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.