Last Christmas, a friend posted some photos on Facebook that were taken at a Christmas party that we both attended and tagged me in them and I was absolutely mortified to say the least.
They were actually really great pics but they alerted me to an ugly truth that I had been avoiding for quite some time.
I was overweight.
Of course I already knew that, but until I saw these photos – I didn’t realise just how bad I had let it get. I thought I had maybe gained 2 or 3 kilos but in reality it turned out to be a whopping 15 kilos.
I cried and cried for about an hour that day and decided that it had reached a point where I could either a) keep getting heavier and heavier and more and more depressed or I could b) do something about it.
I chose the latter and set my mind on achieving my goal.
After my Dad passed away a few years ago – I plunged into a deep depression and self medicated with food.
I spent years telling myself that I was too busy and tired and that I couldn’t afford to do anything about it. I also told myself that because I am raising autistic children that they are the most important thing in my life and that looking after myself wasn’t a priority. I was meticulous with their diets but paid no attention to my own.
But after I saw those photos, I was confronted with reality and it finally dawned on me that if I didn’t take care of myself (the carer) – then eventually I would end up in no condition to care for my children.
I was chock-full of excuses because deep down I knew that the truth was: I really couldn’t be bothered.
But that was then and this time I was determined.
So did I do it?
Did I lose the weight?
I sure did! And as of today – I am 17 kilos lighter and back below my ideal weight. In fact – I’m actually wearing a smaller dress size than I was BEFORE I had children!
And I learned some really interesting things about myself during the past 8 months and was surprised that no-one ever really talks about these things.
I compiled them into this post and thought I’d share my personal lightbulb moments with you.
1. Losing weight won’t change who you are.
Put simply – if you don’t love yourself before you lose weight – that won’t magically change after.
I always thought that once I reached my ideal weight that I’d instantly be happy and things would just fall into place. I thought that the little things about me that I despised wouldn’t bother me once I lost the weight.
Not so. In fact, things that aren’t dealt with and were possible triggers for the initial weight gain actually get magnified after you lose the weight because you are forced to admit that they still exist despite your reflection changing.
For me – a lot of my gain was due to emotional overeating and not coping or dealing with my stress.
Losing weight didn’t magically make my struggles disappear – I still have to live with autism every.single.day and I still have days where I want to throw myself in front of a bus, but I have learned new ways to deal with them instead of eating. I now view my hurdles in a different light because I feel better about myself and am now able to do that.
And while I’m on this subject – what’s with those people in your life that suddenly start acknowledging you once you’re thinner. Like you were invisible before hand? I don’t get that. I didn’t change but somehow became more socially acceptable?
2. The only person you should lose weight for is yourself.
That’s right. Just for yourself. Not for anyone else.
One of my biggest hurdles was that my husband always told me that he loved me regardless of what I weighed. And because of this – I wasn’t motivated to do anything about it.
I had to make the choice to do it because I wanted to feel better about myself.
And to be frank – any boyfriend/partner/husband that truly loves you won’t threaten to leave you if you don’t lose weight. And they won’t deliberately eat banned foods in front of you or taunt you if you slip up. If you are losing weight just to keep them happy – you are doing it for the wrong reasons and once you lose it, they will find something else to pick on.
A supportive partner will encourage you, praise your successes and comfort you when you fail.
And I am speaking from experience here. I had a boyfriend for 2 years who frequently told me I was an elephant. He always pointed out girls on the street who were smaller than me and told me that I needed to look like them in order to be appear more attractive to him. He snorted like a pig every time I would put anything that wasn’t a vegetable or salad item into my mouth and made the beep beep noise of a reversing truck every time that I stepped backwards.
And the interesting thing…..I was smaller than my husband has ever seen me at the time that he was taunting me. Smaller than I am now….Pffftt.
No wonder I had “issues” with my weight for years.
3. Chocolate is NOT the enemy.
Yep – you read that correctly, chocolate is NOT the enemy. In fact – no single food is. It is eating an excess of any food that does you in.
I still eat chocolate pretty much every day.
Yes…..every day. But I don’t eat any more than about 15-20g and I savour it.
I noticed that whenever I would deny myself of something – it would only make me crave it MORE and I would either give into the craving and over indulge and then beat myself up about it, or get filled with resentment at everything that I was missing out on.
Not only have I had to learn about portion control but I’ve had to alter my buying habits to make this possible. I STILL can’t buy a whole block of chocolate and tell myself that I’m only allowed 2 or 3 squares a night. Because once that block is open – I will more than likely tell myself that it’s ok to have just one more piece. And another. And another.
And we all know where that leads.
Guilt….then more emotional/guilt eating…..more weight gain….then more depression. It’s a vicious cycle.
And I can’t buy those family share packs with 12 individually wrapped bars in them either because I am unable to stop at one.
I buy very small chocolate bars and I buy them one at a time.
The smallest bar size possible and I enjoy every.single.bite.
4. Not everybody in your life will support you.
This was a tough one for me to learn.
It had honestly never occurred to me that some friends are threatened when you start to shed kilos. Maybe they’re jealous or maybe it’s more than that.
Maybe it’s because you’re no longer the “fat friend” that they could rely on to make them feel better about themselves? I was often the one that people would deliberately stand next to in photographs because they ALWAYS looked better compared to me and they were the friends who were never 100% honest with me in the first place.
They were the friends who often told me that I looked “fine” and that they didn’t think I needed to lose any weight to my face but would then talk about me behind my back when they didn’t realise I could hear them.
And then they are the exact same friends that try to sabotage you when you start your weight loss journey by showing up on your doorstep with cakes, and other yummy things that they know you struggle to say no to.
And also the friends that not even once congratulate you when you do eventually drop the extra weight.
Nobody needs friends like this in their lives.
They are toxic.
5. There is no perfect weight or dress size.
It is different for everyone. I have finally realised that I could starve myself and spend every waking moment at the gym and still probably never be an Australian size 6 – 8.
And now I’m ok with that.
It’s not in my genes for a start, I’m not built that way and I have a frame and height that could never support that.
And if I ever did get down to an 6 – 8, I wouldn’t be able to maintain it without ending up resenting everyone and everything because the sacrifices I’d have to make to stay there would be mammoth.
And the old adage that we can’t all be supermodels is so true. If I had a personal chef, a personal trainer, a full-time nanny and a dietician on staff I’m sure that I could get there but that’s simply not (or will ever be) my reality so I can give myself a break!
So…what are some of the weight loss myths or stories that you have to tell me about?
I can’t wait to hear them :)