The word “acceptance” has become credo for many who are doing their best to evolve mentally and physically. And for good reason. Arguing with reality can prove to be a frustrating experience with little positive outcome. So accepting one’s current situation (no matter what it relates to) can be a necessary step toward reaching goals that might include inner peace, mental or physical wellness and various definitions of success.
There are times, however, that the concept of “acceptance” can become an excuse we fall back on as a reason to not work toward positive change. There’s definitely a yin and yang to this in the dieting community. Some claim that accepting (and loving) their excess weight is a positive thing and even hold up popular celebrities like Lizzo to prove their point. And Lizzo certainly is a beautiful example of loving one’s self no matter what the scale might register. But does this kind of body-acceptance mean someone who’s morbidly obese (usually defined by being at least 100 pounds overweight) shouldn’t try to get down to a healthier size?
The good news is that the edicts of “acceptance” and self-love can work hand-in-hand with setting goals that can result in a happier and healthier you. As someone who used to tip the scale at over 450 pounds and who had been overweight my entire life up to that point, I know all too well the dangers that come along with being very heavy. I couldn’t talk on the phone without becoming breathless. I could barely find pants to fit my 60″ waist. I wore out the floorboard of my the car I drove during my college years because of the amount of weight I was putting onto it when getting in and out of the vehicle. And I even broke a movie theater seat when on a date during my time in high school. So I had some very good reasons to lose weight (in addition to all the medical benefits I would reap if I took off the excess pounds).
Certainly “acceptance” did (and still does) play into my going from fat to fit (not to mention keeping the excess weight off). And it can for you or someone you love who’s fighting the battle of the bulge as well. For starters, you can absolutely look to someone like Lizzo (follow her on Twitter or Instagram) and be inspired by her bright outlook and declarations of self-acceptance. You can also start a daily practice of writing down your current attributes in a journal. Or volunteer somewhere to get the kind of fruitful feedback that lets you know you’re making an important difference in this world.
Our self-worth is a virtual muscle. The more we “exercise” it, the stronger it becomes. And we need to love ourselves to strengthen that muscle and initiate positive change.
Consider someone you don’t really care for. Is this a person you’re concerned about? A person you want to live a happier, healthier life? Probably not. Now think of someone you do care for—a family member, a close friend, a romantic interest or even a cherished pet. Chances are these are the ones you would like to see living their very best lives. Perhaps it’s time for you to see yourself in this same loving light.
If a negative voice inside your head is constantly reminding you why you don’t matter or why you’re “less than,” then you may have less success when trying to lose weight for healthier reasons.
I always encourage people to live “as if.” (Meaning as if you’re already at whatever goal you’re currently striving for.) You don’t have to turn to extreme diets that leave you feeling unfulfilled. While some food plans or guidelines can be helpful when starting out on a healthier eating regimen, selecting food and nutrition options that give you lots of choices and leeway allows you to live your life to the fullest (even while journeying toward change).
You’re a celebrity in your own right. Why shouldn’t you be happy in every moment? You can have a cookie while on a healthier eating plan to take off excess pounds. The trick is not having the whole bag of cookies.
So yes. Accept where you’re at (on the scale) today. At this moment. And love yourself for it. For whatever reasons you put on the weight in the past, it was somehow serving you. But now? You’ve come to accept that you’re a rockstar in your own right. And that can translate to eating healthier, getting thinner and walking life’s runway like you’re a supermodel. Because guess what? Just like the fabulous Lizzo, that’s exactly what you are.
As we countdown to not only a new year, but also a new decade, perhaps we can find ways of setting boundaries that lift ourselves without putting down others. The fact of the matter is, you, your goals. your peace of mind and your well being all matter. And if you don’t make them a priority, no one else will either.
Like it or not, Thanksgiving (AKA the granddaddy of all eating holidays) is upon us. But 2019 is going to be different. Why? Because this year, you’re staying in control (you are stronger than Pumpkin Pie, after all). And you’re also going to exercise your newfound knowledge regarding the difference between a Splurge Meal and a Binge.
In the book Just Stop Eating So Much!, I write about Splurge Meal options when you get close to or reach your goal weight. Yes, at a Splurge Meal you can enjoy your favorite foods and beverages – but you’re encouraged to do it within reason (paying attention to portion sizes and pushing the plate away before the waistline of your jeans starts cutting off circulation to the upper half of your body).
The trick is to really enjoy a meal – not an entire day (or weekend, week, month or season) of splurging. Because when continuing to eat after the one meal, splurging becomesbingeing – and that leads to disaster for both your mental and physical health.
But here’s the good news! This Thanksgiving, whether you’re at, near – or far from – your goal weight, you have permission to enjoy a Splurge Meal. If you just enjoy the one Thanksgiving meal and eat and drink according to healthier food and portion guidelines for the rest of the holiday weekend, you won’t hurt your efforts to look and feel great.
And when it comes to splurging on Thanksgiving dinner, try and make sure you enjoy all aspects of it and don’t make it about eating as many sweet potatoes as you can, since you know you’re back to your commitment to eating healthier resumes right after the meal is over. Instead, really taste the food with each bite. Savor every morsel – and enjoy all of the different the flavor sensations – while also enjoying the people you’re dining with and listing the reasons you’re thankful in your head.
So this Turkey Day, eat, drink and be merry – all without guilt. But don’t be a glutton. Stop before you’re too full and don’t mourn not being able to have a turkey sandwich later. After all, your weight loss efforts are a choice. You are choosing to get healthy, to look better, to fit into your skinny jeans and to turn a few heads by Christmastime.
By successfully living through an “eating holiday,” you will prove once and for all that this time you’re really in control. And that’s definitely cause for celebration!
Image Source: POPSUGAR.
When people learn that I used to weigh over 450 pounds and not only dropped the excess weight, but also have kept it off for almost two decades, they have questions. Lots and lots of questions.
These questions only increase when people find out that I had been overweight most of my childhood and young adult years before finally getting rid of the excess weight. And the questions multiply from there when they hear that I took the weight off without surgery, pills or fad dieting.
The trouble is, after many of these people ask their questions, they’re not very happy with my answers.
Despite wanting to lose weight in order to feel, look and be healthier, people often don’t want to hear the hard truths: To successfully lose weight you need to reduce you calorie intake, eat healthier (cleaner, less processed) foods, exercise more (burn more calories than you’re taking in), get plenty of sleep and drink enough water. When hearing these edicts, people usually become blank faced. Then, a few seconds later, most will ask, “But how can I lose weight really fast?”
Their horror continues when I tell them that even though I reached my weight loss goal years ago, I still must continually think about what I eat, how much I workout, etc. People want to believe the myth sometimes propagated by the billion dollar diet industry that once you lose weight, you never have to think about dieting again—and can even go back to previous habits of overeating and leading a sedentary lifestyle.
This is why I’m sometimes frustrated when people come to me for dieting and health advice. Not only do they not want to hear my honest answers, they also don’t want to apply these common sense tactics to their lives. And I’m sympathetic, I assure you. Change isn’t easy. Especially life changes that could affect your way of doing things in almost every way.
Peoples’ disappointment when hearing my advice isn’t their fault. Again, the diet industry is a big business that pumps out a lot of confusing rhetoric in order to get potential customers’ to fork over lots of money in exchange for an easy way to lose weight. There’s a reason that organizations like Weight Watchers offer methods for old members to rejoin. They know that people often fail at dieting and will have to start all over again.
And no, I’m not knocking Weight Watchers, since it’s one of the few diet programs that allows all foods and works to teach balance and moderation. Plus, when it comes to trying over and over again, what other choice do those of us with a dieter’s mentality have? I tried to start a diet a million or more times before it finally stuck. So there’s no shame in “Try, try again.” Own your efforts even if they’ve fallen short—and be proud of them. Barely anyone gets it right the first time. Especially us supermodels.
The good news is that you can (literally) have your cake and eat it, too. But that starts with changing the overall question about dieting. Perhaps it’s time to stop asking HOW to lose weight, but instead ask yourself WHY you want to lose weight.
That’s right. I suggest you change the narrative that surrounds your desire to drop excess pounds and fit into skinny jeans, lower your blood pressure and live a happier, healthier life. (It is, after all, really true what “they” say: Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.)
So instead of approaching a potential diet as a diet, approach it from another angle. Get out a journal. Or scrapbook. Or start a new Pinterest page and begin to articulate or visualize why you want to lose weight. Is it to feel better about dating someone? Is it to stop being breathless when climbing a flight of stairs? Is it to be able to keep up with your grandchildren on the playground? Is it to fit into a favorite outfit for an upcoming social occasion? Or is it to show a certain someone that you’ve got what it takes and then some? Hey, these are all great reasons to get healthier. And focusing on these reasons has to the potential to provide the motivation that might have been missing during previous attempts to lose weight.
While I was on my journey from over 450 pounds to around 175 pounds, I kept what I referred to as a “Me Book.” In it, I placed magazine articles about health and cutouts of whatever else that motivated me (even if just a certain picture or image). I also added photographs of clothes I wanted to wear and pictures from different kinds of media of “happy couples” that inspired me to visualize the kind of romantic relationship I wanted to find. I also included all sorts of health information, advice and even recipes that I would come across. I wasn’t into scrapbooking per se. But I was into reminding myself of why I wanted to take off the excess pounds.
Anytime I would be tempted to stray from my eating and exercise plans, I would pick up my “why I wanted to lose weight” book and thumb through it—reminding myself of all of the reasons I was committed to really achieving dieting success this time around. And guess what? It worked.
Again, not only did I take the excess weight off, but also I kept it off. All because I had an easy vehicle (my book) for reminding myself of my WHYs. And as mentioned before, these days you can even create a virtual “reasons” scrapbook on a site like Pinterest or something similar.
So if you’re contemplating a weight loss journey that can lead to many of your dreams coming true, start with putting the dreams into focus. Then the healthier eating, the healthy movement, the better sleep and even the 8 glasses of water (or however many) might become more routine a little more easily than they have in the past.
Whether virtual or otherwise, you might want to try creating a book that becomes the testament to WHY you want to lose weight and just let the HOW fall into place naturally. What have you got to lose?