I weighed between 177-187 lbs through my 20s and early 30s. Then I started eating a lot once I got help with my addiction a few years ago. It was a cross addiction. I was using food in an effort to fix my emotional pain. It works in the short term and that is really appealing. By winter of 2016 I got up to 217 lbs (the most in my life to that point). So I focused on losing weight and got down to like 193 lbs by summer of 2017. But it didn’t stick. A summer in Europe and lots of emotional eating took me up to 227 lbs by November 2017. I did this while working out very regularly. If anyone wants to have a competition to put on weight fast, I would probably win. It is a talent! I am a really good eater. And I know just the right stuff to pack it on quick. Vanilla ice cream on top of a heated up Cinnabon gives a lot of bang for your buck. That one’s a freebie. But I don’t want to give away all of my secret formulas just in case we have this competition at some point.
So I’m at this point, Fall 2017, heavier than I’ve ever been in my life. I had a harder time getting up and down. Running felt horrible all over. When putting my socks on I had to put my knee to the side of my belly instead of bringing it up to my chest like I had done my whole life. All my pants were tight. So I bought some bigger pants with some stretch in them. My thighs would chafe because they were rubbing together more. I couldn’t breathe as well while sleeping. I didn’t like how it affected activities I like to do like basketball, running, hiking, things with the kids. Although it was kind of nice to have more weight to throw around in the low post in basketball. But it really hampered my jumping for some reason. I didn’t like how I felt.
Why didn’t my first big weight loss stick?
I ate healthy foods, kept my portion sizes healthy, exercised regularly, was really serious about it. I know the actions required for me to lose weight. But I wasn’t being nice to myself, which made me not even want to do the things I knew would help me lose weight. I was still having thoughts like I should really lose weight. This isn’t good for me. I shouldn’t eat that. I shouldn’t eat this. I shouldn’t have eaten that last night. I shouldn’t want all this food. I don’t even look good. Why does my body have to gain weight so easily? This is a pain! I can’t enjoy myself and be at the weight I want. What is my problem! I’m not good enough to do this. This isn’t even worth it. I’m not worth it. I’m not good enough. I’m fat. These thoughts and questions disempowered me and made me feel terrible. Then once I was in the 190s I just wanted to eat to avoid the pain I was having from all of these negative thoughts toward myself. The list of other negative thoughts I had toward myself is extensive. And I believed them. They felt so true. They happened without me even realizing it most of the time.
So how did I lose over 40 lbs in a year?
Self-compassion, self-awareness, and thought management. So something interesting started happening in the fall of 2017. I started really making progress in my development of self-compassion through therapy, EMDR, mindfulness, my own thought management each day. So at 227 lbs, heaviest ever, I was seeing myself in the best way I’d ever seen myself. I wasn’t even focused on weight loss at this point really. But what I noticed is as my self-awareness, self-compassion, and healing took big steps forward, the lbs just started shedding. It seemed so indirect to me. But a nice side affect! I got down to 208 lbs as a side affect of this. How interesting is it that the thoughts I’m not good enough and I’m fat basically put my brain to work to prove my beliefs right. This caused terrible feelings, drove actions that led to me putting on weight. But as I nurtured thoughts of I’m enough as I am right now and I am worth it, I was empowered and my brain got to work on proving my beliefs right. Life coaching and self-coaching is perfect for working your mind to this point in an authentic, sustainable way.
At that point, I decided to set a goal to get down under 190 lbs. I got down to 200-205 pretty organically by summer of 2018. Meaning I really just focused on working on my thoughts toward myself. But I got stuck at this point. This is when I set a goal to reach 185 lbs by Nov. 30, 2018. And I got serious about trying to only eat when I was hungry. But I had to be ready. Because if I ate to avoid feelings, I needed to be ready to just notice it, not judge myself, and have my own back. This is still unnatural a lot of times for me. But I’m getting better at it, strengthening those neural pathways as better alternates for my default pathways. At the beginning of October things were going so well I moved up my deadline on the goal to Oct. 31 to really challenge myself.
I also had to be ready for times when I caught myself wanting to eat when not hungry. Because as good as that sounds to catch yourself and stop before eating when not hungry, it actually sucks. Because then I had to sit with the crappy feelings that I was trying to avoid by eating in the first place. So uncomfortable! It’s helped me get to know myself even better but yikes. So I had to be ready for some serious thought management when I wouldn’t give myself the option to cover up crappy feelings with eating. I’ve had some really hard negative experiences doing this and some really good ones. And I think that is how it’s meant to be in our brains, really hard and negative and really good. Not just good all the time. I still have a lot of work to do on this. Just 2 days ago I ate more than two whole Milka chocolate bars to avoid negative feelings. But yesterday, I weighed in and reached my goal to be under 185 lbs. by October 31, 2018. Although doing less emotional eating has led to more uncomfortable and negative feelings arising, it has also allowed more frequent positive feelings to arise which has been absolutely wonderful. What a lot of people don’t realize is that when you use something like food, or whatever your choice of buffer is, you buffer out negative feelings as well as positive ones. You can’t just buffer out the negative feelings; it doesn’t work that way.
I lost over 40 lbs in a year through working on self-compassion, self-awareness, and thought management. And I can already tell it is going to stick this time.
Keep an eye out for posts coming soon that get specific about ways to work self-compassion, self-awareness, and thought management.
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