Step One to Losing Weight: Decide…and Believe
January 7th, 2013 by Katie Morton
I’ve been a lifelong dieter. It’s sad to me now, when I look back at all that time wasted while I obsessed about my body which, in retrospect, was perfectly healthy and beautiful. I remember my boyfriend at the time (now my husband) saying to me, “Why do you torture yourself over the same few pounds gained and lost over and over again?”
I don’t know – it was something to do?
The past two years, after having my baby, something changed in my body. My hormones were different. I was under more stress than I’d ever been before. And I saw my weight gradually climb 20 pounds higher, and I’d already wanted to lose 10 pounds before this new 20 pounds of post-baby weight made its shocking appearance.
This Past Year: More Ups Than Downs (on the scale, anyway.)
I had some brief luck losing weight back in the spring prior to a video shoot, but the whole time I was losing weight, I was dreaming of eating. And I still wasn’t happy with my weight. For on-camera talent, I felt scrutinized. Chubby.
Once the shoot was done, I gained back the weight and then some. All summer, I concentrated hard on getting my business launched and lost all thoughts of my weight. I have no recollection how or when, but the weight continued to creep on. I began to feel like a fraud. How could I help other people when I couldn’t help myself with something so “simple” as getting my weight under control? (Many of us know it’s not that simple, or we wouldn’t be a country in crisis over it.)
At Thanksgiving, I was nervous to see my family. My weight was at an all-time high, and I hoped they wouldn’t notice. Of course they noticed. Gentle questions were asked. Friendly advice was offered. But I wasn’t ready to take any advice. I knew it was high-time I turned this cruise ship around but I also knew that this time, it wasn’t about the right food or the right program. It was what was happening in my mind. I knew that I had to change what was happening inside before I could look at external tools.
And then I cracked. In a good way.
I began to look at myself as someone who could be healed and be made whole; I could feel good about myself — all the time. I wanted to learn how to love myself unconditionally, something that had never occurred to me to do before; unconditional love was something I didn’t know I deserved, until now.
I began reading even more voraciously than usual. Blogs. Books. I was beginning to become, I daresay, spiritual. Not your typical fire-and-brimstone organized religion stuff. I am over that, although I respect other peoples’ decisions to belong to churches. (I love me some Joel Osteen, personally – that’s the closest I’ll get to church.) But this spirituality was new and different to me. It was head exploding, in a good way.
It’s about a collective consciousness. It’s about our higher selves. It’s turning towards the light, towards love over fear. It’s meditating to find my center, my inner guide, who is fed by The Force, The Source, The Collective, The Universe, The Love, The Light, The Energy.
The Catalyst: Giving up Wine
I had toyed with the idea for a while of giving up drinking, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. I don’t want to give it up entirely always and forever. But I knew that I needed to eject it from my life currently. It was interfering with my connections…my connection to myself, and my spiritual connection.
Drinking wine was a way to shut myself off. And it was working too well. I want to be present, to learn more about myself so I can more thoroughly heal old wounds, and so wine had to go. The period of one year came to mind because of Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Year Without Wine.
I didn’t lose much weight for giving up alcohol, only about 3 pounds over a few weeks. As my mother said, “Then why bother giving up drinking?” Because it’s not just about the weight. It’s about my wholeness, my integrity as a person. It’s about learning myself inside and out. It’s about being able to feel my feelings and never turning my back on them.
But it is about the weight. I began to feel embarrassed about my body. I love to go to the gym. I think of it as a sort of sanctuary. But I began to feel embarrassed while I was there. I worried that old trainers would see me and wonder, “Holy crap, what the heck happened to her?” I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, and my workouts weren’t as fun when, frankly, I wasn’t very good at them anymore. And so ironically, I began to visit the gym less and less.
Shame aside, ego aside…The bottom line is that if I’m trying to take care of myself, being overweight is just plain unhealthy. I’m worth more than that, than to let myself go. I want myself back.
The Weight Loss Begins
This time is different. I always thought I’d “decided” I was going to lose weight all my previous attempts; as it turns out, this was not the case. This time…it feels very different. This time, I moved from wanting to determination. I saw each obstacle – not as a reason why I can’t – but as a problem to be solved, something I will figure out.
If you have any hope of losing weight and keeping it off, take this to heart:
Become a problem solver instead of an excuse maker.
Here is a small sampling of mighty excuses that I turned into problems solved:
Wine: giving it up for a year, starting December 8th, 2012.
Excuses themselves: I give them up, and see them as a puzzle to work on each time one appears.
Exercise: morning walks plus twice weekly weight training sessions. (I would have said this was “not enough” exercise in the past, yet still done much less instead when I failed at an overambitious plan.)
It’s About the Journey – no, seriously
As much as I want this extra fat OFF my body NOW, the journey is to be appreciated. There is value in having my weight loss unfold over several months. I’m becoming the best version of myself. I’m coming back healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been. This is not a diet. It’s about learning how to take care of my body, this vessel that I’ve been given. It’s definitely not about starving or overeating. It’s about nourishment and strength, patience and love.
Next week I’ll talk more about detaching from unhelpful thoughts and ditching excuses.
Photo credit: richkidsunite / Creative Commons