Reflecting on my personal weight loss journey is still hard for me. It’s a journey I’m still on and I think I will be on this journey forever. For me there’s pain associated with my weight and so writing about it likes this makes me feel very exposed but it might help you to know that I come from the same place you do so I want to share it.
So many times in my life I thought – well that’s it. I just need to be happy with my weight. I know I’ll be fat forever I just need to get comfortable with that. You can read about my weight loss journey here, but today I want to focus on the challenges I’ve faced along the way, and what I’d do differently if I was starting my weight loss journey again. These are some of the barriers I faced and how I overcame them.
I can’t lose weight.
At my heaviest, I was too embarrassed to go to a gym and I knew that if I signed up to a regular gym I’d never go anyway. There was just no way I could humiliate myself by walking into a gym surrounded by people who were fit and healthy. I was even too embarrassed to hire a trainer, I felt I had to lose weight before I did that! This fear absolutely paralysed me. It kept me overweight and unhealthy. Losing weight and keeping it off was a success reserved for other people better than me.
Looking back this was a huge challenge for me. I was so scared of failure. It wasn’t an unreasonable fear either– after all, failure when it came to losing weight was all I’d ever known. I was surrounded by other people who could do it. Other people had willpower. Other people had discipline.
STUMBLING BLOCK: Being so afraid of failing you can’t start trying.
REALITY: You need to give yourself a chance. You need open the door just a tiny bit to allow the possibility that you won’t fail to come through. Each little success, each little step in the right direction helps you back yourself. Slowly, you start thinking less about ‘not failing’ and more about ‘succeeding’. You realise that the other people you are so intimidated by aren’t braver than you are, or better than you are, they have just given themselves a chance.
I’m too busy – I don’t have time
I’m a Mum. For any parent out there you know what that means! Life is not your own anymore – I mean seriously what did I used to do with my time??? The trap that so many of us fall into is no stranger to me. I just put everything and everyone else in my life first. I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and it showed. Physically I was getting bigger and bigger, but inside I was disappearing.
STUMBLING BLOCK: Believing that putting yourself last means you are being the best mother/partner/employee you can be.
REALITY: I have learned that you can run yourself into the ground. You are of most value to your family and friends when you are rejuvenated, healthy and energised. You are an important person and you deserve to live a long and healthy life. Most of us know this intellectually, but it needs to resonate on an emotional level too. Make the time to make your health a priority.
Life’s too short
I wanted to enjoy my wine. I deserved to have a glass and just relax – I was a busy wife and Mother and this was my treat. (Shall I leave out the fact that I started to enjoy a glass at 5pm every Wednesday afternoon?) I used to sit down to read the school newsletter with my glass of wine. It was me time. I wasn’t going on another diet – they don’t work anyway. Life’s too short for that I might as well be fat and …..happy…?
Looking back, I wasn’t enjoying a wine while I read the newsletter… I was exhausted! Usually I had spent the day not eating well (sometimes not eating at all) and then reaching for as much food as possible from 3pm onwards.
STUMBLING BLOCK: Believing that it is easier to live with the weight and exhaustion than it is to make some changes.
REALITY: I was using the wine as a way to dull myself and to help me cope with the pressure of my day. My weight was my layer of protection and I wasn’t ready to let that go. When you start to eat regularly and to eat well you see lots of benefits besides weight loss. You feel less tired, less run down and, if you still need a mid-week pick-me-up you choose something healthier than a glass of wine.
It’s too expensive.
I used to think I couldn’t afford it. I let this hold me back from hiring a personal trainer too. It was a legitimate reason, I had a family and hence had other priorities. It was self-indulgent to pay for a trainer, putting myself first before the needs of family. This was a no brainer – I couldn’t justify it.
Eventually I did take the plunge and hire a personal trainer. I found the money to pay for it and after I while I changed the way I felt about spending the money. It felt like an investment, even a preventative expense. The training helped me to get the confidence to go outside for a hike, and occasionally even a run!
STUMBLING BLOCK: I thought it was an EXPENSE but it’s actually an INVESTMENT.
REALITY: When you take the plunge and hire a personal trainer you find the money to pay for it. A funny thing happens over time, you start to change the way value it. You stop looking at it as a self-indulgent expense which was just about you losing weight, and realise that you aren’t spending as much money at the doctor anymore because you just don’t need to go as often.
So what have I learnt on my journey to actually become a personal trainer and nutrition expert?
So much that I don’t even know where to start!
Now I know that it’s best just to start where you are. People “fail” at weight loss ALL THE TIME – in fact, there’s a multi billion dollar industry banking on it. That’s because we are trapped in this weight loss cycle. But we don’t have to be. I have learned that it is less about weight loss and more about focusing on health. It’s about switching channels.
Even my STUMBLING BLOCKs led me to important learnings. I could have taken an easier path but I’m just like everyone else and I had my doubts and stumbles along the way. Ultimately I guess I wouldn’t actually do anything differently because my journey is my journey – and you have to learn to LOVE THE JOURNEY!