Just before my 40th birthday I hit my much sought after “Goal Weight.”
It was pretty much what you would expect…the skies parted, rays of sunshine swathed over me, rainbows surrounded me, and you could here the sing-songy, high-low-high sound of “Aaaah-Ah-Aaaahhh!!!” I was in a mountain meadow, swirling about with my arms wide open (think Sound of Music). *record scratching*
Of course, I’m exaggerating! Hitting my goal weight was about as anti-climatic as you could imagine. I was pleased and yet it was weirdly just ho-hum, too. Hmmm…
Fast forward to now…just after my 43rd birthday and I’m about 15 pounds heavier than I was three years ago. Yep, that was difficult to admit, but there it is! And depending upon my mindset and frame of reference I’m either totally fine with that or I’m totally upset and devastated by it.
What I’m about to share is intensely personal. I’m admitting some things to you about myself that are difficult share…some of my less than stellar human behavior!
So what happened? Why did I gain weight? Lots of things I think….
- Hello!! 40!! Hormonal shift! Within two months of my 40th birthday I had gained 4 pounds. I wasn’t doing a thing differently. Moving the same and eating the same. At this point in my life it was the “cleanest” I have ever eaten. And yet, inexplicably I put on weight. Hormone shifts are real…some women are impacted more than others.
- Stress…more stress than I had been under while I was in weight loss mode. I have encountered a handful of personal disappointments in the last few years…some of my own making, others not. Either way, they hurt and caused me stress and I’ve had to work through that. I’m dealing with an aging parent who is also living with us–THAT is some big time stress.
- I lift heavy now and have put on muscle.
- I’ve loosened the reins on how strict I eat. Health changes aren’t my top priority anymore and my eating has changed (eased up) from weight loss mode.
- I spend more time sitting these days. My passion for helping other women is my priority–which means I’m at my computer much more than I used to be. Prior I was a SAHM and I spent my day primarily running errands and keeping up the house, so I was on my feet rather than sitting.
On my good days where I’m in a logical, realistic, forgiving, and positive mindset, here is what I think to myself:
Well, Carrie, you aren’t the size you want to be. But is that really the end of the world? You are healthy!! You are setting an example of health for your girls and teaching them about food and movement, NOT about being skinny! Think of how you eat now compared to what you ate just five years ago. You move consistently every week and you used to do nothing. You’ve made room in your life for more social engagements with friends and that means more indulgences. Would you give up that time with friends for a lower weight? You could cut down on the sugar…you know it’s not healthy for you. Start there…cut down on the sweets and your weight will probably shift. Does the extra weight change you in any way that matters??
On my bad days where I’m feeling judge-y and low, here is what I think to myself:
For chrissake, Carrie, what the hell is wrong with you? You can’t even keep the weight off that you lost?? Total fatty!! You are going to see people you don’t like…and who also don’t like you…at this upcoming thing, and you KNOW they are going to be looking at you and wondering how much weight you’ve gained! They are going to be snickering about how you got fat again! You know it’s true, because it’s exactly what you would have thought about someone you disliked. What kind of example or teacher can you be to others when you can’t even maintain your own weight??
So, in the midst of this fear and mindset struggle of mine, something I know already has been illustrated again: your weight and body will NOT make you happy, your own perspective and mindset will!!
I’m still the exact same person above when I talk to myself. The difference is in how I perceive and talk to myself. I can lift myself up, be compassionate and realistic to myself like I would a friend -OR- I can be a lethal weapon with the intent to kill with my own personal thoughts and words. How you talk to yourself matters!!
When I hit my goal weight, I felt good because I had accomplished the goal I set out to–I had finally conquered the demon of weight that I had battled for years. The number on the scale wasn’t really what brought me happiness–it was the achievement, the process, the learning, the how much I had changed! So I felt good about my achievement, but I STILL was missing the piece about feeling good about ME!
Now, I’m in a different space…I weigh more and I’m juggling some different things in life. I’m still learning and I’m still changing.
HOWEVER, I’m developing a self-worth that isn’t entirely hinged upon my looks. <— This has never been in the equation before and it’s unsettling. Can I truly be okay with my body that is heavier than I would like? Can I truly be kind to myself, accept my choices and the outcomes (a body that weighs more/is bigger than I would like), without doing a complete backslide?
I think YES, I can!!
I’ve worked really, really hard on my habits…they are a part of me now. I don’t drink soda except for rarely, and I don’t plan to or want to. I don’t eat fast food, except for rarely, and I don’t plan to or want to. I don’t sit on the couch at night and eat bowls of cereal, and I don’t plan to or want to. I choose healthy options way more often than not…my meals consist of protein, veggies, good dairy, fruit, nuts, and a few grains. I know I like sugar a whole lot and is an area of weakness to be worked through, not a failure or something that inherently makes me an unworthy person.
I’m healthy!! And I don’t see that changing and I don’t want it to. All of this occurs because I choose HEALTH daily, not because I’m trying to be smaller. My mindset is starting to slowly click into place.
My worthiness and likability isn’t about what I look like…and if others choose to see me as “fat” or “not looking like a trainer should” or snicker about me behind my back then it’s not for me to know or worry about. I never thought I’d ever say those words. EVER!! But, I’m starting to believe this and let me tell you, it is freeing…a burden lifted that feels like nothing else.
When my mind is “right”, for lack of a better term, and I believe that others opinions have no bearing on me, suddenly I have nothing to prove to them and nothing to fear from them. Who gives a shit what “they” think?? Not me!! And that fucking feels great to let that shit go!
I completely understand wanting to lose weight…and lose weight for aesthetic reasons. It’s okay! This is where I started, too. I had a pool I wanted to enjoy with my girls and not be worrying about being stuffed into an ill-fitting swimsuit. I had a 20 year class reunion that I wanted to attend…and knew at the weight I was at that time I would not go.
But I am also here to tell you, WITHOUT HESITATION, your happiness and self-worth will not repair themselves because you got skinny!
That’s a whole other ball ‘o wax and it’s one that I advocate heavily you work on while you change your physical body. Mindset, self-talk, self-worth….this stuff is the cream of the crop and it’s also the hardest work you will do to regain health. The outcome–feeling good about you, the whole you, just as you are–will be worth every drop of energy you expend!! 🙂
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