As many of you know, I have sustained a weight loss total of 65 pounds for 3 years now. I am something of a statistical anomaly according to most weight loss research. That fact makes people want to know my “secret” on a regular basis.
Someone asked me at the last class of Weight Loss Challenge in February what was the final “thing” that made me motivated enough to lose weight. And it sounded silly to some perhaps, but I instinctively said, “My daughters.”
My love for my daughters and my sense of wanting to be able to give them the fullest life I could helped to motivate me to re-learn to walk and run and climb and skip and crawl with them. It’s not that I didn’t want them to see me as “fat”, but more that I didn’t want to be the mom on the sidelines. I wanted to be the mom racing her kids, being able to hunt them down in an intense game of tag or hide and seek.
Wanting to be the best example of a mom and woman helped motivate me to lose the weight. Believe me, I had tried everything else. I had been disgusted with myself and my behavior before. I had been angry at being so fat. I had been disappointed, shamed, ashamed, depressed, and anxious. But LOVE is what made the actual difference. I loved someone (two someones, in fact) SO MUCH that I would do anything for them. Do the hardest thing I could think of doing, which was to shed my outside physical layers and let my inner beautiful self out in a shiny, new body.
Over the past 3 years, my body weight has not changed much. I fluctuate in about a 10 pound range, currently hanging on the upper side of that range. But I have worked really hard on my nutrition. I’ve done clean eating, paleo, Whole30, macros, calorie counting, carb cycling, you name it. Most of that stuff is hard work- planning and prepping for certain “eating choices” plus exercising regularly can add up to the equivalent of a part-time job. Now, in the past 3 years, I would say that I have absorbed A LOT of good habits for me that stay ingrained in my behavior most of the time- incorporating a lot more vegetables and proteins, eliminating a lot of processed food, staying away from some grains, peanuts, and alcohol because they bother my stomach.
However, I have been irritated at myself for failing to make any significant changes in my weight. Some of the same old emotions came out for me during the past 3 years- anger at myself, anxiety, and feeling ashamed that as a fitness professional, I couldn’t control what I was doing better.
About 3-4 months ago, I hit a bit of what I call “diet” fatigue. I wasn’t “dieting” in the sense of trying to lose weight, but I was tired of working so hard on what I was putting in my mouth. So I decided to try something new- I just quit worrying about it so much. I decided to feed my body what it wanted, when it wanted it. I had missed beans so much, so I ate them. I had missed good, crusty bread, so I ate some. And you know what? I didn’t turn into a giant, bloated mess of “wheat belly”. And I didn’t keep eating bread until I couldn’t eat anymore because I had learned something about eating until satisfied during the last 3 years.
This internal change in viewpoint from a position of self-restriction to one of self-care has made a huge difference for me. I eat to take care of myself, so that I can take care of my business, my clients, my family tribe, and everything else. One of my clients mentioned how skinny I was looking the other day. I said, “You know, I’m just going to put it out there that the last time you said that to me, I was about 8 or 10 pounds lighter than I am now.” I thought about waiting for a follow-up from her, but launched into the benefits of weight training in my authoritative, fitness trainer voice.
However, weight training is not the big “secret” as to my change in how I look physically. Here’s my real answer: LOVE. Love for myself makes me create better choices for myself, from what I choose to eat for lunch to how I structure my week to incorporate some time for myself. I think I look better and project a better image of myself to the world, heavier or not, because I am not wasting so much energy on being ashamed to not fit in with the other stick-thin female trainers in the club at which I work or stressing about my “race day weight”.
Love for others saved me from an unhappy life I had created, but love for myself sustains me now and in the future so that I can keep doing the amazing things I want to accomplish in my life. And a big one of those amazing things is to help my clients develop motivation for weight loss and lifestyle changes from a sustainable source- love for themselves as beautiful humans.
If you’re interested in changing your viewpoint from one of self-criticism to self-love through development of a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, get in touch with me today!
Photo Credit: Bethany Cass Photography