Never-Ending Struggle to Adventurous Journey
Many of us fail or give up on our weight-loss journeys for a variety of reasons. Whether it is a lack of time or energy, it is not difficult to find a way out of our weight-loss goals. I believe we easily abandon our objectives due to the negativity that is often associated with the process of losing weight. We are told to count our calories, drink four litres of water, and hop on a scale everyday- it is no wonder weight-loss has a bad reputation! Further, when our motivation comes from a place of hatred and shame for oneself, it can be an exhausting endeavor (especially if you are perpetually hungry!) However, when we choose to enter into our weight-loss journey with patience, understanding, and acceptance, we have the choice to create a lasting positive experience for not only ourselves, but those around us as well. If you want to lose weight, you will have to work hard, but if you are willing to view weight-loss as an adventurous journey as opposed to a never-ending struggle, it can become an exciting process!
Self-Hating to Self-Loving
It is easy to believe the fairytale that the exchange for our weight is self-love and a positive body image in our thin obsessed society. It is crucial to actively change ones thoughts alongside any weight-loss journey for a lasting positive body image. Personally, after losing 35 pounds two years ago, I did not begin to truly love myself until I consciously decided to replace negative thoughts about my body with positive ones. For example, when I used to think, “Even after my weight-loss, my thighs are so big. I can never accept them,” I would exchange the negative thought for a positive one, such as, “I am so grateful for the way my legs enable me to run. They are so strong and powerful.” Through acceptance, self-love has the opportunity to bloom. Additionally, when we change our thoughts, it is easier to modify our behaviour, which may help us choose healthier options and lifestyles that promote weight-loss!
Weight-Loss to Health-Gain
By shifting ones mindset to abundance rather than loss, the actual process of losing weight has the ability to become positive. This means, you do not have to believe the lie that you will be happy after you lose ten pounds- you can be happy throughout the process of losing ten pounds. And to take it a step further, you can be genuinely happy with an extra ten pounds! If you are on a weight-loss journey, whether at the beginning or at the end, shifting your mindset from weight to well-being is so important. When I started viewing my journey as a way to gain a healthy lifestyle, body, mind, and soul, I was able to create a positive, lasting weight-loss experience for myself! Prior to this realization, weight-loss typically lead to negative outcomes, such as disordered eating, anxiety, and self-hatred. What it never lead to was what I wanted most- a positive relationship with my body. Unfortunately, we are lead to believe that a positive body image will magically appear when ones “goal” weight is finally achieved. The reality is if your self-deprecating beliefs do not transform, weight-loss may seem hollow and unfulfilling when accomplished. By viewing your experience as a gain rather than a loss, you are setting yourself up for a great adventure! I encourage you to find value in the process, not just the outcome because the habits you create and the thoughts you form during this time will help you feel fulfilled once your goals have been met.
Tips For ”Positive Weight-Loss”
I truly believe there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to weight-loss. Take these tips or leave them- you are on your own journey and have the ability to discover what works for you.
1. Movement: Find a way to move your body that makes you feel alive. The key to this is consistency, which will be easy once you have uncovered the form of fitness you enjoy most. If you hate running, do not run. However, if you love dancing, do it as often as you can!
2. Moderation: Find balance in your life in regard to food. Eating foods deemed “unhealthy,” rather than banishing them all together may help in creating a successful, positive weight-loss experience. This way nothing seems “forbidden” and you won’t overindulge when you “let yourself” have “one” bite. On the other hand, there are always ways to make healthier options that still taste amazing! The key is to remember to enjoy food throughout your journey.
3. Mindset: Throw out the idea that health and happiness looks like a certain size. You are worthy of love and acceptance as you are now. You can teach yourself to love every roll, mark, and bump on your body. It will take time, but this is the key to creating a positive relationship with your body.
Health-Gain Affirmation: I am worthy, as I am now, to love all of my mind, body, and soul.
Suggested Readings: The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells, The Cognitive Behavioural Workbook for Weight Management by Michele Lalberte, Randi E. McCabe, and Valerie Taylor.
About the Author: Amanda Gould is a MAPP distance student at Buckinghamshire New University, living near Toronto, Canada. You can typically find her commuting to work, on a 10 K run, or eating raw, dark chocolate.