I’ve gotten quite a few questions from people asking how I got to this place and about this journey. It’s been almost entirely about mindset, and I wanted to share some of that with you here!
A few weeks ago, I hit my 50-pound milestone. This was a huge deal for me because the buildup felt like it lasted for ever. I sat at -49 pounds for 3 weeks before things finally clicked and a loss happened. It was more of a mental game than anything, and once I hit it, I was over the moon. It got me thinking, though, about why that felt like such a big deal and how I actually made that happen. I celebrated this in my workshop and then I posted about hitting this milestone on social media. I got quite a few questions from people in my workshop as well as messages that came in from social media and on my phone from people asking how I got to this place and about this journey. It’s been almost entirely about mindset, and I wanted to share some of that with you here!
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How long did it take you to lose 50 pounds?
I started WW July 20, 2019. I got my 50-pound milestone/charm on February 19, 2020. That’s almost 7 months exactly.
I downloaded the app on a random Saturday after having heard from two close girlfriends that they were doing it and enjoyed it- as in, of all the “diets” out there, this one is the most sustainable and includes more “can eat” and “live your life” than “can’t eat that” and “enjoy this shame with your zero net carbs.” After literally bursting into tears after I saw that my daily Starbucks habit was 16 points alone, I tried to pretend I was just going to start that following Monday, but my husband told me if I was paying for it, I might as well just do it. So, I blew my points that first day and lashed out irrationally when my husband asked if we could stop at Starbucks on the way to church the next day, but I agreed that by downloading the app, I’d made a commitment to myself about giving it a real shot. I should also mention that I had already been doing some internal work surrounding the concept of “never break a promise to yourself” a la Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, and I knew deep down that this journey was going to test that a lot, and there was no time like the present to get to it.
How much more weight would you like to lose?
The short answer is about 30 more pounds.
The long answer is that the thought of a “goal weight” kind of irks me. I try not to think about it that much because I have a tendency to get tunnel vision and ruminate on things, and that’s an unhealthy place for me to be. The biggest thing I tell myself is that any goal you set is realistic as long as the timeframe is appropriate. I keep telling myself that it truly does not matter how long it takes to get there because it’s about the journey and my weight loss is not my identity. Everything I’ve learned over the course of this journey and all of the new habits I’ve developed, that’s the takeaway.
Last weekend at Rise in Toronto (a personal development conference for women by Rachel Hollis), I heard something that just left me shook and I’m working on truly adopting this into my point of view. Rachel said the smartest thing while talking about health & wellness as it relates to weight loss and it was this: “weight loss is a byproduct of pursuing health.” Think about that for a second. Go back and read that again. That’s powerful, y’all.
Was this easy for you?
Uh… that’s a big-time no. This weight loss journey has been way more mentally taxing than physically. I have had to do so much more mental work and work through so many emotional things about myself than I ever thought I would. Weight loss in and of itself is simple, you know? It ultimately comes down to consuming fewer calories than you burn. That’s it. It’s really that simple. That’s the big secret the diet industry tries to confuse us away from, but that’s honestly all there is to it. But our feelings and our emotions cloud our judgement and dictate our behavior.
I’ve been that person who has said no to going out to dinner, I’ve been that person who doesn’t eat at a MOPs brunch. I’ve been that person who counts how many tortilla chips I eat at a Mexican restaurant. I’ve been that person who doesn’t order a cocktail at dinner with friends. I’ve been that person who says no to the birthday cake at a party. And it feels weird. It’s hard. But I’ve also been that person who has the glass of champagne at midnight on New Year’s Eve, I’ve been that person who eats a cupcake because I wanted it so bad. I’ve been that person who orders a pizza at 9:45 PM (even after already eating dinner) because I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I wanted it.
It’s about choice and balance. And it’s been about deciding that my dreams and my goals are bigger than feeling awkward at a group function or social event. It’s forced me to decide that if someone’s going to judge me for it, then I need to not care about that because anyone worthwhile in my life wouldn’t judge me negatively for that decision. So, no, this hasn’t been easy, but it’s been so worth it.
Do you exercise too, or did you just follow WW?
I definitely added in exercise on top of joining WW. It started out as walking around my neighborhood every single day, pushing the baby in the stroller. It forced me to get outside, experience the sunshine, get out of my house, and proved to be a sufficient way to close my exercise ring on my Apple Watch and help me get to 10k steps every day. After that, I re-downloaded the Couch to 5k app and started doing that. The app has it set up so you run 3 times a week, so I started doing that in addition to walking a loop in my neighborhood. That’s pretty much been the regular routine. When it got colder, I joined our local YMCA so I could still run three days a week. My husband has a subscription to the Peloton app and I’ve created a profile on his account so I can give some of those exercise classes a shot, so I do yoga and cycling on the Peloton app if I can’t make a run outside happen or get to the Y.
I am very intentional at the outset of each week, though, to write down on my weekly to-do list “Exercise x3” with three little check boxes. There’s a daily expectation with myself that I’ll move my body for 30 minutes every day (run up and down the stairs, dance party with the baby, pace my house to get to 10k steps) but I’m also going to dedicate myself three times specifically to an exercise. So, maybe that means I’ll do yoga one day, ride the bike another, and get a run in on a Sunday afternoon. Whatever it takes. And because I wrote it down, because I tell myself I’ve gotta do it, I somehow make it happen because I don’t break promises to myself.
For the sake of transparency, though, I’ll be truthful and say that sometimes I don’t always make that goal. Sometimes I can’t make it happen because life gets in the way or my negative-self talk wins, but I still keep trying. Maybe that day sucked or that week got busy, but I take it really seriously when I don’t follow through on something that I committed to myself that didn’t happen; it’s a big deal. I don’t just let myself off the hook; I really believe it’s a non-negotiable to honor promises to myself, especially when that promise was about something that makes me better.
What do you do when you want to quit or feel discouraged?
I remember my why. This is a big thing because your why has to be big enough to overcome the excuses. It has to actually be meaningful enough to not quit; it can’t be the thing you think should be the most important reason. I’m going to say that again. It can’t be the thing you think should be the most important reason. Should’s are not enough to keep going; if it’s something you’ve made your why because it feels like it should be enough, you will quit every time. It has to actually mean something to you, in a really big way.
What has helped me understand (and really commit to) my why was something I already knew but was really able to articulate after reading Atomic Habits by James Clear (side note: if you haven’t read this book and are interested in personal development or self-improvement in any way, this book is incredibly eye-opening and useful). What I took away was that goals are somewhat arbitrary and therefore easy to set but difficult to always achieve; however, when you make your goal identity-based, you’re more likely to achieve your goal because it’s ingrained in your vision of who you are as a person.
For instance, for losing weight, part of my why is that I want to be a good example for my child(ren) someday, I want to have an active lifestyle, and I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. You’ll notice that my why is not “lose 80 pounds” – that’s not about who I am as a person, and therefore something I would likely give up on. Because I chose things that would indicate who I am as a person, it helps me make choices about my behavior that lean towards achieving health, and, as I mentioned before, to borrow from Rachel Hollis, “weight loss is a byproduct of pursuing health.” Additionally, because my why is identity-based, it’s extra important that I follow through on those things because I’ve worked on making myself important enough to me that to not live up to these things would feel like broken promises.
How do I get over wanting big results right now?
Honestly, I think the short answer is that you don’t.
Or maybe the short answer is that you just decide you’re going to get over it.
I came away from a recent church service with something so accurate that it’s been swirling around my head ever since, any time I find myself ruminating on things not happening in the timeframe I wanted/planned for. Are you ready for this? Our pastor said, “We are allergic to waiting and addicted to immediacy.” If that’s not actual truth, I don’t know what is.
I guess, ultimately, all of this is to say that you have to be really intentional about changing your perspective about results. You have to be so diligent about making it about the journey instead of the outcome. It’s got to be more about how you reach each milestone and not just how you got to the finish line. Trust me when I tell you that weight loss is not just about what the scale shows you or the pounds lost. It’s entirely about the mental/emotional (and physical) work that you’re doing.
What do you love about WW?
This one could seriously lead me on monologue that lasted 47 hours. There’s not one single thing about WW that I do not love; it has been one of the greatest tools to help me figure out how to become the person I want to grow to be.
One thing I love about WW is that it’s not a crash diet. The program is sustainable because it requires you to change habits, it requires you to think about things you maybe didn’t think about before and then adapt your behavior. If you’re working the program, it works because you’re working towards health as opposed to quickly dropping a bunch of weight. The general premise is so inclusive because it’s not about cutting things out of your diet – it’s all about what you can do; you can eat the cake, you can eat the cauliflower rice, you can do whatever you want because it’s entirely about the cost-benefit analysis and the power of choice.
WW has done wonders for me to stop a lot of my shame-spiraling and has helped me identify one of my greatest strengths – discipline. In my experience, I have not been successful on WW because I’m impervious to temptation or have infinite will-power. I’ve been successful because I’m disciplined. I am good at sticking with something because I attach meaning to it in a way that doesn’t allow me to stop. I keep going even when the motivation wears off because of discipline. This means that even if I have an off-day, I get right back on the train and try again at the next meal or the next day (more often than not). It means I keep going because I decided I was going to.
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