My personal philosophy around the psychology of weight loss

One thing that’s not always talked about with weight loss is how it’s not only a journey into finding health and wellness – but it’s also a journey that’s psychological and emotional. Now, I am not a clinical psychologist or anyone with a psychology background – I am simply a girl who has struggled with her weight her entire life (and I’m talking since I was 3 or 4).
I have lost weight countless times in the past, but I’ve learned in order to truly succeed and to stick with it is to work on the other factors that come along with weight loss.  The reason you started your journey alters as you continue down your path, your outlooks change, and your overall environment can and will change.
Weight loss is not only physical, but it’s also emotional and psychological. Our bodies transform, our habits change, but our minds are the last thing to switch over and sometimes that switch can take years. I’ve learned that regardless of what my body may look like (in clothes, out of clothes, etc) I have to love myself for who I am. My body may not be perfect, but I have to remember where it’s gotten me and what I’ve put it through when I was heavier. I try to remember where my legs have carried me, what my arms have lifted. If I focus on the positive, it makes it so much easier and so much more worth it.
For instance after my first nearly 100 pound weight loss, I could look in a mirror and still see myself as that nearly 400 pound girl when in reality I was anything but.  My brain hadn’t caught up with seeing the new me.  I determined to set my thoughts on positive thinking.  Negativity wasn’t and will not get me anywhere in life.  In fact negativity was the reason I was tipping the scale at nearly 400 pounds.  Everything was a downer; there was no light at the end of the tunnel.  I quickly learned that continuing with that mentality I was only going to hit a brick wall, throw my hands up and give up. I didn’t want to get to that point, so I began changing things slowly.  I tried to see the positive in all aspects – life, work, relationships, friends, family, etc.  Just because someone is having a bad day, it doesn’t mean that I have to let that affect me and my mood and I certainly didn’t need to eat over the frustration they were dealing with.  Over time I realized that if someone was affecting me in a negative way I had to remove myself from that relationship.  Negativity is a malicious disease and it can eat away at you and those around you before you know it.
I’m not saying you can train your brain to switch over in a week, or even a month – but I am saying it’s a gradual process and it takes time and it takes effort.  Finding someone who you can trust to talk to is a huge help – boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, friend, family.  If you can’t find that, there are many therapists out there who will listen to you speak and give you completely unbiased platform to express yourself and even provide unbiased advice, etc.
I admit there are still instances when clothes shopping that I find myself in the plus size section. It then clicks and I ask myself “Why am I over here?” and I move over to the other sections to browse for clothing.  I realize the reason why I sometimes end up in the plus size section is because for my entire pre-teen, teenage and adult life I’ve shopped in plus size sections exclusively so it’s what’s familiar.  Shopping in a juniors section or non-plus size section of a store is foreign to me – even after shopping in those sections for over a year.
It’s a journey, a one day at a time journey that coincides with your healthy lifestyle. Learn to love yourself (and if you can’t do it right now – fake it ‘til you make it), to love your body (remember how strong your body is, keep in mind where you’ve been, where you are and where your ultimate destination is – but please keep realistic expectations) and to enjoy life (because life is no fun when you’re glum).
Four years ago I was a very miserable person inside and out. I’d mask my pain but it was evident in my annoyance, my anger and my “I don’t give a shit” attitude.  Today, I smile a lot more, I’m happy and I work on me day in and day out.  This is a lifetime journey – both my weight loss journey and psychological journey. But keeping myself in check really makes things and the journey so much easier.  I wouldn’t change who I am today because I’ve grown so much over the last 3 years – emotionally, physically and psychologically.  I’m proud of myself today and most importantly I love myself today.

Total NSV: Lose for Good

In 2010 I won my local Weight Watchers meetings Lose for Good challenge. It was a friendly competition to donate food for charity and to shed some pounds by incorporating activity into our lifestyles.  In the end, I won a t-shirt at the time.  Upon bringing it home realized it was a size Medium. Let me stress that, when I won this shirt a size medium was no where near my size – it was a distant hope.  I was still surfing the racks in the plus size section and trading clothes with family members.
I folded the t-shirt up and stuffed it in my drawer because I wasn’t going to throw it away.  I EARNED that shirt whether it fit me or not.
It’s been tucked away for 2 years! I found it this morning while looking for something to wear in my drawer. I saw a nearly folded white shirt and thought “What is this?”  I pulled it out and saw it was my Weight Watchers shirt. For a moment, I put it back in the drawer.  Then I thought … for kicks let me put this on.
Guess what?
Thanks, Weight Watchers! This girl is happier than a cucumber and I am STILL losing!

Why Weight Watchers works for me!

I have am active Weight Watchers member and have been for 3+ years.  Without the tools, tips and tricks I have learned with many thanks to the Weight Watchers program and my original leader (Carol) I admit I would not have achieved the success I have found today.

I joined Weight Watchers because I KNEW it worked.  I was a member when I was around 18 years old and I lost around 40-50 pounds.  I stopped going for one reason or another (I was a member with my mother then – who I would like to note before she got pregnant with me lost over 100 pounds following the program).
The #1 reason Weight Watchers has worked for me is because I believed in the program from the very start.  Even if you start out as a mediocre believer – my only advise is to fake it ‘til you make it because believing in the program AND yourself makes the journey that much easier.  The program is very versatile; it fits into any lifestyle because there are absolutely NO foods that are off limits.  This is all about a lifestyle change – it’s not a diet.  There are no pre-packaged foods you live off of (admitted there are frozen dinners available but those are there for convenience for members, they are not a meal plan), you eat what you love (but the key to this is learning to eat it in moderation and being honest when you track it).
When starting a weight loss journey we should all remember that our journeys should be catered to us.  Since we are all individuals, we take things in stride because at the end of the day we are all different.  I personally dived right into the tools given to me from Weight Watchers and went chopping away.  Admittedly I was a little grumpy for a few weeks (because I went from eating everything and anything I wanted down to a regimented meal plan).  But I knew if I started it not 100% I would procrastinate until I got to that full 100%.  I know of members who cater the program to themselves so they can get acclimated with particular aspects so they don’t get overwhelmed and quit.  I say do whatever works for you, to help you get initially comfortable with the program.  Conquer the bigger aspects – whether that is portion, weighing/measuring, or even eliminating some “problem” foods/drinks (meaning the foods that tend to make you binge).  Once you got those key areas under control, the rest if a breeze and it’ll be the best decision you’ve made in your life.
I admit, even three years in, I still find I have some “trigger foods” that pop up from time to time that I am more comfortable having at a distance than right on hand in my kitchen.  It’s not always the same thing and sometimes trigger foods just happen randomly, even though I’ve never found them to be a trigger before. By the way – if you’re not sure what a trigger food is – it’s a food that when you have just a bite, you simply cannot stop and you will eat it until it’s essentially gone or thrown away.
Because this is a lifestyle and not a diet, I do go out to eat, I eat pizza fairly regularly (it’s my favorite food and if someone told me I could never eat pizza again I don’t know what I’d do) and I do enjoy my sweets. But the difference between me now (as a Weight Watchers member) and before is I enjoy the foods I love and crave in moderation.  I look up the points plus values – and if I cannot find them I do my best guest judgment and I enjoy what I eat.  No guilt because nothing is off limits.  One of the biggest changes is, I cook a lot more now than I have ever in my life. I actually prefer to cook my own means than I do go out and buy them because in my mind I know exactly what’s going onto it and I know the points plus values.  I love food, I would have never become a Weight Watchers member if I didn’t, but cooking gives me a nice, enjoyable outlet to experiment with new foods and flavors.
And remember … if you don’t tell someone something is a Weight Watchers recipe, 9 times out of 10, they’ll never know.  Just a little helpful tip!
If you’ve started your journey – how did you personally incorporate Weight Watchers into your lifestyle?