I walk a fine line between explaining how I’ve lost weight and giving advice. Yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight, but I’m not the fittest or the skinniest person and I don’t claim to know everything about weight loss. Im still working hard to get where I’m going; my small, sustainable lifestyle changes work for me, and I’m always happy to share them when asked. I personally dislike unsolicited advice, so I steer clear of telling anyone what to do. But people keep asking me, so this post is my advice about reassessing your priorities.
As I mentioned in the Reinvention Week kickoff post, I went to my friend’s bridal shower over the weekend and saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Whenever this happens, it can be awkward because people comment about how different I look and everyone wants to know “the secret.” I’ve already outlined seven steps to being awesome, which are the pillars of my weight loss. But the pivotal moment for me that got everything rolling was when I went back to basics and reinvented the wheel: I stopped trying to lose weight.
Now bear with me here. Losing sight of what you’re working towards seems counterintuitive, but for me, it’s been crucial to my success. For years, everything in my life revolved around trying to lose weight- my mind was consumed by it- and my eating and exercise behaviors were based around the overarching (and overwhelming) priority to lose weight. My brain had one fixation and one goal: Lose weight. Lose weight. Lose weight. This goal was a broken record, skipping again and again, never making a full cycle, never getting to the end of the song. And so I’d have small losses and gain it back and never accomplish it. I failed probably a thousand times. But I kept getting back on the horse. Hey, at least I didn’t give up. But as they say, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And boy did I feel like I was going insane.
I decided I needed a new goal. “Losing weight” hadn’t worked, and so I had to let it go. I wasn’t giving up, but I had to reinvent my goal. So, I decided my new goal was to “feel great.” Simple, broad, achievable. To be honest, I was just sick of feeling bad about myself and I was determined to change that, whether or not I would remain overweight. I felt like I could do little things every day that would make me feel great, and I was going to figure out what they were. So I would continue with my workouts, and my healthy eating changes, but instead of doing it for weight loss, my only goal was to make sure everything I did made me feel great. I realized that exercising made me feel great, and eating vegetables made me feel great. And guess what? I started losing weight. But it wasn’t my goal, I couldn’t allow it to be. That goal had failed me, and I had failed it in return. We had a pretty crappy relationship, me and that goal. My new goal was worlds better.
I realized that eating chocolate also made me feel great. And enjoying a beer with friends did the same. So I let myself do those things and I was still achieving my “feel great” goal. I also learned that waking up earlier made me feel great, and so did getting a mani-pedi every so often, and so did taking mini road trips when I had a few hours to spare. I leaned that this new goal encompassed my whole life and not just my weight. Lots of things made me feel great, and I took note of them. So I was actually enjoying my life instead of focusing on one thing and failing again and again. And I realized that eating too much chocolate, or enjoying too many beers, did not make me feel great. So I learned control and moderation in and of itself, and not as a product of deprivation due to a weight loss goal. That was life changing. Every step along the way I was learning and fine-tuning the things that were getting me to my goal. I was feeling happy every single day. I was experiencing something I hadn’t experienced in a long time: success.
Trying to lose weight really does take the fun out of everything. Skipping out on dinners with friends or after-work happy hours because you must avoid temptation and log tons of hours at the gym can be a drag. Especially when you don’t see results every day: a generally accepted healthy rate of weight loss is 2 pounds or less per week, and that’s
nearly impossible to see in the mirror. I’ve got a little bit of Veruca Salt in me: I want what I want when I want it, and usually, I want it now. Sure, there’s a huge payoff to putting in hard work over time and seeing the fruits of your labor at the end. But if you aren’t getting at least a hint of a feeling of success along the way, it can be hard to stay on the path. I think this is why most people fail when it comes to weight loss: results of that goal don’t come soon enough. You can’t see or feel them every day. It’s why I failed, again and again over the course of my life, before starting over each time with the same goal. Before I reevaluated, changed my goals, and started to achieve them.
So if you’ve been trying to lose weight, maybe, just stop. Reassess your goals. Reframe them. Rewrite them. Reinvent them. Continue to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes in order to feel great overall. Try to focus on having more energy, or sleeping better, or getting that “runner’s high” after a long workout; make a mental list of what makes you feel great and keep expanding it. The eventual byproduct of your efforts will likely be weight loss. But if you reinvent the wheel a little bit, maybe you’ll finally get it rolling.
Have you ever reevaluated your priorities or goals and seen better results? Do you think this could work for you? Share your thoughts!