I can’t believe I just wrote that.
This is the second week that I’ve been at my imaginary “goal weight” that I set oh so, SO long ago. (And I mean consistently at that weight, not those first-thing-in-the-morning-completely-naked-before-breakfast-but-after-you-poop kind of weigh-ins). Anyone dieting knows what I’m talking about. I think. Right?
Anyway, today I went for a run and I was thinking about what it took to get me here, and all the lessons I’ve learned about myself along the way… all four years of the way. Surprisingly, almost nothing about my life now is the way I imagined it would be when I thought about what life would be like “as a skinny person,” as I would say.
I don’t think this post will contain the answers for many people. I think that’s just it – weight loss is 100% individual.
But as a form of reflection, here’s how I did it anyway:
1. Got happy. I recently realized that I used to think of it all wrong. I used to think, “Once I’m skinny, I’ll be happier.”
Wrong. It wasn’t until after I addressed my bad habits, took on new challenges, tried new things, and made some big changes that my self confidence improved. Along the way, the weight came off. Once I became happier by actually doing things that make me happy, I spent a lot less time stressing about and wishing things were different, and more time just living a happy life than sitting around thinking about living one. (Usually with a snack.)
2. Got realistic. I still don’t look good in skinny jeans. I won’t go running only in a sports-bra, and I still have a lot of… well, jiggles. Being at my goal weight doesn’t look like what I thought it would, and I’m surprisingly OK with that. (And who has the time to do all those sit-ups?!?!)
3. Made goals. Lots and lots of goals. Many of them I never met. So then I made smaller ones. For example, last year I wanted to run a half marathon. So, I started by running for 25 minutes. Then I added a block at a time. Then I ran 3.5 miles quite regularly and came to really enjoy it. Once I made it 5 miles. I never ran a half marathon, but I did complete a 5k and loved it. It wasn’t my original goal, but it got me running across a finish line and that felt awesome.
3. Got going. I used to look at blogs, attend meetings, read books, and actually fantasize about weight-loss and healthy people. But it was so hard to translate reading about someone else’s success to my own success.
First, I got going the classic way: Weight Watchers. There, I learned exactly how much of what I usually ate was superfluous to what I needed to eat. I talked with others with the same habits and actually really, really enjoyed it (the chatting, not the non-eating). Weight Watchers’ Points system sucks and takes tons of time to adjust to, but it is a great way to learn what my body needed, how to find good healthy alternatives to favorite foods, how to create and maintain portion-control, and very importantly; it teaches you the lesson that if you screw up and over-eat, it’s OK.
All that said, I would never go back to Weight Watchers. My last 20 pounds were lost in a much more simple way than points equations and weekly weigh-ins and I think if I would have come up with it from the beginning, it would have worked just fine.
It finally took me equating “getting going,” with “getting happy” to eventually get healthy. Once I wanted to see some scenery on a hike, unwind by taking a jog, ride my new bike, or try cooking a new recipe, (and actually make time to do these things regularly) I simply found myself busier, and then healthier, and then happier, and then skinner. And it was fun. I don’t think I could have lost the last 20 pounds without a whole lot of fun because prior to that, I was in a big, fat rut.
And that’s what I did. 🙂