**Disclaimer: I hope that this blog is taken with the encouraging (though frank) spirit in which it is intended.**
You are probably the reason you are not losing weight. Let that truth bomb sink in for a minute.
Now please make no mistake- I do not consider myself a weight loss expert by any means. I also know there are plenty of people out there with legitimate physical and mental medical concerns that impact their weight and weight loss efforts. This blog is not meant for them. It is meant for the rest of us- the “tomorrow people” so to speak. Tomorrow I will start my diet, tomorrow I will do better, tomorrow I will deal with it. Tomorrow always turns over to another tomorrow and you waste months or even years in this destructive cycle. And the scary part? It is SO EASY to do.
I would never dream of demeaning anyone with a weight problem. God knows, being significantly overweight has taught me more about character and strength than possibly any other obstacle in my life. I have been embarrassed, determined, emotionally crushed, empowered and pretty much every emotion in between. I don’t look down on anyone. In fact I understand what you are going through to such an extent that I will do something most of your friends and family are not able (for a multitude of reasons) to do- be brutally honest with you. Please read on and let MY story be a cautionary tale.
How I gained weight really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I spent my childhood and teen years in a fit trim body. I felt like I woke up overweight in my mid- twenties. It happened so slowly I could say I didn’t even see it coming-but I did. Sara~ism #1- Denial is not your friend- it just pretends to be.
I stayed in denial about my weight for a LONG time. I mean I was hardcore in denial. I always dated, went out, had friendships, and had fun so on some level I normalized my weight and tried to convince myself it wasn’t “that bad”. Let me tell you, it was that bad. Deep down folks know when things have gotten out of hand. You know whether you have a few vanity pounds to lose or a significant amount. You certainly don’t have to admit it to me (or anyone else for that matter) but you should admit it to yourself. There is something very freeing about truly opening your eyes.
I wish I could say that once I admitted I needed a plan I took action then and there. Um, not so much. I like to say I dabbled in weight loss- a diet here, a series of workouts there, and I even developed a love for running and yoga. However, at the end of the day I just did not commit, not really.
Sara~ism #2- The lies we tell ourselves are the most powerful. I totally reassured myself that things were going to be fine. I wasn’t really damaging my body. I could totally lose the weight if I buckled down. My health was fine. Blah, blah, blah. I made sure to drive this point home by not seeing any medical professionals to tell me otherwise. If you think I am the only person to ever do this- you are wrong and totally naive. It happens more than you think.
Sometime in the midst of my “trying” to lose weight I started this blog. If you want, read some old entries ala 2011/2012 and cringe at all of my excuses. I had an arsenal full. Sure I would get on a roll and lose 20 or so pounds just to have it rush right back on the hot second I got distracted, went on vacation, had a bad week, hit a plateau or really insert any number of terrible excuses here. I made sure to tell myself it was just “too hard” and I “can’t do this without help” and a variety of other things. I also made sure to whine and complain to my husband and friends about “wanting so much to lose the weight” but I didn’t want that, not really. I was just feeding the denial monster I created.
If I really wanted to lose the weight I would have-period. At the very least I would have been consistent in my attempts. Now remember this is not aimed at those with legitimate medical conditions impacting weight loss. The rest of us, we can lose the weight when we want to. That is the harsh truth. Sure, all bodies and metabolisms are different and people LOVE to throw their metabolisms right under the bus. In most cases, your metabolism isn’t the problem- you are. At least that was true for me (and if I were a betting girl, I would bet it was true for MANY others as well).
Luckily the Saturday before Easter this year my life changed. It was harsh, scary, and awful but I credit this moment for forcing me to face my denial monster head on. Just before Easter brunch I started to feel tightness in my chest and the super scary feeling of being unable to take a full breath. My husband and parents rushed me to the ER where I found out…I was having an anxiety attack. It turns out; a full blown anxiety attack can feel like a heart attack. I understand now there are differences in the symptoms but on this day- I truly thought something was terribly terribly wrong.
The road that followed was a scary one. Even though my health seemed to check out ok-I felt almost paralyzed by fear and panic. I wondered if I had pushed my body to a place I couldn’t recover from. All of the guilt I felt for not taking care of myself came crashing down like a ton of bricks. I had essentially allowed this to happen and then did nothing- FOR YEARS. I asked my mother if she thought I was going to die.
In a mother’s (and a long time nurse’s) infinite wisdom she told me I had to really commit to a healthy future. There was no mention of looking good in a swimsuit, fitting in smaller jeans, or any of the things I always thought I wanted so badly. There was only mention of regaining my health. I felt nervous and asked myself all of those “What If” questions. What if I fail? What if I have permanently damaged my health? What if…..? The scariest question of all was What if I do nothing?
The hot second I left the emergency room I was committed to lose weight and get healthy. There was no “starting tomorrow” or “after I make a plan”. I was determined to start at that very moment and never look back. And, I was suddenly painfully aware that I had already wasted so much time. You will feel the emotions tumble around you- try to let them go, trust me.
The following morning I called and left messages arranging appointments for check-ups, blood work, etc. I knew taking ownership of my health was the only way to save it. I also committed 100% to an eating and workout plan. My goal was to lose 2-3 pounds a week the old fashioned way- eating clean and working out hard.
The biggest hurdle I had to face is making myself accept that this was going to be a LONG process. It is not healthy or feasible to lose a ton of weight quickly. I don’t care what The Biggest Loser says. If you compare yourself to that, you will fail. Sorry, but that is a fact. Being realistic and not expecting a weight loss miracle is imperative to success.
So, then I began filling the unhealthy space that was my life with healthy choices. Good foods, daily workouts, and healthy habits. As the days went by the workouts grew harder and the foods healthier. I started noticing changes in how I felt and (yes) how I looked. As 5% and then 10% of my body weight came off I started learning that I had reduced my risk for all sorts of ailments. I imagine every pound I lose being replaced with a unit of health. So, I continue on.
I would be lying if I said every day is easy and full of sunshine and rainbows. However, I can say with 100% confidence that every day I take a step forward. My friends and family have commented that my approach is different this time. They are right because I am different this time. My choices are different this time. My actions different this time. My expectations are different this time. My desires are different this time. The key is digging deep and finding the REAL reason you want/need to be losing weight.
Though I have a significant journey in front of me I am currently 40 pounds down and going strong. I have no plans to halt my healthy lifestyle and only want to grow better, stronger, and healthier as the days and week’s pass. I truly feel better than I have in years.
Unfortunately, there are also feelings of guilt and anxiety that go along with this process. Knowing that I had this power to lose weight and get healthy all along and did nothing??? That is a difficult pill to swallow. It makes me angry but most of all it makes me sad. The truth is most people in my position have that same power just waiting to be tapped into. The truth is you can wait until you have that scary life changing moment or you can CHOOSE to get healthy right now.
Sometimes I feel antsy wishing I could take even bigger strides. I wasted so much time being unhealthy and I don’t want to waste another minute. However, at the end of the day I am trusting the process and laying down the foundation for a healthy life. You can do the same. I wish you luck, send you kindness, and hope that you will start today.
You have had the power all along…Embrace it!