I received a lot of questions on Twitter about how I lost weight. I have several blog posts here with more detail, but I’ll give you the condensed version. My husband became ill, which set off a chain reaction of trial-and-error to become more healthy. That led to a transformation in my life. What I found is that it is more of a mental battle than a physical one.
The hardest part was continuing without distraction and not beating myself to death mentally. That meant making mistakes, learning from them, getting my nose back to the grindstone, and forgiving myself. The one thing that remained consistent was exercise. I gave 100% to exercise every day; only taking a day off when I really needed to, which was about once every two weeks. I didn’t hire a trainer and kill myself at the gym every day. In the beginning, I walked slowly for short periods of time, but pushed myself to do a little longer or a little faster every day. My first workout was about 20 minutes on the treadmill at a turtle’s speed. What mattered was that I showed up and did it – daily – with no excuses. I learned a lot along the way, which led to more efficient workouts, but all of that came later.
When I started, I expected results quickly and regularly. It didn’t happen that way. I did everything humanly possible for weeks at a time without zero progress. Sometimes it was a legitimate plateau. Those were rough mentally because I felt cheated because I was doing everything right, but not seeing progress. Other times, I was feeling sorry for myself and slacking off on my diet while lying to myself about what I was actually consuming.
I had to become brutally honest with myself about what I was doing. Our brains strive to keep a consistent point of view, so my belief that I was doing everything right didn’t make it true. If I stopped making progress, then I would start logging my food intake and usually find the problem.
The big difference here is a shift from being brutal to myself to being brutally honest with myself. In the past, I’d try to go on a diet, fail, then be harshly critical of myself. This time, I learned to immediately forgive myself for everything and move on. However, I forced myself to be brutally honest about what I could do to improve. It wasn’t about what I could get away with. It was about what I could accomplish if I put my mind to it.
I also began utilizing a weight loss self-hypnosis recording. I found a guy’s voice that I like and listen to him every night as I fall asleep. I listen to more than just weight loss recordings now, but I believe that they have two benefits. The first is that it helps with positivity. The other is that it helps me to get to sleep because of the breathing and visualization exercises that he walks me through. If I’m well-rested, then I’m more likely to have the energy to do what needs to be done.
When I first started exercising, the number on the scale went up. Muscles that are being worked hold fluid, so that reflects on the scale. I will be dealing with that this week because I’m getting back to an exercise program after five weeks off. It will mess with my head, even though I expect it. It won’t deter me, but I won’t be happy about it.
In short, the reason that I was successful was that I seized every opportunity to show myself kindness and keep a positive and honest gauge of my progress.