I lost a lot of weight this year and I’m going to say it, that was the easy part. During my Elimination Diet the weight just melted away. I lost three dress sizes and a total of 26 kgs. The reason? I wasn’t eating any crap and I was exercising regularly, pretty much daily. I had energy to burn and life was good.
I’ve learned a lot about losing weight this year:
Mindset is everything.
I’ve learned that losing weight is not hard, if you are in the right mind set. The reason I struggled to lose weight for most of my life was because I just wasn’t willing to put in the effort. Obviously I had to find the right balance of food, exercise and treats for myself and everyone’s needs in that sense is different, but a lot of people I personally know who struggle to lose weight like I did, do exactly what I did, eat junk food and drink a lot of booze on the regular, engage in minimal exercise and expect results after eating a couple of salads. You have to be 100% committed. Having a treat of McDonald’s or a bag of chips on Tuesday as a reward because you ate clean all of Monday is not the way to go. Obviously treats are important, you still want to have a life after all, but you have to find the right balance.
Other people noticed more than I did.
I genuinely could not see my weight loss for the life of me. My clothes were looser, the number on the scales was way down and people were commenting all over the place and yet, I still couldn’t see it. I still saw the same ‘fat’ girl I’d always been. My thighs were too big, my stomach was an amorphous blob, I had a gazillion chins. I couldn’t even see it in photos. I took this progress shot and I didn’t want to share it, I genuinely couldn’t, and still cant see any difference between the two pictures. Zombie literally pointed at parts of the pictures to show me differences, but I just couldn’t see it. I shared the photos online and got a tonne of positive feedback but to me, the photos still look the same. The only photo I have where I actually do see a physical difference, is this face to face photo.
I will get reactions of all different kinds.
I got a lot of compliments about my progress. People were impressed, wanted to know my ‘secrets’ and were genuinely happy for me. I had a lot of friends joke about my weight loss, saying things like ‘it’s disgusting how skinny you are’ and then following up with a ‘nah, you look great, well done’ and that was cool, banter among friends is awesome. A lot of my friends and workmates were especially impressed with the change in my personality. I was happier than some people had ever seen me and I was a lot more fun to be around. Then there were the haters. I had people tell me it was a shame that I’d lost my chest (I hadn’t, I’m still wearing the same bra size), I had people tell me I looked gaunt and sick (I didn’t, I was a size 12 which personally I think there is nothing wrong with at all) and I had people who were genuinely pissed off that I had lost weight and they couldn’t. I was quite upset by these comments at first, but I very quickly learned that this was sheer jealousy. I also realised it was something I had done to others in the past and for that, I’m sorry.
Keeping the weight off is harder than losing it.
Going in, I always knew that if I ever did lose weight, it would be a life long effort that I would have to keep up. I didn’t realise just how easy it would be to put back on though. In the last two months I have gained back 10 of the kgs I lost. It took me about 5 months to lose the weight and thanks to the elimination diet and my cautiousness with treat meals, alcohol and exercise, I managed to keep most of it off for a couple of months, occasionally gaining a losing the same 2-3 kgs over and over. Unfortunately I got complacent. One treat didn’t hurt, why not add another? Then another… Then another. It got to the point where while I was still eating a clean and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, I was also treating myself to snacks everyday that I didn’t need. Some days I was even adding in another meal, of junk food, just because I could, not because I was hungry. And while I was exercising every day, it wasn’t helping and it was getting harder to do. I started to feel tired all the time again, my mood wasn’t as light, my eczema was playing up, all the awful side effects of a bad diet I’d been putting up with for years were coming back. Then one day, my jeans were uncomfortably tight. I stood on the scales and was really disappointed in myself. They say that you crave what you eat and it’s true. While I was eating 100% clean, all I wanted was unprocessed ‘goodies’ to eat. When I started adding in more and more treats, all I wanted was sugary junk. And it was difficult to get back on track. I had to retrain myself from the beginning. Luckily, as I’d done it before, it wasn’t quite as hard as all the other times I’d unsuccessfully tried to eat a healthier diet.
My personality got a makeover.
I was just happier, less stressed out, and nicer to be around, the more weight I lost. It wasn’t actually because of the weight I was losing, it was because I was looking after myself and this is evident in the fact that when I started treating myself too often again, I got grumpy, depressed, stressed, even a little jealous again, all the negative traits that I had managed to get a handle on came back with a vengeance. Being happy is a ‘side effect’ of weight loss, that goes with the better diet and it’s certainly a side effect I’m keen to have continue.
I’m proud of what I’ve learned this year. Sure, I didn’t keep all of it up, but I got myself to a point where I was able to get back on track, every single time I slipped up. A weight loss journey is a roller coaster ride. There are good days and bad days, weeks where you smash out goal after goal, followed by weeks or days where you get off track, berate yourself, then get back on. You have to deal with jealousy and also a lot of people who are interested in your ‘secrets’. The side effects I experienced, a sunny disposition, clear skin, healthy hair and nails, no more stomach pain, energy to burn and an ability to sleep well at night, plus all the other wonderful things made all the hard moments all worth it.
Smiles and Sunshine