After nearly six years of maintaining a 125-pound weight loss, I've collected many insights about my health journey that I know others can benefit from, too. Last year, I wrote about the 25 life lessons I took away from my weight loss experience. This year, I want to expand upon twelve of those lessons and offer up further wisdom. So, here it goes:
1. It didn't take hitting rock bottom to start altering my life.
There are so many weight loss stories out there that include a "breaking point" of sorts. That moment when a person firmly commits to improving their health because of scary medical condition or maybe a life-changing epiphany they had. I didn't have that. For a long time, I felt like I should have had one of those moments, but I eventually realized I didn't need to wait until my life flashed before my eyes before deciding to start making changes.
2. Blaming others for my obesity did nothing to improve my situation.
Blame and excuses gave me an easy way out of any circumstance I found myself in. It wasn't until I stopped accusing others for my problems that I was able to begin holding myself accountable for my own health and wellbeing. And what an empowering feeling that can be!
3. My past doesn't equal my future.
Some family members and friends determined what I was capable of achieving based on what I had done in my past. I wasn't taken seriously for a long time during my weight loss journey. The fact that I had the ability to disassociate from the actions of my past aided in creating a wonderful present moment.
4. An all-or-nothing mindset is dangerous.
Sustained weight loss isn't all about the food you put into your mouth and how much you move your body. There's a popular saying that claims "weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% food," but it's SO not that simple. An all-or-nothing mindset believes this fallacy to be true, however. Over the course of my journey, I had to rid myself of this fixed thought process and learn to be less rigid with beliefs and myself.
5. It's OK to fail a lot.
In fact, I bomb at something every single day. Failures don't make me a failure. I had to learn to wake up each morning with a resilient attitude and start fresh. Sustained weight loss is not perfect; there are plenty of ups and downs, but it's all progress. I often eagerly await my failures because I know they offer me clarity if I can reframe them into something great.
6. Self-sabotage comes in many different forms.
I figured out pretty quickly that I've got a crazy habit of over-booking myself. Thinking I can "do it all" creates stress and is the biggest self-sabotage for my health. I also don't ask for help as quickly as I should. A "do it all" super woman mentality is a disaster for maintaining my own good health.
7. Comfort zones are based only on what I am used to doing — and they're changeable.
Anything that has ever filled me with fear and discomfort has altered my life for the better when I followed through and took action. After the times I've been brave enough to step out and answer a calling, I always felt an incredible amount of euphoria. I allowed uncertainty to postpone too many of life's adventures.
8. Accomplishments build on one another.
I've had a lot of adversities to overcome in my short life. Each time I succeeded at conquering one of them, I was able to move on to the next. Each triumph fueled me for the next goal I wanted to achieve because I was able to reflect on what I'd already mastered. The next challenge always becomes easier because I've gained the confidence from prior experiences.
9. Happiness is much easier to feel when I'm healthy.
When I'm feeling in top-notch good health, I have massive amounts of energy. For me, vibrant energy translates to vibrant happiness. When my health is in good order, I'm more likely to want to help others, enjoy the environment around me, see things from an optimistic point of view and take care of myself.
10. I don't look anything like what I thought I would after losing 125 pounds.
Admittedly, because I was plus-sized for most of my life, I had no idea what I would look like as an average-sized woman. I had a skewed idea about what my appearance would transform into. Because I spent many, many years of my life carrying around an extra 100+ pounds, much of my skin stretched beyond repair and cellulite became more pronounced. These are now my battle scars — proof that I survived.
11. A confident woman can do anything.
Confidence came when I stopped giving up on myself. As I stretched my comfort zones and made it through the seemingly painful times, I became more determined. Tenacity was the friend that assisted me in following through with some unbelievable feats.
12. It took overcoming a huge obstacle in my life to discover what I'm sincerely passionate about.
I didn't set off on my weight loss journey thinking I'd be a health coach some day. But after getting my health together, I naturally became a sort of spokesperson for weight loss and the go-to person for health questions from friends and family. After years of helping those around me, I realized I had something bigger to offer the world.
Do you have weight loss wisdom of your own? Please share your experience!
Photo courtesy of the author