In my last post, I discussed how important it is to be positive about your body during and after weight loss.
Now, let’s dive into what it means to lose weight and still be body positive.
If you have listened to the Half Size Me Show podcast, you’re aware that I do not encourage people to take drastic measures to achieve weight loss.
If you search Google or social media, you’re going to find many different approaches to losing weight, some of which are very restrictive. With many of these approaches, you probably won’t be losing weight from a place of respect or love for your body.
Removing entire food groups, doing extreme exercise, taking supplements and pills, and eating very little is not showing kindness to your body or a healthy, long-term approach to weight loss.
When you start making healthy habit changes that produce weight loss over time, you’ve found the right number of calories and amount of exercise for you that still allow you to enjoy your life. This concept of finding what is “just right” for you is explained beautifully by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff in his book The Diet Fix—I encourage you to read it.
Most diets do not encourage concepts like enjoyment and sustainability. Instead, they focus on getting you quick results. It’s almost never about if you can sustain your effort forever. This is why I encourage you to take back control of your weight-loss journey and make it one unique to you, with a focus on your enjoyment.
In the past, you might have said, “I want to weigh X pounds,” and then tried to do whatever was necessary to get you there. And you probably made yourself miserable in the process. You need to reserve the order of your thinking. Don’t focus on the outcome—on how much you’ll weigh when you’re done.
What you want to do is think of two roads merging into one:
- Road A: This road represents the way you are willing to eat, for the rest of your life, to lose weight and then keep it off.
- Road B: This is the road that represents the amount and types of exercise you are willing to incorporate into your life and stay consistent with for the long term.
The place Road A and Road B converge is where you’ll find your happy, maintainable weight. It’s important to realize that this ‘place’ may be nowhere near the goal weight you once had in mind. However, it is going to be a much (physically and mentally) healthier place than where you are now.
The way to lose weight and be body positive is to begin from a place of autonomy.
Don’t aim for a goal or follow a diet plan that were dictated by someone else. All the changes you make and the body weight you achieve should stem from what you want to do. It’s about what you are willing to change without resentment. You have free will and can make the changes and decisions that are best for you.
So, find where the two roads meet for you.
You may say, “I will not stop eating carbs. I love them so I am not willing to give them up. Wherever that takes me on Road A is fine with me.”
And if you have no interest in working out like a beast in the gym, but you want to walk most days, then see where that takes you on Road B.
You are establishing autonomy by creating your own plan.
When I lost weight for the final time, my focus was on maintenance. I had to like everything I was doing to lose weight. I did this because I knew I would be continuing these habits after I lost weight.
You know how many success stories there are online. All the great before and after photos. But those are just one moment in time. I’ve been on my maintenance journey since 2012. It would have been difficult to maintain if I felt miserable and restricted.
As I was losing weight, there were certain things I called ‘non-negotiables’. These non-negotiables had to be a regular part of my life. They included:
- Pizza has to be in my life (which meant I wasn’t going to cut out all dairy or carbs).
- I need to have treats daily, or I will resent the process.
- Exercise has to be pleasurable and something I look forward to (meaning no running for me!).
Once you clearly define your non-negotiables and know what you refuse to give up, you will start making real progress. Just ask yourself what you are honestly willing to add in, or take away, without resentment.
I’ve created a way I am willing to eat for the rest of my life, and it has kept me within a certain weight range. This range, by the way, is not my recommended weight based on BMI. I have been maintaining happily at 150–160 pounds since 2012. This is a much healthier weight range for me than when I was over 300 pounds, and, more importantly, I am able to live the life that I truly want—one without unnecessary pain and the freedom to make choices that are not limited because of my weight.
I encourage you to ask yourself, “What am I willing to do for the rest of my life?” Let that be your roadmap to success. Stop searching for what others are doing and start looking at what you are willing to do.
It’s time to start changing your own life.
If you need help figuring out what will work for you, please check out my coaching cast, Stop Dieting and Start Losing. Through this engaging and exciting program, I work with you to break the enchanting spell of diets and the yo-yo diet cycle. You’ll learn to build healthy habits into your life over time.
You will start your weight-loss journey from a place of gratitude and self-respect, so you can reach a place that is healthier, sustainable, maintainable and full of love.