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Shedding your past to find the REAL you!

19 September
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Coupons by dmdonahoo - photo on flickr - Creative Commons Licenseby Heather Robertson

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Are you struggling with letting go of a past identity? Does it hold you back from reaching your weight loss goals?

That’s a part of losing weight many people don’t think about.

It happened to me.

So, I had to learn that who I am, my true value, isn’t based on what I do, or how others view me, but how I see myself.

False Sense of Value

In 2008, shortly after my second son was born, we were having financial difficulties.

I decided to learn the fine art of couponing. However, I did what I’ve done so many time before, I became obsessed with becoming the “best” at it. We went from spending $500 to $700 dollars a month to cutting our grocery bill down to about $250 a month!

Among my family and friends I became known as “The Coupon Queen”. I taught classes. I answered questions. People would seek me out and want to know what I did to get our grocery bill so low.

I began to accept the label as part of my identity. It defined my sense of self-worth.

Fast forward and I was getting closer to my weight loss goal. I was also eating healthier, buying way more vegetables and fruits. This caused our food budget to creep up and it stressed me out. My sense of value, the way I believed I contributed value to my family, was all tied up in my couponing.

So, I did something difficult for me. Very difficult. I told my husband we had to increase the grocery budget. Even though he reacted with a “That’s fine. Let’s do it,” for me, I felt like a failure. Like I was letting my family down. I’d accepted this “Coupon Queen” image of myself so completely, it was difficult to let go of this view of myself.

However, I began to see that my problem, this obsessive need to be “perfect,” had to do with not only my feelings of self-worth, but also my self-efficacy.

In case you’ve never heard me talk about self-efficacy before, it has to do with how you view your own competence and your ability to complete tasks and goals.

I wasn’t aware at the time, but it was my low self-efficacy, a lack of belief in myself and my abilities, that created my need to define myself by these labels.

So, when my circumstances changed, even for the better, it forced me to look at my false sense of identity, my false sense of value.

Breakthrough Moment

During a recent dinner with friends, I had a breakthrough moment.

As we talked the subject of eating fresh, healthier foods came up.

One of my friends (whom I’d taught how to coupon) studied me for a moment, like she was weighing her choice of words. Then she asked, “So, are you still couponing?”

Not long ago, I would have wanted to hide under a rock. I would have felt shame, guilt. I would have questioned myself, my mind flooding with doubt about the choices I’d made.

Was I doing enough?

Should I do more couponing?

Maybe I was letting my family down after all!

Instead, I looked at my friend and said “Yes, I’m couponing, but not like I was.” I didn’t say it with that familiar, unwanted twinge of pain. There was no feeling like I was letting everyone down, or I wasn’t living up to my fullest potential.

I just embraced it. I realized my life has changed. And certain aspects, like couponing, don’t define who I really am.

Now, I understand how important self-efficacy is, and I believe I can always find a way, or develop the skills necessary, to do the job at hand.

One of the Greatest Gifts

When I needed to save my family lots of money, I learned how to do it. When I needed to lose weight, I learned how to eat better, exercise, and I finally took charge of my binge eating to achieve my goals.

I now believe in me enough that given any set of circumstances I know can find a way to succeed!

That’s what this whole journey is about for all of us. I’ve always possessed the skills to do what I needed to do, I just didn’t realize it. And the same is true for you. It’s true for all of us.

Knowing you can depend on yourself to figure a way to achieve your goals, no matter what, is one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever give yourself.

Maybe your sense of self-worth comes from these labels. Maybe you carry them around with pride and are secretly terrified to let them go.

If they’re holding you back from living your life to its fullest potential, look inside yourself. Commit to change. Commit to believing in yourself. Commit to knowing, unconditionally, that you’ll find a way… no matter what!

What past beliefs about yourself are holding you back? Please share your thoughts in the comments section or send me a message by clicking here. I’d love to hear from you!

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HeatherRobertson

Founder - Half Size Me at Half Size Me Media, LLC
After losing 170 pounds by changing her mindset, developing healthier eating habits, and making exercise part of her lifestyle, Heather decided she wanted to help others who struggled along their weight loss journey. Along with her hubby, Joel, they founded HalfSizeMe.com and the extremely popular Half Size Me Show podcast.
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8 Responses to “Shedding your past to find the REAL you!”

  1. Jo Bockman September 20, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    You are always so profound and your writing touches me!!! Wow. I am in that process right now of redefining myself, losing my labels, and trying to just live–no, just LIVE.

  2. Laura Richardson Hutson September 20, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Great Post!! I think this is so true and it is something that I have had to deal with as well. I have found, though, that I am becoming a much more confident, competent person. I went back to the classroom this year after being at home for a little over 5 years. I have discovered a new confidence and self efficacy as a teacher that I just didn’t have before. I really think it has come out of all the hard work I have out in to lose almost 70 pounds.

    • HeatherRobertson September 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      Congrats Laura! I am so proud of you! It is amazing how losing weight has such an impact on every aspect of our lives. I know you must feel great!

  3. Lisa Eirene September 20, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    It took me a few years after I lost all the weight to get over that “Old Me” mentality. Now I’ve come so far from that person that I don’t even feel like she was me anymore. It’s hard to look at pictures of me 100 pounds heavier and relate to them because it feels like someone else. It just takes time.

    • HeatherRobertson September 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

      Yes I agree Lisa! I work on this everyday. One day I will have been thin as long or longer then I was obese and maybe then it will all be normal :)

  4. tracy reifkind September 22, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Hi Heather! It’s funny, one could say that we have obsessive “perfectionist” personalities and we simply applied them in a new, different way that produced our amazing weightloss and new health/fitness lifestyles. “Couponing” is a lifestyle, much the same as other kinds of collecting is. Among a lot of “hobbies” that I have been obsessed with being the best at in my life, the last one I called “garage sale-ing”! For years and years I had a set schedule on Fri/Sat/Sun, never missed, even after I lost the weight, it was a lifestyle. I miss “the thrill of the hunt” sometimes, but it doesn’t fit into who I am anymore. But neither does being obsessed about food either, Whether it’s overeating or calorie counting. One hobby turned into another, or instead of “hobby”, maybe a better word is “habit”. There is nothing wrong with doing something you love and having it become part of who you are because we get to pick and chose it! Life is full of games we can play! Couponing, garage sale-ing, calorie/point counting, working out/training, are all games! So much fun we get to have!

    When I lost the weight I didn’t see myself as this “new” person. I felt a huge sense of relief to finally be able to express the old me, the “true” me! Whew!

    • HeatherRobertson September 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that Tracy! It helps to hear others share their personal changes that happened in their journey. I love the obsessive “perfectionist” idea. I have been so that way. I fight daily to remember that mindset never got me the results so now I am just focusing on progressing and being persistent. I like those much better! Thanks again for sharing you are awesome!

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