Before successfully losing 75 pounds, I had many failed attempts. I knew how to lose weight. I knew what foods were healthy and which ones were less than ideal. I had an on-again/off-again relationship with exercise. The key difference when I successfully lost weight was the mindset behind my behaviors.
When I was unsuccessful with losing weight ...
1. I avoided the scale and was filled with regret whenever I faced it.
Rather than dealing with the problem, I wanted to pretend it wasn’t there. This strategy never lasted long; eventually I would face the truth. Whenever I weighed myself, I would be filled with regret. I regretted letting myself go and not being able to get my act together. I regretted every time I overate and every workout I skipped.
2. I used magical thinking to blame everything other than myself for my weight.
The possibilities were endless when it came to making excuses. I blamed the dining hall for not having healthy foods that tasted good. The weather was too cold or too rainy to walk less than half a mile to the gym. I was always too busy procrastinating and watching Netflix.
3. I was overwhelmed with how much I had to lose, and my goal was just a distant ideal that I didn’t truly embrace.
Whenever I realized how much weight I had to lose, I would become overwhelmed with the idea of it. I would have a goal weight in mind, but I couldn’t really see myself there.
4. I was impatient with the scale and wanted immediate results.
Every diet involved trying to lose weight rapidly. I would weigh myself daily and get impatient when the results were too slow. I wanted to press the fast forward button and be at my goal weight.
5. All it took was one moment of weakness for my entire diet to be a complete failure.
Being human, I would eventually slip up and give in to temptation. Rather than keeping things in perspective, I would blow it way out of proportion and decide everything was ruined. I would proceed to make up for lost time and treat myself to all the junk food I had been denying myself. It was a seemingly endless cycle of switching between reckless eating and impatient dieting with unrealistic expectations of myself.
6. My diets were based on shame.
The reason why I would try to lose weight was to escape the shame I had from being overweight. I wanted the shame to go away, but I wouldn’t accept myself and the behaviors that resulted in being 225 pounds.
When I lost the weight:
1. I accepted myself as I was in that moment.
I accepted myself fully as I was. I let go of the shame and regret I had for gaining weight. I directed my focus on getting from where I was to where I wanted to go.
2. I took complete responsibility for my life.
I stopped projecting the blame and took complete responsibility for my life. The things that I previously used as excuses became irrelevant to me. This empowered me to become more confident in reaching my goals.
3. I believed in myself.
My mindset shifted from “trying to lose weight” to “going to lose weight.” I was able to see myself at my goal; it wasn’t just some distant idea. I knew the only thing that could get in my way was myself, and I wasn’t going to let that happen.
4. I trusted the process.
I stopped worrying about the results. I trusted they would come as long as I remained persistent. I accepted that I wasn’t going to lose it all overnight.
5. I embraced my inner fat kid.
I took a more balanced approach and allowed myself to give in every once in a while. Rather than getting mad at myself whenever I ate more than intended, I let it go and moved on.
6. I changed my lifestyle out of love rather than shame.
I accepted myself for where I was and stopped regretting every minor mistake I made. I loved myself enough to get fit, make healthier choices and strive for the best version of myself.