If you read my post on being a “loser,” you know that on December 31st (to avoid making it a New Years’ Resolution), I made a choice to embark on a journey to lose weight. After two months now of hard work and eating more vegetables than I think I have in the last five years, I’m pretty excited to say I’m down a little over twenty pounds.
One of my favorite sources of encouragement during this journey has been Connect, which is basically Facebook/Instagram for Weight Watchers users. I’m constantly inspired by people who have lost hundreds of pounds and who are continually fighting binge eating, emotional issues, and other major hurdles to achieve their goals.
From reading countless posts on Connect, I’ve learned one important thing: changing your body means nothing if you don’t change your mind.
You’d be amazed at how many people post on Connect about how they still struggle to go out in a swimsuit or feel confident dating even after having lost hundreds of pounds and achieved their goals. Hitting a number on the scale did nothing to change how they thought of themselves.
The night before I started Weight Watchers, I literally had a nervous breakdown, with sobbing and the works. Brandon had no idea I’d even signed up for WW, so through tears and near-hyperventilating, I explained to him what I’d decided to do and why I was upset. I told him I was upset not because of how I looked then or much work I had ahead of me, but because I didn’t know if I could do it. I’d never considered myself a master of self-control, and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to stick to eating healthy and following the plan.
Fast-forward two months, and I’ve proved myself wrong. I’ve weathered the occasional splurge or bad decision, but every time I’ve gotten up, dusted myself off, and gotten back on the wagon. I’ve lost weight almost every week since January, and yet…sometimes I don’t feel so different from that girl who sat next to Brandon and sobbed her eyes out two months ago.
I believed that when I lost 10 pounds, I’d have made it, you know? I’d feel like I’d conquered my fear of failure. I thought the same thing about 15 pounds, and the same thing about 20 pounds. I thought I’d feel that way when my pants got looser, when my shirts fit better, and when I could go out for dinner and feel great about my decisions.
What I’m learning the hard way is that goals don’t change your mindset; you do.
Every time I hit one of these milestones, I didn’t feel any different. Numbers on a scale or looser pants did nothing to magically change how I thought of myself. Have you ever woke up on your birthday and actually felt a year older? You convince yourself you’re old, and you’re old; you think you’re young, and you are. In the same way, I quickly realized that the only way I was going to come out of this weight loss journey with a better mindset and a better opinion of myself was to actively pursue both.
Since I came to this realization, I’ve worked hard to be intentional about recognizing my achievements, big and little. I spend a few extra moments looking in the mirror each morning, admiring the fact my arms are a little thinner and my face is less round. I force myself to stop downplaying my achievements – 20 pounds doesn’t fall off overnight. I give myself a little kudos every time I skip the french fries, make it to the gym, or drink an extra glass of water.
I’m learning, as slow a process as it is, to change my thinking when it comes to my weight and my health. I’m not just making goals, I’m achieving them. And that’s worth acknowledging. Twenty down, a lot more to go…but I’m not waiting until I hit a magic number to feel like I’ve made it.