So, here’s the deal. When I started this blog, I thought I wanted it to be about cooking. But as far as cooking goes, I don’t feel like I have anything extra important and special to talk about. What I have come to realize is that I do have something important to say to my friends and loved ones (and anyone else in the world who stumbles onto this blog) about losing weight and getting healthy. So I’m going to start going in that direction. And I’m going to start by telling you guys the things I have learned, through trial and error, that have worked for me.
Also, I’m going to shamelessly give you guys another before and after picture. Because, seriously, who doesn’t love those?
So here are some things you may or may not read elsewhere on the internet. At any rate, they are things that I truly believe. And things that I had to figure out the hard way. Things I wish someone would have told me when I started out.
1. It takes courage to lose weight.
I know when I normally think of courage, I think of people going out on the battlefield. People leaving their families to defend their country. Or even explorers, going out into the wild unknown. We don’t really think of changing out bodies as being a process that takes courage, but it does. Because there is always risk and fear involved. As someone who had never been thin and had spent her whole life feeling like the chubby friend, I admit now that I was scared to change. Without my extra pounds, I was worried that I wouldn’t know who I was, in some ways. I was scared of getting attention from the opposite sex and how that would make me feel, thinking that these people would never have liked me when I was heavier.
I was also scared of how hard it was going to be. I had never put a lot of thought into the way I was eating before, and I didn’t really know what I was doing most of the time. I was scared of people paying too much attention or judging me when I went to the gym.
And I was scared that I was going to fail.
I don’t remember exactly what it was that helped me overcome most of these fears. Probably just the act of doing it anyway. You can’t let your fears hold you back. When it really comes down to it, the only thing standing in your way is you. I truly believe that.
2. Not everyone is going to be supportive. People will sometimes see you making good choices and take it personally. Make them anyway.
This is one that really gets me going. And I see it all the time. Everywhere from work to school to family gatherings, I have seen or personally had people try to undermine healthy behaviors. Sometimes they don’t say anything, and just give you a look. Sometimes they’re open and loud about it. But here’s the thing: they don’t think you’re doing something bad, really. Most of the time they’re jealous or upset that you’re stronger than they are. Because they know they aren’t at your level, they want to drag you down to theirs.
Well, maybe that’s just what I tell myself to make me feel better, but it’s easier to swallow that way.
This happened once at work, very recently. Management had brought ice cream bars in to celebrate an accomplishment. I declined the ice cream, but I sit in a corner all by myself where no one can see me, so no one bothered me about it. One of my coworkers, however, said no to the ice cream and our other coworkers tried to guilt her into eating it. She did a great job holding her ground, but their reactions really bothered me. Why did it matter to them whether she had some or not? I could see no other reason for it other than feeling like they weren’t living up to her standard.
Remember that next time someone teases or belittles you for making a good choice. They feel bad because they aren’t living up to your standard.
3. Write down your goal, and make sure you encounter something every day that reminds you of your goal.
This is actually a relatively new one for me, but I’m finding it super helpful. Some people make motivational posters or have a goal calendar. I have a really simple piece of yellow paper that has my beginning and current measurements written on it. There’s space for more measurements, and I take them every month. It’s a reminder that I want my measurements to be smaller next month than this month.
And if that fails to keep me motivated, I just google image search the phrase “lady abs” (though I admit that this phrase is beginning to return too many pictures of Lady Gaga, so I may have to find a new one soon).
4. Track your progress in more than one way.
Some people say you should throw out the scale and go on measurements alone. I don’t believe that. I think you need both to get an accurate depiction of what is happening to your body. Track your weight, track your measurements, track your body fat as accurately as you can, and don’t forget to take pictures. I don’t have a lot of weight left to lose. It’s all vanity weight at this point, so I’m not seeing very much movement on the scale (4 pounds in the last 2 months! And I am legitimately happy about that), but I can see a lot of progress in my monthly photographs. I promise you, if you’re working hard and you have a calorie deficit, your body is changing. But sometimes it’s not showing progress in the method you’re tracking. The more methods you use, the more likely you are to see your progress accurately.
5. Your body will likely always feel like a work in progress.
I thought that once I reached my initial goal, I would just happily stay at that magic weight forever and live happily ever after. Not true. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’ve done a great job getting to where I am. But just like with pretty much everything else in life, there is always room for improvement. I want to have more muscle tone, I want to be a better runner. I really friggin’ want lady abs (someday!). And sometimes it’s frustrating to feel like I’m never going to be done and perfected. But I don’t think anyone feels that way. Even the person you think has the most perfect body on earth probably wishes they looked as good as the airbrushed version of them that they see on magazine covers. As long as you use that as motivation to keep active and keep eating well and keep working, I don’t really think that’s a bad thing.
But it is important to look at your body right now (right now, I said!) and appreciate it for what it is and what it does for you and what it allows you to do. Thank your body for what it’s done today. And appreciate the things about it you think are attractive. I remember waking up one day and looking in the mirror and thinking, “my, what mighty fine clavicles I have!” I am not kidding. They are fantastic, feminine clavicles. And on days that I feel bloated or I’m having a bad hair day, I take a good look at my clavicles and remind myself that I have mighty fine clavicles, no matter what.
Don’t ever give up, even when you’re discouraged. Write down your goals and your plans, but lose your expectations. Be patient. You are a work in progress. You are beautiful. You are a miracle.
And now. . . the promised before/after picture. I don’t remember when the “before” picture was taken. The “after” is only a few weeks old.
(Note: I’m not always sure what to write on this blog. Hence the lack of updates. So if you have any questions you’d like me to answer or address in a blog post, feel free to leave it in the comments or message me on facebook).