I’ve tried to lose weight too many times to count. That’s a lot of times. I have had some success, but ultimately, I ended up back where I started and then some. Why do I think I have a handle on it this time? Why do I think that this time will be any different than all the other failed attempts? It really comes down to the three P-words listed above.
1. I’m learning to be patient with myself. In all my past attempts, I was out for the quick weight loss. How much could I lose in a week? Many times, my most successful times, were participating in weight loss competitions at my gym. In those settings, how much I lost or gained in a week affected not only myself, but others on my team. In those cases, I would do unhealthy, unsustainable things just to hit the number. Things like eating only 1200 calories per day, working out (hard) three times per day), sitting for an hour in the sauna or steam room while not drinking any water—trying to dehydrate a few pounds off me, not eating. Other times, especially when I was younger, I would try things like diuretics, laxatives, and making myself vomit. I was an all-or-nothing kind of gal and that is not necessarily a good thing when you are trying to develop habits of lasting change—habits that can sustain a healthy, lean body and healthy mental state—over the long haul.
2. I’m learning persistence. In my former attempts, if I fell off the wagon, I would totally throw in the towel. After all, I was a failure. I just couldn’t do it (and here we go down the unhealthy self-talk rabbit hole not to be seen or heard from again until we have gained back all of our weight, plus an extra twenty for our efforts, and a slew of new bad habits to go along with it). This time around, when I have a misstep or fall off track, I get back on just as quickly as I can. I don’t see it as a personal failing or something that indicates that I am unworthy, unable, or broken. I try to learn from my mistakes and figure out how to avoid that same pitfall in the future. I reach out to my coach (which, if you are looking for a coach—please hit me up for a referral to John Pierre—he is the absolute best!). Learning how to be persistent in the face of failure has been one of the best lessons I have learned through this process. I don’t give up! One of the best things that I did for myself in the last few months of 2018 and all of 2019 was that I made a commitment to myself that in order to keep myself focused on my goals, I would go to any and every event that had anything to do with this way of eating that I could fit into my budget and into my schedule. I was able to go to 2 UWL conferences, take UWL Mastery 2 times, hire John Pierre for personal coaching, attend the first Pillars of Health Retreat, Remedy River Gorge Retreat, Vegan Spirituality Retreat, Colorado Vegfest, a fund raiser for Living with Harmony, lunch at Chef AJ’s house, the Word of Wisdom Cruise, a cooking class in LA with Healthy Cooking with Shayda, Healthy Human Nation Plant-Based Conference, and a few others. Even if I hadn’t had the time or money to attend these things, there are a lot of free summits online and excellent podcasts that help keep me engaged and focused on where I want to be. The Pillars of Health Retreat was a life-changing event for me last year and it is happening again. If you really want a weekend that will help you see what is possible for you, please consider attending. Let me know what questions you have. Keeping this information in front of me on good days and bad has made all of the difference in my still being here and being engaged.
3. I have learned to give myself a pat on the back when I do something that gets me closer to my goals. Sometimes this is as simple as just saying “Way to go T!” to myself when I accomplish something. Maybe it is making a post for Facebook, Instagram or this blog that my former self would have been embarrassed by, thinking that it was bragging. Maybe I get myself a reward for accomplishing a goal, like a new essential oil or a fancy filtered water bottle, or a pedicure (let’s face it, the pedicure will win out for me every single time). I’ve tried to make a practice of reviewing my day at the end of the day, thinking through what didn’t go quite as I would have liked, and celebrating the things that went well. Throughout my life I haven’t done enough celebrating or giving myself kudos for a job well done. We can’t always wait for someone else to give us the feedback that we are doing well and the encouragement that we need to stay the course. Sadly (and happily) sometimes that needs to come from us. Find a way to celebrate even the smallest of wins and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back daily!
The picture I chose to use with this post is a side-by-side comparison of my face from my highest weight to a few weeks ago. Sometimes it is really hard for me to see that I’ve made changes, and then I do a comparison like this and I realize that I have made leaps and bounds. A picture is just one of the things that helps me see that. The other is how I feel and what I can do. Differences in these two pictures that you can’t see:
· Not sleeping well, but sleeping a lot (if that makes sense)
· Could barely walk around the block
· Tons of joint pain
· Lots of lower back pain
· High Blood Pressure
· Lots of self doubt
· A lot of brain fog
· Cravings. Lots and lots of cravings
· Restful sleep and a newly formed morning person
· Can do lots of physical activity, including the stairs and rower
· No joint pain (except recent knee injury)
· No lower back pain
· Very little depression
· Improved blood pressure
· Increased confidence
· Clear mental capacity
· Cravings for fruit and vegetables
So if you are discouraged and wondering why things don’t ever work out for you…..hang in there. Find a good solid framework for the rest of your life—not just a fad diet. Be patient with yourself as you leave your old habits behind. They are called habits for a reason and you don’t replace the bad ones with good ones overnight. Be persistent! Don’t let every little misstep throw you off track for weeks at a time. Learn to lovingly get yourself back on the path and learn from your mistakes. And—when you do something good—CELEBRATE!