Posts Tagged ‘success’
Today’s reminder? There’s no one, singular way to reach your goals — no matter if those goals are health-, career- or relationship-oriented. Everyone’s path to their weight loss success will be different (even when participating with friends on a similar diet or healthy eating program).
The key to true dieting success lies in learning to listen to our bodies (and then responding accordingly). This alone dictates that there will be individual aspects to every journey. So try not to compare your path to someone else’s (much less their success to yours). You’ve got it going on — whether at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of your weight loss journey. (And if you’re anything like me, you know that journey never really ends.)
So celebrate your individuality and your individual path. There’s no one way. There’s no singular right way. There is your way. And that’s what really matters.
Photo Source: Pinterest
Recently I’ve been reminded of a disturbing trend in the billion dollar diet industry—albeit one that has been pervasive for years. I refer to it as the “Light Switch Mentality” that’s being sold by many organizations, programs, books and so-called experts who proclaim that to lose excess weight, you (we) should be on a diet. But this kind of thinking often leads to the opposite of being on… Being off.
Certainly being on or off has become part of the dieting vernacular. But in my humble opinion, it’s a way of thinking that can potentially lead to more weight gain than weight loss. In fact, it’s while many of us with a dieter’s mentality are on our diets that we’re focused on when we plan on going off. It’s a mindset we’ve been sold as the way to success, when in reality, it can be the way to put on extra pounds.
As someone who started gaining excess weight around first grade, and whose parents immediately took me to a doctor who put me on a strict diet (yes, even at a very young age), I can attest to the fact that the on/off cycle contributed to my continuing to gain weight throughout my youth. Sure, I would take off a few pounds (when I was on). But then I would gain even more weight back (when I was off). By the time I graduated from college, I was clocking in at over 450 pounds. And this was after years and years of constant dieting—the very thing that was supposed to be helping me was actually doing more harm than good.
Thankfully, I was able to remove myself from this cycle after my home electronic scale started reading “ERR” (its internal code for error, since it was not programmed to register any weight above 400 pounds). It’s when I stopped thinking of “dieting” (and being on and off of one) and started embracing healthy eating that I began to make some real headway. Within a year’s time I had dropped most of my excess weight. And sure, I yo-yoed up and down the scale for a couple years after that. I was, after all, recovering from a lifetime of “on and off” behavior. But once I nailed it (reaching a healthy weight for my height and body frame), I’ve stayed at this weight for well over a decade.
But this is where I quickly bring up that damned light switch thinking again. Because many people who see my before pictures want to know my secret to losing over 250 pounds of excess weight without any kind of surgery or medication. They’re not too thrilled when I tell them the secrets are eating less, moving more, getting plenty of sleep and drinking enough water (AKA common sense). And they sometimes go onto register abject horror when I tell them I have to keep all of these mandates in mind even today (otherwise right back up the scale I’d go).
Successfully losing excess weight has nothing to do with a light switch. There’s never a time that we should be on or off. If we’re prone to gaining weight or if we choose to lose excess weight to benefit our mental and physical health, then it’s going to take some work. This doesn’t mean food plans can’t be extremely helpful. But whether we choose to have a salad for lunch or even if we opt to have some ice cream for dessert, we’ve got to always think about portion size and ingredient content (yes, even when it comes to the salad).
This doesn’t have to mean we are always on and never off. Instead, we can adopt new mindsets and start living life as healthy minded individuals. You know—like those those fantastical types who can eat half a donut and then declare they’re full. (Yes, even I’m dumbfounded by this kind of behavior to this day.) But what these people know that we do not, is that they can have another donut (or whatever) in due time. But those of us on the endless on/off cycle of dieting often think, “I will be on my diet tomorrow (or Monday or come January 1st),” so I better have eighteen donuts today.
On. Off. Not always helpful.
Healthy thinking. A move in the right direction.
And healthy thinking can include well made (meaning clean ingredient) treats that can be easily and moderately worked into our eating plans—whether we’re taking off excess pounds or simply maintaining a healthy body weight.
Although somewhat baffling, this can be triumphant news if we allow it to be. Thinking less of on and off can mean reduced shame and self-punishment (also part of many dieting cycles, mentally speaking). Fact is, you are beautiful at your current weight (inside and out). If you choose to get healthier and drop some of the excess weight, then do so in a fashion that embraces all that life has to offer and try leaving the on/off Light Switch Mentality behind.
At the risk of an eye roll or two, what do you have to lose?
I am completely enamored with singer and writer JJ Heller’s beautiful song, “This Year (Happy New Year)” and plan to make the song part of my daily ritual of reminding myself what’s important in life (and what’s not). Her lyrics are so simple, so pure and so freeing. I encourage everyone reading this to check out the song (below) and to really listen to the lyrics. It’s all about forgiving one’s self for whatever’s come before and embracing this moment for all that its worth. If that’s not a recipe for success, I don’t know what is!
Time for another Rockstar Dieting Tip — one of many helpful ideas I incorporated into my life in order to take off more than 250 pounds of excess weight (and keep it off for over 10 years). You might be surprised to learn that this latest tip has nothing to do with food or exercise. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable to your journey toward total and lasting health.
Rockstar Dieting Tip #2 — Start a “You” Scrapbook
When dieting, we tend to focus on what we’re giving up (ice cream, potato chips, etc.). So instead, why not create your very own “You” scrapbook — one that’s filled with positive cutouts and imagery (healthy body types that inspire you, clothes you want to wear after reaching your goal weight, pictures of social situations that motivate you to take off the excess pounds, etc.)?
I created my own You Book (see above — that’s the actual one) that was eventually chock full of visual clues as to why I was committed to finally taking off the excess weight once and for all. With a “You” scrapbook, you can focus on what you’re getting by losing weight, not what you’re giving it up.
This tip was so popular with my friend Joy Bauer that she actually shared it on the Today Show. It really is something you create yourself that becomes all about you and your reasons for taking off the unwanted pounds. Think of it as a vision board you can add to, look at and take with you anywhere. I used to pick my scrapbook up all the time when tempted to cheat on my eating plan. And nowadays? It serves as an amazing testament to what I went through to not only take off the excess weight, but to keep it off.
When you start your own You Book, I hope you’ll share some images with me. I’d love to see it and even share it here on Just Stop Eating So Much! or on the Just Stop! facebook page. It also just might help motivate others to start their own scrapbooks. (And the best part of this treat? No calories to speak of whatsoever!)
Every year when Independence Day rolls around, I’m reminded as much of my own individual independence as I am of the country’s. And both are worth celebrating.
It was years (and years!) ago when a friend of mine was having a July 4th picnic and barbecue at her lake house. There were lots of people there and everyone was encouraged to bring a food dish of some kind. I probably don’t have to tell you that virtually every dish there was not diet friendly. Even the fruit salad had been “goosed” with marshmallows, whipped cream and other sugary additives. This was to say nothing of all the other foods that were available.
After topping out at over 450 pounds and finally realizing I had to just stop eating so much, I had been on my new, healthier eating plan since March of that same year. So here I was at this July 4th picnic — roughly 4 months later. And while I’d had great success so far, I still wasn’t secure enough to go off my diet for a day — or even for a meal. Thus, along with the healthy salad dish I’d brought to share, I had also brought my own picnic lunch to the get together. But once there — and once surrounded by all the tempting smells and visuals — I felt overwhelmed.
I mentioned something about my eating insecurities to the party’s host, who admittedly had her hands full. Although a very good friend (and therefore very familiar with my years-long plight to lose weight), she dismissed my insecurities in a very curt fashion. And hey, she had every right to do so. But I had every right to do what I did next.
I found the friend I came with and asked her if she would mind leaving the party (even though we’d just arrived 15 minutes earlier). She was game. Thus, we “snuck out” as to not disturb any other guests and ended up going to a movie. My friend ate popcorn. I ate my little lunch I’d brought. And guess what? It was one of the best “4th of July Picnics” I’ve ever been on. And it was also a real turning point in regard to my feeling more and more confidant that this time I was finally going to take off all the excess weight once and for all. I had put myself and my needs (in regard to health) first.
Now, loyal readers of this blog know that I’m always reminding you (and myself) that we didn’t get fat from one cookie — or even one meal. And I suggest never cutting out every single treat from our lives (mainly because it’s the on/off cycle that teaches us to cheat). So I’m not saying it’s not okay to enjoy a 4th of July picnic (or other special meal) in a balanced and moderate fashion. But sometimes we know that a taste of a certain something just might trigger a binge — and therefore we decide to go without… And there are times that will mean taking ourselves out of (potential) harm’s way. Had I not left the 4th of July picnic, I might have eaten something I didn’t want to and that might have wrecked all of my efforts (and success) I’d attained during the previous 4 months.
I will admit that my friend (the party’s host) was miffed that I left the party. And I understand her feelings. But I also understand mine. And yes, me and that friend are fine to this day, friendship-wise.
Looking back, declaring a little independence was something I needed to do to prove to myself that this time I was really serious about not only taking the weight off, but keeping it off. By March of the following year, I’d shed almost all of the excess 250+ pounds that I needed to lose. And after some yo-yo-ing, as I got used to eating “normal” (whatever that is), I have kept those excess 250+ pounds off for over a decade. And if that isn’t worth waving a flag over, I don’t know what is.
Have you ever had a situation where you had to choose your sanity (or your diet) over a social occasion or (even more challenging) a friendship? Do tell!
Photo Source: Time and Date