The first time I lost weight (about 20 pounds) was when I was 11 years old. I remember the positive attention I received because of that weight loss. As a child, I believed this meant that being thin equated to being accepted and liked by others.
The first time I lost a significant amount of weight as an adult (and reached what I considered to be my goal weight), I received the same type of positive attention – especially from the opposite sex, but I also felt a sense of empowerment and confidence because I accomplished this goal on my own.
I felt my success with weight loss certainly meant I could achieve anything that I set my mind to! It was a feeling that I had never experienced before and it was intoxicating. The world could come crashing down around me and that was OK because I was finally thin!
That intoxicating feeling lasted about a week, until I stepped on the scale again and it read back to me a 2 pound weight gain. Then it flew right out the window and was replaced with discouragement, frustration and a new emotion – fear.
As soon as I saw the number on the scale increase, I was afraid that I was going to gain back all the weight I had lost. I had received so many compliments about my new body, what would people think if suddenly I gained 5 pounds? And what about all the new clothes I just bought that wouldn’t fit me anymore? I told myself I would be a huge failure.
This fear caused me to heavily obsess about what I ate. This obsession led to food deprivation and then all-out binge fests. I was trying so hard to control my weight, yet my anxiety about gaining weight was sabotaging me.
I gained back almost all of the weight I had lost within a year. Which caused me to start the diet cycle all-over again…but that’s another story.
I share this with you because I thought once I reached the weight I wanted to be, I would never have to worry about my weight again. The exact opposite was true.
I believe that if you struggle with your relationship with food and your body, this struggle actually gets worse when you reach the weight you desire.
For me personally, the reasons why I gained weight in the first place were still around even though I had lost the weight.
I was able to muster up the motivation and will-power to not let these issues derail me while I was losing weight. But once the weight was lost, I couldn’t find the discipline or will-power anymore and my old habits returned. I was constantly fighting to feel in control with food and it was exhausting.
Since this time, I have been able to get to a weight, and maintain it, that feels good to me and does not create crazy-making behavior.
I credit two things with helping me get to this place:
Doing the internal work to evaluate my relationship with myself and with food.
Deciding to lose weight purely because it’s something I wanted for myself, not because I wanted the approval of others.
If you want to lose weight, or if you are losing weight already, answer these questions to help you clarify how your life will look once you do reach your goal:
Why do I want to lose weight?
How will my life change once I reach my goal weight?
How will my life stay exactly the same once I reach my goal weight?
What will eating and exercise look like for me when I lose weight?
If you are feeling brave, post your answers in the comments below! I would love to read them, and you will inspire others.
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