Let’s start with a truth: I’ve got the fat gene (you know, because fat is a gene… Did I mention I’ve also got the blonde gene??).
The other day I was at work in a meeting with a colleague who eats. and eats. and eats. She eats the chocolate that sits in our lunch room, refilled regularly by our boss (THANKS!). She eats hearty Italian meals, and pretty much anything else that’s bad for you. Did I mention she has a beautiful slender body and doesn’t have to worry about what or when to eat?
I tell you all of this because I am the exact opposite of this co-worker (to who you are, you’re great, and keep eating those chocolates!!). I, unfortunately did not obtain a fast metabolism, nor was I ever inflicted with the skill of discipline – all culminating into not having the nickname ‘The Body’. Elle McPherson stole that namesake from me… thanks a lot.
To give a bit of background, I grew up in a broken family (I promise, this is going somewhere). When I was about 8 years old my parents decided to get a divorce – the best decision those two beauts could have made for us kids, however, troubled times were ahead. After divorcing, my dear Mom had to look after three annoying, hell razors who thought the sun shone out of each of their asses. To this end, she was at her wits end the majority of the time, all the while trying to work full time and provide a great life for us kids. By the end of the week, she’d had enough of us (if we weren’t over at our Dad’s) and so would take us to the golden arches to get in a hardy, fast, easy meal. This is where it all began for me and my fat years.
Combining my coming of age with insecurity and some residual anger towards these two people who created me, I turned to food as my outlet, my comfort. I quickly lost any control I ever had over eating Big Macs, instead opting for a double Big Mac, super-sized with a Diet Coke. I wanted to be healthy. I learned how quickly I could guzzle down 20 cookies in a matter of minutes – true story. I was clearly forming bad habits, habits that would live with me to this day.
Without boring you with too many details, over the years I’ve yo-yoed with my weight. My heaviest being when I was 16 (WORST TIME EVER TO BE FAT!), 18 being my smallest year, and fluctuating for all of my 20’s. There were always signs that I should lose weight: from muffin tops, to jean buttons popping out and flying off at bullet speeds, to people saying ‘…you have a pretty face’, I always knew I was bigger than I should be, but I felt I could never do anything about. I thought I was destined to stay big boned for the rest of my life.
Now know this entire post isn’t about me finally beating the bulge and reaching my goal weight. I haven’t done that. The blog post is about a shift in perspective, a shift in where I’m focusing my weight loss energies and how I’ve begun to see success in my efforts. This blog post is to also entertain with the hilarity of my life – believe me I could write for the rest of my days about the insane things that go one for this girl! (Re-brand!)
At the end of December 2013 I was weighing in at the highest I’d been in a very long time, I was at a weight I hadn’t seen in years, having been able to keep it off until this point. My confidence was waning, I wasn’t feeling sexy or beautiful and I was constantly tired and lethargic – the last being the root evil here. I had been trying for the entire year to keep weight off, having developed a weight loss program at work for my colleagues and I called Hella-Count (Healthy Accountability), exercising constantly and watching what I was eating, or so I thought. Nothing seemed to be working – NOTHING. It was the most frustrating thing wanting to lose weight, stepping on the scale and seeing little to no movement (how can I stay jazzed about losing weight when I see a 0.1 lbs decrease – tell me, how?!)
I was determined. With the coming of the New Year, 2014, I knew I had to make a change – the New Year’s resolution was going to be in full effect again, for another year running. I was going to be like everyone else, having these big dreams for the New Year, but I knew I was going to see this one through – I had to. My happiness was depending on it.
I thought long and hard about what I could do differently to see success. I contemplated cutting out certain foods, working out more, working out differently, taking weight loss pills, doing cleanses (have I mentioned that I think too much?!). After having thought far too long about it I came to a realization about the weight loss goal and about myself. I realized that for me to be successful I needed to have a major perspective shift.
It was so simple and continues to be the simplest idea I’ve ever come up with regarding weight loss; however is the hardest thing to do in practice. I’m going to let you in on this secret and you’re going to think I’m one of those crazy fitness folk – but I promise you, I’m not! This little tip has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever implemented, but the most fruitful.
Don’t focus on losing weight. Actually, wholly and completely not focusing on losing weight – crazy, right?! As of January 1, 2014 I made a deal to not concern myself with the numbers (hopefully) declining on the scale. I instead, thought to focus my attention on the immediate gratification of feeling good from working out. This touches on a very important point that, I think, will speak to many people.
We live in such a fast paced world, one that throws tons of information our way at any time. One that has us wanting it all in a matter of minutes. One that promotes the idea of having everything at your fingertips at any given second. This is all to say that for me personally, I want everything right here, right now. I’m impatient and don’t want to wait – I want that chocolate cake AND lose 5 lbs overnight because I went to the gym that day too. This is where I’ve epic-ly gone wrong in the past.
Being a person who needs, wants and thrives on instant gratification, losing 0.1 lbs a week wasn’t enough to keep me motivated, I need more than that. So, what I’ve sought out to do is not focus on those pounds but focus on the feel-good feeling you get when you’re done a workout and the feel-good feeling you get when you say NO to the family sized bag of Miss Vicki Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar chips. Over the past three months, I’ve been successful in losing weight by focusing my attention on that instant good feeling as opposed to the long drawn out process of slowly seeing the pounds creep down.
Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t been easy. Needing to form new habits is never an easy feat, and over the course of the 3 months I definitely haven’t been perfect. I’ve had my down days when I’ve reverted and focused on the weight loss, not seeing enough of a decrease. Or seriously guzzling down 10 brownies in a matter of a few minutes while watching old reruns of Brandon and Kelly getting together and breaking up on 90210 (the viewing pleasure is gratification in and of itself but the brownies were the devil!)
In the past 3 months I’ve seen about a 15 lbs drop which is incredible for me – something I haven’t been able to do in a very long time. I haven’t dieted, I haven’t severely restricted my food consumption, I haven’t joined a gym and gone 24/7…
The perspective shift has done wonders for me, my happiness and confidence. Try it out; you might be surprised at the results.
xo just jane