I remember distinctly how I approached the start of a “diet.”
First off, I only ever started on a Monday. I mean, what other day would you start?? You needed the weekend to do a thorough junk food clean out (and by that I mean Eat. It. All!) and/or hit up all your fave places and eat as if you have only one more day to live. For certainly, when you begin said “diet” you will have to say no to anything that actually tastes good or having a social life.
Second, I was going to be “good” this time. I was going to follow all the rules, eat only the food I was supposed to, never cheat, never miss a weigh in. I was going to do all the “right” stuff so I could “eat normally” again. You only ate steamed broccoli as a means to an end–not as part of a healthy life!
Third, I was going to lose 2 pounds every week, no deviation. There simply wasn’t time for this whole losing weight thing to take more than a few months. I had to do it fast! There was only so many social engagements that I could say no to…or attend, but not actually have wedding cake/a cocktail/cheese/movie popcorn. White knuckle all the way, baby!
Ugh!! Just thinking back to all those years and how I felt utterly miserable following certain programs makes me feel sad…and angry!
I’m sad because I see now how I was so cruel to myself. I was hungry! I ate food that I didn’t like and didn’t even taste good! I denied myself cheese for the love of god!! I said horrible, awful things to myself because no matter how hard I tried I simply couldn’t sustain those programs like Weight Watchers and LA Weightloss.
I’m angry because the weight loss industry is STILL advocating doing the same crap it has for the last 30+ years… Restrict yourself! Starve yourself! Punish your body with longer, harder, crazier workouts! Make no excuses or you’re simply a lazy, unmotivated blob of a person!
And I bought into this nonsense…for a long time…
When the scale wouldn’t budge or worse yet it went up I told myself I was a cow, that I had no willpower and no self-control, that I was a total pig for eating pizza, and that if I really wanted to lose weight then I’d stop eating crap. Ouch! Not only was I doing my physical body no favors being so restrictive, but I was also bludgeoning my poor self-worth to dust.
When I started my own personal health journey in 2010, I didn’t exactly know how I was going to make the weight loss happen. However, I entered the process with my MIND in a totally different space than I had ever before.
In talking with and watching others who have made lasting changes and maintained weight loss, the themes seem to be similar.
There are certainly best practices for moving and eating, but I think the keys for success…and by success I mean lasting change…are in your approach and mindset!
Not what you thought I was going to say at the start of this blog, was it??
Here are my game changers for achieving lasting weight loss and long-term health.
1.Make peace with the fact that change that sustains will take TIME.
I was overweight since…well, since as long as I could remember…3 or 4 years old probably. I had 30+ YEARS of habits and faulty thinking to undo. I had come to terms with the fact that backing out of unhealthy patterns and creating new ones would also take YEARS. Since I was determined I was only doing this work once more, I was going to work at it as long as it took. A couple of years of weight loss work was a trade-off I was willing to make for 30+ years of not having to worry about being overweight anymore.
2. Change things a bit at a time–not all your habits can be transformed at the same time.
Somehow, instinctively I knew that I would be chipping away at things a little at a time. I couldn’t–and wouldn’t–allow myself to think about all I needed to change…it was too overwhelming. I picked something, worked and worked and worked at it until it was part of my life and then tackled the next thing.
3. Let go of absolutes and set-in-stone rules and get comfy in the gray.
I had tried following programs to the letter–with shitty results! I decided I was going to listen to the experts, and then decide if the recommendations made sense, and then TRY them. If something didn’t make sense I didn’t do it. (Uhhh…no fruit after 4 pm??…what the???…just, NO!) If I tried something and it didn’t work, I didn’t assume I was the failure and keep hammering at it…rather, it was onto something else.
Find the things that work best for you. The spectrum of what is healthy is large…you can function in the gray area without rules and rigidity. At the outset this feels more difficult…and it may well be…but in the end you will have created a custom built way to eat, just for you, that will sustain you as long as you need it to!
4. Realize your change is going to be permanent and lasting…this is not a temporary, 21 days and done, starve yourself for a couple of months “diet.”
I was in for the long-run. I would absolutely not be buying into any 21 or 30 day program or challenge. I would not be doing any detoxes or supplementation. Real food… in a real way…for the long haul.
5. I was going to eat cookies…and cheese…and pizza…and ice cream!
I did not enter my health changes believing I could eat a ginormous bowl of ice cream every night and lose weight/be healthy. I DID enter my health changes knowing myself. Which means I understood I would not give up cookies for the rest of my life–it meant I was going to find a way to eat cookies in a moderate, yet satisfying way, that allowed me to still lose the weight I wanted to lose.
Success leaves clues! The biggest clue I can share with you about SUSTAINABLE weight loss and SUSTAINABLE health is your mindset and approach when you start makes all the difference.
There are tons of ways you can lose weight or get healthier in the short-term…but if what you want to achieve at the end of the day is change that lasts then your outlook at the beginning will be different than it has been before.
I get it: attempt after attempt at weight loss, only to get stalled and/or gain it all back. I get it: feeling completely powerless to change your body. YOU are the person I aim to help! Keep checking back here for more topics on getting healthy, in a way that works for you, that lasts! Did you know I have a newsletter, too? Each week I email exclusive content…things like workouts, recipes, weight loss and health improvement strategies, mindset changes, and personal stories of mine…content I don’t publish or share anywhere else. Don’t miss a bit of goodness to help you on your journey…sign up here!