small one on my car’s sun visor. I turned away when walking past the bathroom mirror or looked down when washing my hands in a public restroom. I rarely turned the lights on in the bathroom, especially when taking a shower. I was doing it because I was ashamed of how I looked but it had an unintended consequence – it allowed me to balloon to 300+ lbs without ever really noticing what was happening. I never wore fitted clothes. I wore baggy pants and shirts that allowed me to pack on the pounds without struggling to get dressed each day.
Accountability is key. It can take many forms but it’s completely essential whether you’re looking to start your weight loss journey or not. Accountability is necessary for me now as I reshape my body. It will be an important part of my process for the rest of my life.
When I first started my journey I stayed accountable by checking my weight, my measurements and by paying attention to how my clothes felt. On their own, none of these are foolproof but together they always let me know if I was on the right track.
Now I stay accountable in a few different ways. I still pay attention to how my clothes feel and I’m always working towards fitting into something that’s currently a little snug. I also pay close attention to my hunger, energy and cravings. If any or all of these are out of whack I know I’ve got to make adjustments. Finally, and most difficult of all, I’ve stopped avoiding the mirror. It’s still hard for me, especially after a cheat day. I don’t want to see the bloat or puffiness. I want to pretend it’s not there but I face it head on. Ignoring things that made me uncomfortable is how I got into this mess and I won’t behave that way anymore. I take pictures of myself every day. I pay attention to my body and how it’s changing. I leave the light on when I take a shower.
You know those days when you think “I better not even try those skinny jeans today, I overdid it this weekend”? Those are the days you need to wear those jeans the most. You know when you wait to go dress shopping thinking you’ll drop a couple pounds this week and shop after you’ve cut back? Don’t think that way. Face the music and do it today. Wear the pants, shop for the dress, take a good, long look in the mirror. When you don’t want to face it is when you NEED to face it. Avoiding for a day or a week turns into 2 days or 2 weeks and before you know it, you hardly recognize yourself. Accountability is a daily practice.
I get it. You don’t like the way you look. It can be painful to see the reflection of someone you don’t recognize and aren’t proud of. But avoiding it is only compounding the problem – it’s giving permission for you to continue making the choices that created that person you don’t like. Swallow your pride, accept that it’s going to hurt a little and start to face the music. If you don’t like what you see, it’s time to change. Force yourself to confront what you aren’t satisfied with. Open your eyes, stop trying to deceive yourself and create the person you want to be.