In May 2018, I began this journey again at 182 pounds. At 5’2, this made me obese. I went shopping to buy new jeans as none of my old ones fit. And I couldn't fit into the size 14s from my favorite brand. I was officially plus size. And I knew, sitting in that changing room, that if I went into a store that carried my new size, I was not going to walk that back for a long time, if ever.
This is not the first time I have tried calorie counting to lose weight. But this is the longest I have ever sustained the effort. So, I wanted share with r/loseit what changed for me. It might be long, corny, and full of clichés, but it helps me and if it helps just one other person, that's cool with me.
Don't let perfect be the enemy of good
This is one of my mantras. I say it to myself almost daily. What does it mean in a weight loss scenario?
Don't let going over your daily calories by a little be an excuse to go over by a lot.
Don't let going over your daily calories by a lot be an excuse to quit trying.
Don't let your lack of physical fitness keep you from improving.
Don't let the scale tell you that you're not doing enough.
Don't let fear of failure keep you from even trying.
Having small weekly losses is not a small achievement. Committing to maintaining your weight because you don't have the mental energy to lose right now is not the same as giving up. Don't let your ideals of what weight loss is supposed to be keep you from trying.
Time passes all the same
Another mantra. This is one I use when I am questioning my efforts.
Why bother eating less when the scale isn't moving?
Why bother running or swimming when both my times and distances are laughable?
What's the point of all of this if I'm still unhappy with my body?
And the point is, time doesn't stop just because I'm not losing. Time doesn't stop just because I'm not ready to try a half marathon. It doesn't stop because I still don't feel comfortable in crop tops. And as time passes, wouldn't I rather at least be closer to those goals? Even if I don't run a marathon before I'm 30, even if I never have abs, isn't it better to be closer to those goals? If it takes me two years to get to my goal weight, isn't that better than two years spent doing nothing? Or worse, two years spent gaining/losing my training efforts? And the answer is an obvious, loud, absolute YES. So I keep going.
NO ZERO DAYS
Here is the link to the post that gave me this mantra. This ties in pretty closely to my first point. But here are some examples of my non zero days.
Logging all my food even when I go over.
Doing, literally, any activity. Dancing alone in my room. Cleaning my entire house. Taking a walk long enough to listen to a podcast.
Journaling about my days. I can't always escape the spirals, but I can at least write about what triggered them and possibly escape them in the future.
Having self care days. Doing my nails, hair, putting on lipstick, taking a bath. The point of this journey is not only to be a better version of myself, but to be better to myself.
Forgiving myself when I mess up. Don't let the small mistakes grow in your mind until you give up. If I do nothing else to put me closer to my goal, I forgive myself. That makes it easier to go on.
And you might think those are all small things. And that's the point. To find small things you can do when the big things feel like too much. I've lost 40 pounds which sounds like a lot. But I lost them one pound at a time.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
This one. Gosh, this one is so hard. Every day, in this subreddit especially, we see people who turned all their habits around and in 6 months, a year, maybe two, they have achieved astounding 100+ pound losses and smashed incredible fitness goals. One of my closest friends, in a year, went from 264 pounds, to running a 50k ultramarathons 90 pounds lighter. He is truly amazing and inspirational.
5 years ago, I first learned to calorie count and began losing weight with a starting weight of 165 and a goal of 120. It should have been easy for me, to lose 45 pounds, right? Well, you remember at the beginning of this story, I was 182 pounds, so no. And sometimes, it's really hard to hear those stories and not let the little voice in the back of your head ask, “why can't you be like that? What's wrong with you for not being able to lose half as much weight in five times the amount of time?”
And this is where my mantra comes in. Comparing yourself to others is just going to suck all the joy out of you. Don't let what someone else accomplished diminish your victories. Go at your own pace and celebrate what you have done. Maybe you could have lost faster, maybe you could have started sooner, maybe you could be trying harder. But you are where you are. And you're closer to your goal today than you were yesterday and tomorrow you'll be closer yet. That's what matters. Take pride in it.
Have a support system you can lean on
This one isn't a mantra. Just a key piece to my puzzle. This is probably the most substantial difference in my journey this time opposed to all the others.
In June of 2018, I discovered the link to the unofficial r/loseit discord. I joined, and in the last 11 months, I have formed real, deep, and meaningful friendships, and helped to curate a community that strives to support each of its members in their weight loss efforts.
I have grown so close to some of these members and had the opportunity to meet several of them this past weekend. I would like to specifically mention u/capitulum, u/MyDogIsGold, and u/spinning_jenny13 for sharing in a wonderful weekend with me.
Tl;dr- cheesy platitudes totally work if you work them and having a support system you can rely on is super beneficial to long term success.